October 27, 2021

What are the most vital principles of web design?

Design is not just the aesthetic and look. It is also the marketing, and sometimes, even the product itself. Today, visitors tend to check the website before the physical store or shop. Therefore, when curating your online presence, you must make sure to have a responsive web design London or anywhere with an elegant design that garners lasting success.

Principles of effective web design that shall take you to the skyline of success

Nailing the visual hierarchy

Do you know how the one who shouts or speaks the loudest throws the people off guard and creates a focal point? The same goes for your web design. The idea behind the analogy is that the human eye perceives what it sees. With that said, some parts of a website are more vital than others. These aspects, typically, are forms and call-to-actions, and these are factors that your website must highlight.

Note that ‘loud’ here means either bigger in size or brighter in color. And this is something that Amazon, the eCommerce bigwig, nails with the utmost perfection. The corporation highpoints the ‘Add to cart’ and ‘Buy Now’ by using color. Other notable factors that can determine visual hierarchy are images, texture, style, and whitespace.

Focus on the Divine Proportions

Web design does not stop at size and color! There is a considerable level of math involved. However, you need not fret. All you got to do is think of the magic number 1.618 – it is The Golden Ratio. Experts posit that web designs that use the golden ratio for defining the proportions have better aesthetics.

Such is the importance of the golden ratio that even Doug Bowman, the creative director at Twitter, commented about it (a while ago).

For instance, let us say that the layout width is 960px. First, divide it by 1.618. You get approximately 593px as the width of the content area. The remaining 367px goes to the sidebar. To throw a few more figures. Let us say the website height is 768px. What you can do is split this into 474.66px and 293.33px.


Another principle is the play around words. If design elements are the brawn of your website, the textual contents are the brains. With that said, text rules the website as it provides the information. Search engine crawlers are familiar with this idea, and it has become a vital aspect of SEO strategy.


While the text itself renders the readability, there is also the typography. It is this that adds personality to the content by making it visually appealing for online visitors. Typography affects the overall psyche by impacting keywords, meta-data, and other SEO-related elements. The way to get around this one is to use easy-to-read fonts such as Arial and Helvetica. These are excellent for the body texts. Next up is curating proper combinations of typefaces for all the design elements, including headlines and buttons.

F-Shaped Pattern Reading

Subconsciously though, visitors invariably scan website texts using the F-based pattern. Studies have found that what people desire to see, or at least most of it, resides at the left and top portions of the screen. And why ‘F’? It resembles the reading pattern of the West – left to right, top to bottom.

Grid-based layout

Your web design may comprise the most compelling colors and language. But, without structure, your web content will deem ineffective. This is where grids come to the rescue. The grid-based layout aligns and arranges the content into a rigid structure with columns and sections. The result is an aesthetically pleasing website.


Back in the day, web design kept in mind the configurations of desktops and laptop computers. But, not anymore. Today, the tides have turned! There is an ever-growing usage of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Note that these devices have different screen sizes. So what this means for web design is it should support and be compatible with multiple screen sizes and devices. If not, you will lose out to your competition. However, mobile friendliness also produces better and precise results for the users. The search results are targeted based on the current location of users and rightly so because smartphones are portable and the current location is subject to change (especially during commute).


Note that if your website is not easy to navigate, you will lose out. Also, this will increase your bounce rate and lower your overall SEO score. A navigation-friendly web design entices users to stay for longer. The way to go about this is by creating a logical hierarchy of pages and designing clickable buttons. Another aspect is ‘the rule of threes’. The web design should produce the required information to the visitor within three clicks.

Below are a few fundamentals that shall help you get this right.

Law of proximity

Things or aspects that are grouped tend to become a single perceived object. The same applies to an effective web design. A navigation-friendly web design is one where related elements – navigation menu and footer – are grouped. Craigslist, the advertisement website, has leveraged this law to define the sub-categories.

Law of similarity

The principle has more to do with the design itself. For instance, aspects that are similar in shape, color, or shading are a group or unit.

Law of symmetry

Symmetrical elements are more perceptually pleasing than asymmetrical ones. Additionally, they make your website feel more organized and fine-tuned. Symmetry also adds structure to your website and makes it comforting for viewers to scroll through your site.

Parting Words

Web design helps to make that stellar first impression, and this is no easy feat. Despite the numerous guidelines, this endeavor is still daunting to many. Nonetheless, online presence is inevitable in the digital era, and one must make the most of all the tools and technologies out there. Obviously, there is a lot to process and even more to ponder, but it does get easier if you have a strategic plan in mind.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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