The design of a webpage is crucial to the view count the page will attract, and subsequently the success of the website as a whole. The webpage interacts directly with the user and hence is the bridge between the world and the idea behind the website. Billions of users all over the world use the Internet everyday and have their own preferences and choices regarding the design and content a webpage has to offer. These design features that a website offers at first view creates an impression about the website as a whole. The web design gives the viewers an idea about the quality they might expect if they proceed further. A webpage marred with inconsistent design elements, loud colors or disjoint themes and ideas will fail to impress the users and beat the effort spent in making the webpage. An easy solution would be outsourcing the development to other people, but this can negatively affect the personality that the web design gain if it is custom developed.
Web design includes a large number of components, each requiring specific set of skills. These components include search engine optimizations, programming and coding, graphics and interface designing, user accessibility, toolkit development and third party software integration. This is why the task is often divided among individuals with a specific skill set, although it is also possible for one person to cover every aspect. Web design courses can teach these skills, but they also be self learnt as they are easy to follow and practice. Tools like WordPress have made web designing an easier prospect due to their user friendly approach that can allow any person to create their own website by following a few simple steps. However, learning the intricate details behind manually designing a website will grant knowledge that than help in developing and integrating design elements to create a webpage that is better than average.
Irrespective of the method applied to design a webpage, there are certain techniques that should be universally applicable in a web designing process. The user accessibility and interactivity design dictates the user experience. The design of the website should be simple and easy to follow, giving the users a clear idea as to how the website functions and what its main purpose is. The layout, approach, philosophy, choice of text, labeling of instructions and menu navigation relates to the interactive design. These features help the users decide whether they want to continue using the website. Established users will look forward to frequent user friendly updates.
The user interface should be customized in a way that will attract new users, besides catering to the needs of old users. In case of integrating advanced interactive options in the webpage, plug-ins are needed. These plug-ins are generally embedded in the browser itself, but sometimes they may be missing from the system, prompting the user to download it. This can pose a limitation to the design and hamper user experience as users may choose to avoid the download. The plug-in sections can be removed altogether by using advanced programming skills. Hardware compatibility should be another goal that must be kept in mind during web design. The graphical and visual components of the web page should be tweaked enough to be able to run on low end systems. This will help enable wider user reach.
The navigation implemented in the web design should be plain and follow the breadcrumb approach. This approach prevents the users from losing track in case they delve deep within the website. The menus should have a layered approach and divided up into sub menus using masks and filter, wherever applicable. Important pages should be highlighted and excessive information must not be cramped at any space on the page. Features like Home page and Help page links should be incorporated in all the webpages.
A structural component, that may become a hindrance if not taken into consideration in early stages of design, is the page layout. The designer should decide whether the layout should remain consistent in all pages of the website, or whether it should change at various pages. This decision is vital as it will affect the spacing, alignment and distribution of elements along the different pages. The distribution and alignment of objects should not be inconsistent as that may hinder user experience. The layout should be properly divided in the planning stages, so that each page may accommodate advertisement blocks, navigation areas and content blocks. Modern web design approaches use fluid layout instead of grid layout, so that windows and objects of various sizes can be automatically aligned. The webpages are themselves center aligned with respect to the browser window, such that they can be displayed in monitors of varying resolutions without clipping or other complications.
The application of motion graphics and other visual elements should not detract the users from their experience. These features, if implemented, should not be distracting or loud in nature. The fonts used should be large enough containing clear texts and information. Colors should be used carefully as users prefer light and shaded color schemes over bright and plain ones. The coding quality will affect the quality of the website itself, as poor codes will introduce bugs and security threats, thus making the website prone to errors.
The chief aspects of successful web design are simplicity and user-friendliness. The design should be plain, subtle, serene and informative at the same time. New features should be incorporated to the design at all times, so that the design evolves to the point of exceeding user expectation.