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Principles of Web Design

A person using a computer to view a website

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At Visionary, we know websites.  

But what’s really the most important element of web design?

We asked four of our design gurus to share their thoughts on what they deemed to be the most important ingredients for a successful site. Below are snippets of what they had to say.

Over the coming week’s we’ll post their full piece on each of the four principles below.

Usability - Jamie

Design is not about making things pretty; it’s about giving pretty things purpose. Is your website serving it’s purpose? And are your users getting the most out of it?

Usability is key in great web design. We want users to have the best user experience when operating a website. This means: intuitive interaction, flawless functionality, and effortless navigation. Understanding your users and your business is our first goal. Combine that research with web content and the path is paved towards maximizing your purpose.

Read the full article.

Content – Ryan

You've probably heard it—ad nauseam: Content is king. But like Guttenberg's printing press in the 15th century, the World Wide Web was birthed out of a need to make information more accessible. Luckily, Internet technology has advanced quite a bit since then.

Content isn't just text: videos, audio, and images are all forms of content that are just as valuable as a blog post. People go online to find and consume information. A site with very little content isn't much use. The value of your site directly correlates to the value of the content you produce.

Read the full article.

Hierarchy and Visual Elements – Becca

There are no set rules for how to define a website; the standards we see today are just based on past precedence in web design. We simply make a website and hope that people will know how to use it.

Visual hierarchy and the use of Gestalt Principles make it easier for people to know where they need to navigate. Our brain naturally groups visual elements. We as web designers can use this process to our advantage by grouping important elements together, or using the principle of similarity (and dissimilarity) to differentiate them.

Read the full article.

Typography – Taylor

Typography can make or break the design. As you pay attention to the quality of the content, typography gains prominence because it accentuates designs, adds to the layout, and keeps your audience engaged.

Choosing a typeface is not typography. Using a typeface because it looks cool may yield acceptable results, but really the art of typography involves understanding typefaces and what they mean. Much of typography comes down to contrast and form.

The details of a typeface can inject meaning into a design. Soft lines and stroke weights, for example, can be used to give an air of elegance and dignity, while those same attributes can be used with unexpected content to produce an ironic effect.

Picking a good-enough font isn’t hard, but choosing an appropriate one that fits within the technical specifications can be tough. The right balance between font size and line height, and appropriate contrast between text and background, can make the difference between a reader who makes it to the end of the article versus one who tires and gives up. 

Read the full article.

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