Did you have an idea to get your website designed this year? Web design is a vital constituent of the web development process. If you have a creative streak, you likely have a knack for web design. After all, web design is all about creating functional art.
But there’s a catch – you may need to jump in and create your first design. You are not alone. Even experienced web designers and web developers found it difficult at first. With this guide, we will help you get ready to start your first project. We cover all the basics and significant trends to keep in mind.
Top 6 Essentials for Every Web Design Beginner
- Start Simple
Being ambitious is a good thing for web designers. However, many beginners may sometimes become aggressive and end up getting discouraged. For your very first project, it is best if you start with something simple. Web design is a journey. As you grow, you will gain more experience for more complex projects.
- Research and Knowledge
Doing research is a crucial way to learn. Learning informs your intuition. Researching about design aspects is essential to help you start. To develop your creative senses, learn about product design, how illustrations are done, and branding. Tutorials are invaluable additions to learning. The more educated you are, the easier it will be to begin.
Functional design is guided by specific rules and practices to simplify the process and help you create a more refined end product.
- Layout: Good layout is crucial. Focus on keeping things minimal and work with a few elements for perfect placement. You will need to think about grids as they align elements like web page images and div blocks. Let the layout’s structure follow a visual hierarchy for users to view things in a specific order.
Two main patterns are used: The F-pattern and the Z-pattern. The former is best and more common for designs that have rich content. With the pattern, users scan downward first then read content from left to right, like for blogs. The Z-pattern has less text but more design, like for landing pages.
- Color: Color scheme affects readability. You can choose a monochrome or complementary color scheme. The former uses a single color as the base and then varies the saturation levels- having dark and light colors. Other hues can be incorporated to make a more uniform color scheme. The latter entails taking opposite colors in the color wheel and combining them. This may sound easy, but you need to use complementary colors with care for a crisp and refreshing contrast.
- Typography: Typography is guided by readability and design rules, but it is built from experience and imagination. It informs tone. Therefore, you need to keep the tone in mind. For example, if your blog is more formal, you would want to stick to professional typefaces. If it is more casual, you can weave in playful but sensible fonts. Do not be prominent in ornamentation and ignore practicality.
- Let other Designers be a Source of Inspiration
You have likely come across a website you consider to be excellent and stunning. Use such websites as sources of inspiration. You can bookmark them, or you may have links to websites that wow you. You can also use sources like Pinterest for reference. Webflow is also an excellent platform for you to see how other designers are creating their designs. There are also many templates available for you to replicate and learn.
Web design is all about visuals. So as you use a medium of your choice, be keen to analyze what works and what does not. Developing an eye for good design will go a long way.
- Settle on Content
Before you can start designing, have the content ready and review it. Don’t worry much about flawless content. Content editing and optimization are possible, but you should still work to offer excellent quality.
Having an idea of what will go live helps you lay out a design you can accommodate. At least have a rough draft- it is a chance to deal with actual content, and it gives you an idea of how your website will function. In case there is a need for making changes, you can do it early enough. If your idea is a blog, have prewritten post(s) to test the CMS before the launch.
- User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)
UX and UI are not to be confused as they are different and distinct concepts. UX is concerned with how the whole design feels, while UI is about its specifics.
A good design needs to be readable and appealing. Just like you wouldn’t want to struggle with someone’s design, no one wants to struggle with yours. Root the design with order, logic, usability, and simplicity. Execute metrics like color, fonts, letters, imagery, and layout excellently to serve your target audience correctly. Aesthetics matter and that’s why you may also want to incorporate dark mode designs or the use of white space.
Think about how your audience will find what they are looking for and how easy it will be. Make web navigation and things like Call-to-Action (CTA) simple. Simply put, see the design through the target audience’s eyes. Don’t focus so much on showing your skills but instead focus on making the design usable. It is best to tailor the design to the audience’s needs and wants.
You also need to ensure that your website is accessible on mobile platforms. Mobile searches are significant promoters of web traffic. Therefore, create a mobile-friendly design.
Your site will need a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which needs to be a priority. Why? Web visitors need a guarantee that they are on a legit site, and it authenticates your website. The certificate also encrypts all the data on transmission, promoting a sense of private engagement.
User Interface (UI)
UI gives users the tools necessary to experience your design free from obstacles or complications. As you construct your first design, keep the following metrics in mind:
- The interactive elements need to be functional and evident to the user.
- The choices you make should all have a clear purpose(s).
- Any actions need to follow logical patterns.
As you focus on UX and UI, remember that inclusivity is crucial. There is a growing need for designers to factor in people with disabilities. Try to have a site everyone can access. It is good customer service, can boost your SEO, and allows you to reach a bigger audience.
- Getting Started
After doing all this work, you will have to start designing as it is the primary goal. Know that you can create content no one will ever see. But this shouldn’t be your chance to give up. It is still a way to exercise and apply what you learn. So be encouraged even if your first design is not exceptional. You have crossed the threshold from being a design aspirant to an actual one.
After you are finished and ready to launch, get a second opinion or an outside perspective before publishing. Even if you feel uncomfortable, constructive criticism can give you helpful feedback. Know that feedback is necessary for a web design journey. It may be what you need for better motivation.
