The Ultimate Guide to Web Design

Learn about all the factors influencing web design in this ultimate guide to web design to develop a unique website today!

by Editorial Team • 22 April 2024

A perfect website must also be conveniently discovered on Google if you wish your website to churn out leads into clients.

Here is a guide to website design that will eliminate many doubts surrounding factors like template design, approaches, navigation, structure, user interactions, colors, layout, etc.

Reading on, you will learn about important web design tools and add-ons.

What is Web Design

Web design is the process of designing visually captivating and user-friendly websites. It involves harmonizing elements like layout, colors, typography, and graphics to create an engaging online presence.

For example, a web designer might choose complementary colors, use legible fonts, and logically arrange content. They also ensure that websites adapt seamlessly to different devices, such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

Web design combines aesthetics, functionality, and optimization to create compelling online experiences.

What is Web Designing

Web designing is invested in polishing and effectuating a website's visual aesthetics and appeal while keeping in mind the importance of its usability.

Color schemes, layouts, and specifics, how the user interface or UI and user experience or UX are designed, are factors that web designers work with.

A web designer usually works with the following areas and tools of expertise.

  1. Graphic design
  2. UI/UX design
  3. Logo design
  4. Adobe Creative Suite and other design software
  5. Branding
  6. Call-to-action/CTA buttons
  7. Storyboards and mock-ups
  8. Layout and menu placement

Although most web designers are familiar with CSS, JavaScript, and HTML, they are not primarily involved in the coding part of website development.

They need to be equipped with basic knowledge of coding because web designers can help fine-tune the user interface and experience of the website.

Web designers could avoid coding by using website-creating service platforms like WordPress, Dorik, and Joomla!

What is Web Development

The coding area of website development is intricate. It determines the feasibility and success of the site. Front-end and back-end web development are both detrimental.

Web design is an integral part of the virtual space. The first impression of a website can transform the impact it has on a crowd. Before finalizing a web design that seals the deal, web designers and developers have to consider many factors.

The front-end development is responsible for how a website will appear according to the mockups developed by the designers with appropriate coding. Front-end developers thus work closely with web designers.

The back-end or service side of the web development aspect manages and coordinates all the data within the database and offers it at appropriate intervals to the front end.

Here are a few important coding tools and areas for web developers:

  1. CSS/HTML/JavaScript
  2. Frameworks like ReactJS, Ember, AngularJS, etc.
  3. Git and GitHub
  4. Libraries
  5. Template design
  6. SEO (on-site)
  7. CSS preprocessors like Sass or LESS

Front-end web developers collaborate with web designers to create the visual storyboard for the website. Their interaction will affect the effectiveness of the website.

The designer’s conceptualizations are manifested with the help of the front-end developer. They both need to know the UI/UX technology practices.

Back-end developers are the brain behind data management. Writing APIs and data routing between both ends are part of the same.

The following Programming languages are important for back-end development:

  1. Database management systems, like MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.
  2. Server-side programming languages like Python, Java, C & C++, PHP, etc.
  3. Server-side web developing frameworks like .NET, Symfony, etc.
  4. Authentication and security (Eg; PassportJs)
  5. RESTful APIs
  6. Servers like Apache, Linux, etc.

Usually, full-stack developers who are professionals in front and back-end development are usually preferred over separate ones.

Web Design vs Web Development

It might seem that the difference between web designing and web development lies in the coding aspect of it.

That is, the simplest way of distinguishing the two is to recognize that web designers design websites while developers are involved in coding.

But in recent times, with the development of the internet and e-commerce, web designers are also expected to know HTML and CSS. At the same time, web developers are also involved in the creative side of website design.

Web design vs Web development

Components of a Good Website Design

Functional Components

1) Speed

Fast-loading, dynamic websites surely score higher than slow ones. Optimizing your site’s speed for the best results is important for its ROI.

Fast pages result in better visitor engagement and boost sales on e-commerce websites. High conversion rates are intricately bound to the speed and efficiency of the website.

2) Navigation

The Information Architecture (IA) of your website is used to define its menus and navigation. Easy navigation is as detrimental as the speed of a website.

Simple and convenient navigation and consistency across all pages are necessary. You need to pick navigation patterns that favor your audiences’ requirements.

Your navigation options need to be permanently visible, so visitors don’t have difficulty finding them.

