1. Precedence (The Art of Controlling the Eye)
Good Web design, perhaps even more than other type of design, is all about information. One of the main tools in your arsenal to do this is precedence. When navigating a good design, the user should be led around the screen by the designer. I call this precedence, and itâEUR(TM)s about how much visual weight different parts of your design have.
A simple example of precedence is that in most sites, the first thing you see is the logo. This is often because itâEUR(TM)s large and set at what has been shown in studies to be the first place people look (the top left). This is a good thing since you probably want a user to immediately know what site it is they are viewing.
But precedence should go much further. You should direct the userâEUR(TM)s eyes through a sequence of steps. For example, you might want your user to go from logo/brand to a primary positioning statement, next to a punchy image (to give the site personality), then to the main body text, with navigation and a sidebar taking a secondary position in the sequence.
What your user should be looking at is up to you, the Web designer, to figure out.
When I first started designing, I wanted to fill every available space up with stuff. I thought empty space seemed wasteful. However, I found the opposite is true.
One of the most frustrating experiences you can have on any Website is being unable to figure out where to go or where you are. IâEUR(TM)d like to think that for most Web designers, navigation is a concept weâEUR(TM)ve managed to master, however, there is always one that proves me wrong. There are two aspects of navigation to keep in mind:
4. Design to Build
Life has gotten a lot easier since Web designers transitioned to CSS layouts, but even now itâEUR(TM)s still important to think about how you are going to build a site when youâEUR(TM)re still in Photoshop. Consider things like:
Can it actually be done?
Text is the most common element of design, so itâEUR(TM)s not surprising that a lot of thought has gone into it. ItâEUR(TM)s important to consider things like:
Font Choices: Different types of fonts say different things about a design. Some look modern, some look retro. Make sure you are using the right tool for the job.
Web design isnâEUR(TM)t just about pretty pictures. With so much information and interaction to be effected on a Web site, itâEUR(TM)s important that you, the designer, provide for it all. That means making your Web site design usable.
Keeping things lined up is as important in Web design as it is in print design. ThatâEUR(TM)s not to say that everything should be in a straight line, but rather that you should go through and tries to keep things consistently placed on a page. Aligning makes your design more ordered and digestible, as well as making it seems more polished.
8. Clarity (Sharpness)
Keeping your design crisp and sharp is super important in Web design. And when it comes to clarity, itâEUR(TM)s all about the pixels.
Consistency means making everything match. Heading sizes, font choices, coloring, button styles, spacing, design elements, illustration styles, photo choices, etc. Everything should be themed to make your design coherent between pages and on the same page.