Top 8 Emerging Trends for Greater Impact
As a beginner, it is essential to know that web design is moving into the future. That’s why designers have been more creative and are not only focused on standard design practices. Day to day trends are impacting web design. Being a beginner does not mean you will not need to spice up your design. That’s why we feel that you need to be aware of current and impactful trends for the upcoming year as you begin.
- Delightful Sites
Humans enjoy having fun, and there are ways you can add fun to your website. You can add humor to your design’s menus, site navigation, images, and interactions. Be creative and experiment with techniques like animations. Micro animations are great tools to guide users during web interaction. They add playfulness and enhance the user experience. They are also great tools to give users a taste of what your product is like. Humor needs to be practical. Therefore, think about where it will be functional.
Another great way is to add in puzzles and scavenger hunts with answers. They are excellent and creative ways to add fun. You can use them to reveal prompts, product launches or give users information. Engage the audience by giving workarounds and clues.
- Less Complexity
There are times when the least complex website is the most effective. It is now more popular to have one-page websites with all the information in one place. Use this trick, especially if you have a narrower subject matter. Navigation becomes more accessible due to fewer distractions. Casual viewers are also more likely to engage with content that’s right up front. If your design is more complex, make sure the user does not get lost in your structure. Make it consistent and reduce distractions like large images.
- The Use of Typography
Oversized typography is a bold and fresh trend in web design. When words are of a certain size, they become more of graphic elements than simply content components. You can incorporate this versatile technique in minimalist or maximalist designs to satisfy different styles. Please make that you use such typography effectively to give the right amount of contrast without being too overwhelming.
If you can use interactive fonts and still make content legible, you can create more elaborate effects. With an interactive font, you make the text move by playing with the user’s mouse. Beware that some people get distracted by moving characters. Use interactive fonts responsibly if you choose to. Bold fonts make the user aware of your message better than imagery.
The gradients used today are not the formerly subtle color overlays. They are eye-catching backgrounds. They add depth and texture to illustrations, and they are now being used in oversized and bolder typography.
Most users still want to look into the past with your design. Use typography to tap into a nostalgic audience by mixing vintage-inspired fonts or colors with images built with a contemporary style.
Using collage for illustrations is mainly a component of graphics. You can use the style to give illustrations a tangible feel or open up a space that seems too white. It is also an excellent way to incorporate images without focusing the entire design on one picture. Use different shapes, patterns, and colors within the collage. To enhance blending with the whole design, you may play around with a monochromatic effect, filters, or tints.
Customized illustrations help make your website stand out. Users feel that the content is fresh and not generic. As you build yours from scratch, find ways to enhance the subject matter.
- Be Gender-Neutral
Gender-neutral designs are being adopted more and more universally. Choose not to use societal gendered details or assumptions. Let your site present different gender options and their pronoun forms. If there is no need for gender specifications, you can have a way of not including them-you have seen gender dropdowns tagged “Rather not say.” This makes products more accessible without being confined to gender. It avoids the assumptions of what someone may be interested in simply because of their gender. It is also a more respectful approach that web visitors will appreciate.
- Prioritize Load Times and Page Speed
Speed is an important consideration for developers. Moreover, it is an integral part of Google’s algorithms for SEO. Web visitors also expect and want sites that load fast. People are now more impatient with slowly performing sites. You will need to focus on page speed and take measures to eliminate anything that slows your site. It can be anything – large images, scripts, animations, and overreliance on plug-ins.
- Build your Design with Dynamic and Personalized Content
Even though you are a beginner, you will be working to grow. There is no better way to achieve this than having dynamic content. Dynamic content means content built with repeated structures that are database linked. The nature of the structure can allow you to make changes in one place. It will enable you to build faster and more prominently. Better yet, you will achieve all this without having to increase the labor needed for adjustments. Dynamic content is excellent for content subject to constant change like blogs, portfolios, and e-commerce. It is better to opt for dynamic than static content if possible.
Finding ways to personalize your content is another critical aspect. For example, a site that displays liked or recently viewed products or highlights an online shopper’s abandoned cart is an excellent way to boost conversions. Choose to build content based on user behavior or what you know about them instead of generic content.
- Visual Reality (VR) and Data Visualization
VR experience is on the rise for most web designs, and it will continue in the future. Think about a hotel site that can let you tour the hotel before even making a reservation. Or how IKEA showcases how a couch from their store would look in your space. VR is a tool that can serve meaningful and valuable content and help users make decisions.
It may be challenging to communicate data in an engaging manner but putting in the effort is always worth it. Data visualization is driven by the fact that humans are visual to convey the message of intent. It is a method that entails creating engaging images out of your data, making users want to find out more. To bring your data to life, you can use infographics and graphs.
The Bottom Line
2022 is almost here, and with technology, the world of web design is evolving at a fast rate. Web designers are incorporating details that will better enhance the user experience and give them better SEO rankings. That is why anyone aspiring to start the web design journey in the upcoming year needs to be on the lookout to thrive.
The competition is stiffer than ever, and web novices will need to build modern and user-friendly websites. We believe that with our insights above, you will start smart. Finding solutions to keep up with the emerging trends will also put you in a better position to succeed. Unleash your creative side to the world!