3) User Interaction

The User Interface (UI) is fundamental to designing a website. For a successful online experience, everything from where you place your buttons to seamless site flow is equally important.

Comfortable interfaces will ensure that your visitors feel comfortable interacting with your website. Interactive features serve to revolutionize the user experience altogether.

Chatbots are examples of improvising user interaction for the better.

4) Site Structure

The user flow of websites or their structure needs to be in tune with the product/service they intend to represent. Predictable website structures are obviously recommended over unconventional patterns.

Layout grids and low-fidelity wireframes can help with simplifying site structures. Size, position, the chronology of items and their progression, combinations, hyperlinks, etc., must be considered.

5) Dropdown Menu

The dropdown menu of a website is one of the first things visitors tend to click on.

Quick scrolling, sub-links, and a comprehensive list of everything your website contains are the specifics that need to define dropdown menus of successful websites.

It leads to a lot of time-saving for visitors to the site. A perfect dropdown menu can clear up clustered, busy layouts. It is advised to keep it short, with smaller keywords that can take visitors to other site pages.

6) Sticky Menu

A quicker alternative to the dropdown menu is a sticky menu. All menus are detrimental in determining the proficiency of the navigation of a site.

Unlike dropdown menus, sticky menus are fixed options that do not disappear as a user navigates down a page.

Sticky menus tend to be 22% quicker and more convenient to navigate. This means it can cut down around 36 seconds off of a website visit that lasts five minutes.

Customers also tend to prefer sticky menus over dropdown ones.

7) Sidebar Menu

A sidebar is usually a static menu to the right or left of your webpage. You can design your sidebar menu as the primary source for all supplementary information on the website.

It could involve navigational links to important pages, advertisements, other services, email subscription forms, social media links, CTA buttons, etc.

A perfect example is Wikipedia’s sidebar which acts as a navigation menu.

Visual Components

1) Website Header & Footer

A visually attractive header with the brand’s logo is the hallmark of an effective website. Your website’s name, tagline, brand motto, etc., could form the content of your header.

Similarly, the footer of your website will ideally hold copyright notices, fine print, quick access links, contact information, etc. The more official aspects of contact information are usually part of the footer.

2) Background

The background to the body of your website has to be an attractive choice. Not only the background image of your choice but all images you accept as part of the site can influence your site’s appeal.

Your site's background will set your brand's tone and message.

3) Website Content

Sure enough, the content of your website is undoubtedly significant. The kind of content you display on your website depends on the site's purpose, target audiences, and demographics.

For e-commerce websites, visuals and infographics are to be prioritized over lengthy sentences and descriptions. The latter would suit blogs.

4) Colors

The color scheme of your website needs to be carefully chosen according to your brand’s appeal. Dull pastels may be preferable for certain kinds of products/services, while others may be benefitted from a bright, attractive palette of colors.

It is recommended to take a look at competitor websites to know about the kind of color tones they choose.

5) Fonts

The font format you choose for your website needs to be standard without cursive complications. Legible fonts are essential for the efficiency of your website.

Use straightforward fonts of appropriate size.

6) Spacing

Like the content-filled part of a website, its white spaces are also important. Appropriate spacing will elevate the relevance of the content and media displayed on the site.

The best webpage design ideas would have proper spacing too.

7) Layout

The elements that should be part of your website must be divided according to size, position, and priority. It is recommended to use a layout grid that you could use to customize pages.

A grid can help combine different parts of the page into a cohesive whole.

8)Shape

The shapes you incorporate into your website are as important as your layout and color scheme. The shapes of your buttons and links are equally significant.

For instance, buttons of square shapes with a shadow are most commonly used by successful websites.

9) Videos

It is no surprise that visuals score over written matter. In addition to appropriate images, if you could include videos that can expand the motto and vision of your website, it could keep your visitors invested for longer.

10) Animations or GIF

Websites that accommodate classy animations or GIFs that are not overdone but consistent and subtle can have a longer impact on visitors. Including animations is not enough.

You must ensure that animations don't slow down your site's overall performance.

10) Icons & Images

The icons and images of your choice can also lead to hallmarking your brand. With extensive design and proper promotion, your brand's icons, logo, images, etc., could lead to representing your business.

Therefore, make sure that you use appropriate icons and images that suit the tone of your website and purpose.

