Professional tips for web designers are welcome whether you’re a seasoned pro or a relative beginner. You may even be a start-up wondering how to structure your first website – whichever reason you’re here reading this for, getting your web design right is absolutely vital.
Web design in 2016 is set to become more ambitious as technology advances, and as more websites adopt HTTP/2 loading speeds are going to go up dramatically. This means your design has to capture the attention of visitors. To achieve those mesmerising landing pages every business is after, these workflow techniques will help you add to your additional web design skills.
1. Stay Up to Date
As with the majority of jobs in the digital world, staying up to date is a constant necessity. Web designers know technology like CSS and HTML doesn’t change at the rate SEO and social media do, but the way they are implemented often does. Further to this, popular design trends evolve rapidly, making it highly important you don’t fall behind on what internet users like to see.
As a result, you’ll want to keep up with industry changes. How do you do that? Get yourself on a news aggregator site, such as Feedly, and join online communities. Spend some time each week reading articles and getting to grips with potential, or current, industry changes.
2. Use the Post-it Note Methodology
A popular trick amongst some web designers is to consider whether you could fit the design you’ve envisaged on a Post-it note. If you can’t structure the most important elements (content, design, CTAs) on this piece of paper in a concise way, it’s time to reconsider your design.
3. Think of the User’s Goals
Creative people often like to launch into work so they can capitalize on the ideas gathering in their minds. Whilst this technique is great (jot down your ideas – use a Post-it note, why not?), it can often allow you forget the reason why you’re about to design something – to appeal to customers.
Before you begin, take a refined approach and consider the user goals and what they’d expect to see in the designs you’re about to create. You could begin with potential scenarios that create a specific user journey, and from there you can formulate a winning web design.
4. Take Inspiration from Others
Be inspired by other people’s work, although don’t steal liberally like there’s no tomorrow. If you like the navigation style from one website, and the text block formatting from another, merge the two and add a personal stamp along the way.
The finest web designers in the world are inspired by other websites all the time, so don’t consider your handiwork “stealing” – unless of course you do blatantly steal something, which we thoroughly recommend you avoid doing.
5. Always Have a Hierarchy in Mind
Establish your website hierarchy and keep it in mind – this will make your web design infinitely faster, and better, as you’ll understand the most important element of your design and structure everything else accordingly.
What could be the most important aspect? Your logo? Your content? An image? Your CTAs? Think it through thoroughly and then you’ll be able to launch into your work without further delays.
6. Remember to Reuse Styles
Fantastic UX typically means consistency – visitors will be pretty alarmed if they travel to different landing page son your site and find they’re markedly different. The great news is, being consistent streamlines your workflow brilliantly.
7. Embrace White Space
It’s still tempting for many web designers to show off their skills and cram as many awesome features into one landing page as possible. It’s been made clear, time and time again, concise simplicity is the best route to take. Of course, all that extra white space means less work to do to fill those gaps.
8. Use a Simple Grid
As a design tool, grids are fantastic time savers. They’ll also help you do a better job, although they can be difficult to master for beginners. To overcome this, use a simple grid of three to four columns to keep your designs in check.
9. Use Storage Space for Version Control
Dedicate a Dropbox or Google Drive storage space as a version control centre. This way you can keep old designs in place in the event of accidental deletions or unfortunate crashes. It’s also a good idea to look back from time-to-time, as with the benefit of hindsight old ideas may not seem quite as fantastic once you’ve properly mulled over your ideas.
10. Align to the Side
Central alignment is, apparently, old-hat. Nowadays it’s good to align your headings to the left. How does this improve workflow? You don’t have to shift your mouse up to click the Align Centre icon from now on, saving you a few seconds each time and, over the course of a year, hours! We’re joking, of course, but it’s wise to be in line with popular practices.