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Web Design

What is web design?

Web design is the combined process of making a website visually appealing and functional.

This includes two main aspects: visual and functional.

Planning, and creating content for the web falls under visuals. While arranging everything, as well as implementing logic to a website is the functional part of web design.

Good web design would constitute that a website is both visually appealing and easy to navigate.

Web design principles

There are universal principles that are useful for every web designer:

  • Purpose — each page on a website must have a goal. The design should help fulfill this purpose by encouraging users to stay on the page.
  • Simplicity — users don’t read, they skim. Make sure to keep the design clutter-free so it’s skimmable.
  • Navigation — keep navigation simple and intuitive on every page. If the layout is confusing, users will leave for greener pastures.
  • Mobile-friendly — more people are using mobile devices to browse the internet. Therefore, all websites must use a responsive layout that can adjust to different screen sizes.
  • Load time — visitors expect a site to load in less than three seconds. Don’t flood your website with unnecessary elements that can reduce speed.

Website layout structure types

Visitors browse using various screen sizes. As such, the choice of layout structure is essential as it dictates how your site is displayed.

Here are four website layout structure types and how they impact the user experience.

Fixed layout

All elements in this layout have a set width, so they all are locked into place. Web developers don’t really use this layout anymore as the site’s content will be cropped when viewed from small screens.

Fluid layout

In fluid layouts, the width of each element is restricted to a certain percentage. 

If your site has two columns, for instance, you might set one column (content) to take 70% of the screen, while the second column (sidebar) would take 30%. Pages are scalable because all site components will adjust their width to fit all screen sizes. 

Adaptive layout

When a website uses an adaptive layout, the site has several layout versions for various screen sizes. Using CSS media queries to check the width and height of your screen, the site will automatically select a layout that best matches your screen and display it to you.

Unfortunately, adaptive layouts have fixed designs. If you resize your browser, the website will look exactly the same.

Responsive layout

Responsive web design has relative widths, and it also uses CSS media queries to render content that matches your screen.

However, unlike adaptive design, the elements of a responsive layout are not fixed in place. Content moves dynamically depending on the size of the screen and browser, creating the best user experience.

Skills needed to be a good web designer

To become a good web designer, both technical skills and professional competencies are needed.

First off, designing the appearance or frontend of a website involves these three languages:

  • HTML — gives a website the necessary structure and form. It creates basic content for a site such as paragraphs, headlines, and footers.
  • CSS — makes the content look more appealing by styling fonts, adjusting colors, adding or removing backgrounds, and many more.
  • JavaScript — adds functionality to a website. On the most basic level, it is used to create and control real-time elements interactive buttons, and scroll animations.

However, relying on those skills only are not enough. A good website designer also needs to master other skills.

To stay on top of projects and manage schedules, a web designer must manage their time and tasks well. You can use tools like Google Calendar, Trello, or Notion to track your projects and clients.

Strive for knowledge and always look for ways to improve your designing skills. Learn how to operate supporting tools such as Adobe XD, Adobe Dreamweaver, and web design frameworks.

Don’t forget to think about your client and the users of the website as well. 

Sharpen your communication skills, both written and oral. It’s essential to know how to write a concise and effective email, pitch your ideas, and present your works.

For future users, try to understand how a visitor would feel when browsing through a website. Understand their needs and think of the best approach to fulfill those expectations.

Written by

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Matleena is a seasoned eCommerce writer, with a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, dropshipping, and growth hacking. She’s addicted to coming up with new eCommerce business ideas and making them a reality; she deserves her nickname of ‘print on demand business mogul.' In her free time, she enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese.

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