Web Design Principles to Follow

While there are no limits to defining aesthetics, certain definite principles continue to influence the success of a website.

Professionals resort to certain laws that are the tricks of the trade in web design. While they may not necessarily be followed, following these principles will improve the usability of your website.

1) Contrast

Choosing a color palate for your website that offers the correct contrast is important. Contrast determines how far your site could catch a visitor's eye. You need to pay attention not to overdo it with too much striking contrast, making it too chaotic to rest eyes on.

2) Movement

Movement in the website will determine the attention it receives. It also renders it a certain level of sophistication.

Hover effects, parallax, and transitions are important movements that could transform an average website into an elite one. Here too, overdoing the movement could ruin a website's overall appeal.

3) White Space

Utilizing negative space or white spaces is an important aspect of web design. The empty spaces between all the visual and written content of the website help to de-clutter it and simplify it.

It is an unwritten law in website design that white spaces must be given due importance without crowding the page.

4) Hierarchy

You need to decide on prioritizing the content displayed on the website. This will influence the hierarchy of your website.

A visual hierarchy is also desired. A logical and aesthetically pleasing visual hierarchy must be deliberately incorporated into your web pages.

The navigation sidebar, dropdown menu, multimedia content, and descriptions must be in a perfect hierarchical structure.

5) Rhythm

Rhythm or repetition is important to determine the website's consistency in totality. Visual appeal, impressive coherence, proper CTA, etc. will establish a psychological rhythm in the minds of the visitors. This will help them to stay longer on the website.

6) Unity

Uniting elements on a page into groups according to their similarities and probable affinity will make it easier for users to navigate easily through the UI.

Grouping content according to their similarity will make access easy as well. In web design, this principle is established as the law of similarity. Similar color schemes, text/content, icons, etc., could be clubbed together.

Types of Web Design 

Adaptive Website Builders

Did you know that Amazon uses an adaptive website? Popular sites like IKEA, Home Depot, and the like are also users of adaptive design. If your website could be benefited from this, you could follow their examples.

Responsive Website Builders

There are many more options for responsive website builders than adaptive ones. Dorik, Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, Webflow, Weebly, Gator, etc., are some of its examples.

Adaptive vs Responsive

An adaptive web design is different from a responsive one.

A responsive design followed by web designers uses one layout that may be adjusted according to content and elements to fit a screen.

Responsive designs may be reconfigured across gadgets like desktops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

Adaptive designs would be fixed ones, wherein multiple sizes of elements may be incorporated.

Most websites use responsive designs since they are compatible across all kinds of screens.

Adaptive designs need to detect the type of device through which a site is accessed to configure the content according to the screen. They use “breakpoints” to determine how each design shall adopt.

Web Design Tools to Choose

Perhaps the most important and difficult task in web design is choosing the right tools. The tools you choose for your site will influence its tone, durability, and UX. Web design tools may be software like Figma and Adobe XD or website builders like Shopify, Wix, Dorik, etc.

Web Design Software

Figma

With Figma, you can design website elements online and offline. You can make changes offline and Figma will automatically sync them and would be auto-updated when you go online.

OS like Linux, Windows, Mac, etc., support Figma. The software is free for three files and three pages under one project and is a great place to familiarize yourself with the basics of designing websites.

Some of Figma’s features include the following.

  1. Vector networks: Pen and pencil tools help you draw designs as you please.
  2. Arc designs: You can design watch screens, pie charts, and similar infographics on Figma.
  3. Auto layout: Figma lets you work with dynamic and responsive layouts that are flexible to your needs.
  4. Export: Figma’s designs may be exported in different formats.
  5. Shareable prototypes: You can share the link to the prototype design of your choice on Figma.

Adobe XD

Adobe XD is a website design software with many layout options, prototypes, and craft interactions. Adobe’s artboard presets and UI kits are effective options.

You could also do your website designs on Photoshop and/or Sketch and import them to Adobe XD.

This software boasts fast performance and many options for built-in collaboration tools. One of XD’s interactive prototypes sets it apart from other software for designing a website.

By collaborating with Photoshop and Illustrator, you can use XD’s extensively curated Creative Cloud.

Some of XD’s features are as follows.

  1. Compatible layouts: With XD, you can create web pages compatible with all kinds of screens. Content-centered layouts automatically adjust according to your changing designs and priorities.
  2. Lottie and Video playback: XD offers users the option to import and render animations. Playable videos may be conveniently incorporated into your website.
  3. Animation: The software permits users to include animations, motion effects, smooth transitions, and animated interactions in prototypes. Auto-Animate is central to differentiating between artboards.

Sketch

Playable prototypes, a comprehensive UI design toolkit, and an app icon creator are some of Sketch’s central features. It offers you the provision to work over the same document at the same time within the Mac app.

You can try Sketch’s prototypes on different devices and share their links so that you may test them out over any browser. It does not require any plugins.

Sketch has the following web design features.

  1. Reusable components: Sketch’s Symbols allow you to reuse components as you please and convert artboards into templates. Smart Layout will enable you to resize and fit different types of content.
  2. Variety of styles: Sketch lets you define color variables, layers, texts, etc. Color Tokens help you export and integrate Color Variables.
  3. Vector editing: Intuitive vector editing provision sets Sketch apart from its competitors. Editable boolean operations revolutionize the web design process.

Lunacy

Lunacy, a free web design software is perfect for Windows machines. Lunacy’s vector-based graphic design provision is one of its added advantages. Built-in resources for design like vector illustrations, icons, etc. are super effective.

Lunacy is AI-based and lightweight. You can share files on the cloud and work offline with this software. It is compatible with over 16 languages as well.

Take a look at some of its other features below.

  1. No ads: Lunacy does not suffocate you with advertisements despite being free.
  2. Community-supported: Lunacy is a community-supported forum.
  3. Guidance: Lunacy provides tutorials about its features and other documentation specifics as well.

Website Builder for Web Designers

Dorik

From simple landing pages to full-fledged business websites, Dorik is a perfect platform for web design without complications.

It has more than 250 Free UI components and 60+ Free template options, Free illustrationsand creating a single-page website is easier than ever before with Dorik.

Websites hosted by Dorik come with SSL certification, which is issued by Let’s Encrypt. Exporting static files from CSS, HTML, and JS websites are also made accessible. Contact and subscription forms can be efficiently designed with Dorik.

Some more of Dorik’s features that make it worth the hype is as follows:

  • Drag & Drop Builder: You can customize every single element of a template with your preferred UI components inside the Dorik builder. It is fully flexible and the process is as easy as it can get. You can drag and drop different sections to change their position and sequence too.
  • Built-in Blogging Platform: Bloggers will love the Dorik CMS platform for blogging. It adds great value to the writer's content writing experience. You can use custom blog templates to build your website. If you do that, then adding images, links, quotes, lists, tables, etc. as well as doing some basic SEO settings can be done from this platform very conveniently.
  • Dedicated CMS Dashboard: This is a feature that people who work with content will love and appreciate. A website filled with content is not easy to manage but with the Dorik CMS dashboard, you can keep them organized in a way that it will never fall into chaos.
  • Membership Feature: You can add a subscription option to your website to convert a visitor into a regular member of your community. With the membership feature turned on, you can create customized content focusing on the casual visitors and the subscribed members separately.
  • Database & Collection: Dorik CMS dashboard offers the option to create a custom collection of content that you can easily exhibit anywhere on your website. This way you can create little bundles for the same types or categories of content.
  • Team Collaboration: You can create a team and assign a different role to each member for a website built with Dorik. You can assign roles like Author, Editor, Developer, and Administrator right from the CMS dashboard. They can help you with design inputs, feedback, editing and publishing posts, controlling members, etc.
  • White-label Solution: White-label feature will be highly appreciated by agencies, especially web design agencies. You won’t have to compromise your branding in order to build a website for your client using Dorik. The white-label platform gives you unrestricted freedom to build websites for your clients.
  • Embed Content: Besides publishing content directly on your website, you can also embed content from different sources like YouTube, Vimeo, Github, Codepen, etc.

You can also browse our complete list of the best website builders to learn more about the website-building industry.

SEO in Web Design

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is an integral part of website design. Using the right keywords and phrases can transform your ROI. Meta descriptions and other text elements need to be intricately used.

The ultimate aim for any website owner is to rank their website and it’s content to rank high on search engine result pages or SERPs. Your SEO game must be top-notch to achieve that.

That might feel too technical but don’t lose hope. There is always a better alternative or solution available. In this case, it is Dorik website builder.

With every website built with Dorik, you’ll get loads of on-page and technical SEO features that will automate the majority part of the SEO process. Dorik website performs best for SEO even without much involvement on your part.

Dorik SEO features include:

  • Native SEO: Dorik gives you total control over every aspect of your website’s performance. Your site will be in Google’s good book because it will have: Built-in SEO settings, JSON-LD Data StructureAutomated Sitemap GeneratorCanonical URLsOptimized Performance
  • Built-in SEO settings
  • Automated Sitemap Generator
  • Canonical URLs
  • Optimized Performance
  • Technical SEO: A website built with Dorik ticks all the boxes of technical SEO requirements too. The site is fully secured with SSL certification. Every site is responsive for both desktop and mobile screens. The built-in image optimization ensures faster page loading speed. The structured schema markup will help with better search engine performance.
  • The site is fully secured with SSL certification
  • The built-in image optimization ensures faster page loading speed
  • The structured schema markup will help with better search engine performance

You don’t need to do anything for the technical SEO part as it’s already been implemented by the Dorik developer team. You just build a website using Dorik website builder and the technical SEO will magically start performing on its own in the background.

For the on-page SEO, you will get tons of SEO settings that you can play with when you create a new blog post. Explore them to get a better idea about what you can achieve with them.

If you are a content creator, chances are you already know some basic on-page SEO rules. Doing some internal linking, external linking, and using headings properly besides writing top-quality content is enough for the on-page SEO.

Web Design Inspiration

The internet is a constantly changing place. This means that inspirations would constantly change as website design trends progress.

Also, each industry would have different and unique determinants influencing its inspiration. In 2022, there is a persistent trend of playfulness and funk in web designing.

Interactive projects that enunciate delight are detrimental to the web design renaissance we are undergoing today.

Simultaneously, some specific industries are also promoting minimalism. While there continues to be a romanticization of Victorian aesthetics, it might not be suitable for all kinds of websites.

Look at the following examples of trending sites that could serve as your inspiration.

1. App-like experience 

App-Like Experience Example

2. One-page websites

One-page Website example

3. Fewer images

Fewer Images Example

4. Oversized typography

Oversized typography website example

5. Abstract illustrations

Abstract illustrations website example

FAQs

1. What does a web designer do?

A web designer creates/designs websites with particular aesthetics suitable for each brand/purpose. In addition to being creative, web designers are also expected to have basic knowledge of CSS, HTML, and JS. However, they are different from professional web developers involved in website development's coding aspect.

2. What are the processes of web design?

Web design starts with an idea and a pre-development phase involving budget settings. Effective SEO comes next. Designing is the last part of website building.

3. Why is web design important?

Web design is important for scaling businesses and individual purposes. A website could act as the face of a brand and be the bridge between the user and the developer.

A website can help scale a business manifold and help one step outside geographical constraints. A website usually means better efficiency.

4. How to find a good web designer?

Being familiar with the best web designers specific to your industry is important. Choosing a designer may take a while, especially among so many options.

You could start with a search online for reviews. A few meetings and word-of-mouth reviews could help immensely when choosing a designer.

5. Why you should determine the goal for your web design?

You would definitely have a target audience for whom you are creating a website. The purpose of your website will have a significant impact on its design. Necessary information, like business goals, target audiences, project concepts, etc., needs to be gathered before beginning the work for a website.

Upon determining these factors, it is advised to look at competitor websites that are doing well and take cues from their success mantra.

This phase before web design is detrimental to your budget as well. In this step, you can finalize the technologies you can integrate into the end product.

Likewise, you could also take a detailed look at the kinds of descriptions and SEO-centered keywords that need to be included in your website.

The factors you take into consideration at the pre-development stage will also determine your website’s rankings in search engines. This calls for solid knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Key Takeaways

Now that you have reached the end of this guide to web design, you will understand that perhaps the most important aspect of web design is to determine your purpose.

A blog website would entail very different requirements from an e-commerce interface. Once you set your priorities, you can design and incorporate details as you go along.

Set your goals, budget, and specifics before you start designing. Make sure not to get overwhelmed by the overabundant options available in the market. Choose wisely and consider every aspect before finalizing.

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Editorial Team

With diverse backgrounds and expertise, the Dorik editorial team is committed to producing high-quality, informative, and engaging content for our readers. Whether you're a long-time reader or a new visitor, we hope you find our content valuable and informative.

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