guidelines for website design
Web design standards are one factor that contribute to a website’s professional appearance and consistency with the brand. You read that right: behind every great website you’ve ever seen is a standardised set of guidelines created to maintain order in the face of potential anarchy.
What Exactly Are Web Design Standards
Since its inception in 1998, the web standards movement has grown tremendously. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been the primary source of web design standards used by developers, though other groups, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), have also contributed (ISO).
In essence, they are a shared set of tools and ideas that, when used properly, produce uniform, aesthetically pleasing, and intuitive websites.
Why is that a big deal, anyway?
Did you know, for example, that the visual design of a website accounts for 94% of users’ initial judgements? To add insult to injury, 88% of users claim they will never revisit a site that provided a negative experience. What, though, separates a good user experience from a bad one?
The purpose of web design guidelines is to provide us with that information.
- which typefaces to employ.
- How large or small the text should be, what colours should be used, and what kind of buttons should be placed where.
- Location of Main Menu Items (Web design standards say it should be across the top of the page).
- where the “Contact Us” button is (typically located in the top right).
- If and where to put the search bar.
And so on…
Web Design Principles Aren’t Just About Aesthetics Either
Consistency, usability, clarity, and branding are just some of the most prominent advantages. It’s true that a lot of this has to do with how it looks, but not everything.
Adhering to established guidelines for web design provides users with a level of consistency that simplifies and streamlines the experience of navigating your site. This is manifested visually and also exists in the background, hidden in the code.
There are also advantages that aren’t as obvious to the naked eye, such as
- Assuring that older browsers can still access and use websites.
- increases future compatibility, guaranteeing proper presentation even in future browsers.
- offers a more consistent web experience on mobile devices of all shapes and sizes.
- Coding design standards not only improve search engine rankings but also guarantee that websites are indexed accurately.
- 508 compliance, which ensures that websites are accessible to people with disabilities.
Those are all crucial factors in determining how users will engage with your website and what they will take away from their experience. In addition, they facilitate the present and future growth of your site in a more structured and expedient manner.
Where To Find Web Design Standards
Working with a developer or agency like 3 Media Web to build or redesign your website is beneficial because they will be familiar with current web design best practises. They will know which standards will most effectively get you to your destination after a consultation to establish a clear vision of your brand’s needs.
Furthermore, there is an abundance of information accessible via the internet.
ISO is another great resource for web design guidelines, albeit with a more limited selection than what is provided by W3C.
The World Wide Web Consortium’s recommendations for good web practise have already been mentioned. This site is one of the most extensive compendiums of web design guidelines because it contains so much information. Because it is maintained by a group of volunteer, open-source programmers, it is constantly evolving and improving.
We also mentioned the ISO set of web standards earlier. While the W3C standards are more comprehensive, there is some overlap with these specifications.
Here you can find all of their currently available standards.
The U.S. Web Design System homepage displays dozens of button styles used across government websites and discusses fresh guidelines for typography, colour scheme, and more.
The United States Web Design System is another potential avenue for study. Across all government sites, the United States follows a uniform set of guidelines established by the government itself for web design. The answers are in this location.
Style guides specify fonts and colours, while UI components like buttons and navigation menus are standard fare on most websites.
12 Web Design Guidelines To Build A Better Website
The development of web design guidelines is a group endeavour. They are concerned with what most people find useful, and the best way to determine this is through a process of consensus. Always keep in mind to follow these rules when creating a website:
- Learn to Control the Details: What, Specifically, Does Your Website Hope to Achieve?
- Minimalism can help your website look professional and put together.
- Make sure the site’s aesthetic suits your company’s identity; if your company is the antithesis of minimalist, a minimalist site isn’t for you.
- Make sure your design team, design plans, and managers are focused on your users instead of your own personal preferences.
- Pay Attention to Details: Good website copy sells and influences users.
- Constantly monitor the content of your company’s online presence.
- Everyone who visits your site must be able to read it, so follow accepted practises for accessible web design.
- Improve the User Experience by Making Navigation Simpler. Due to their compact design and high recognition factor, hamburger icons may make website navigation simpler.
- Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly First: If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, half of your visitors will leave.
- It is crucial to focus on the user experience when designing a website, regardless of whether it is viewed on a mobile device or a traditional computer.
- Incorporate Your Data Sources: The information gleaned from digital marketing will guide your business decisions and help you fine-tune your site for optimal user experience.
You should make it simple for customers to provide feedback, whether through surveys or online forms.
- If you feel you need assistance creating your website, don’t be reluctant to seek the services of a professional agency.
Happily, there are a large number of people interested in web design standards and contributing to the discussion about them. This means that, in addition to the highly technical guides we linked to in the previous section, there are a wealth of other resources available.
READ ON FOR THE FOUR ESSENTIAL STEPS PRIOR TO REDESIGNING YOUR WEBSITE.
Master The Tangibles
There should be a written plan outlining the goals of each page before any design work is done.
You need a plan before you can begin coding your new website or picking out its colours, fonts, and images.
The goal of each page, please. What destination do you hope the current page’s visitor will reach? Can you explain the website’s internal linking structure?
Keep in mind that you need a strategy before you can create any kind of content.
And this UXpin ebook teaches just that!
Current Trends: Is Minimalism The Way To Go?
Yes and no.
Less is more than just sometimes.
In the aforementioned ebook, the trend of minimalist design and its success in contemporary web design are discussed at length.
…and why sometimes it doesn’t work at all.
While the minimalist aesthetic is well-suited to some businesses and websites, it is not without its limitations. Minimalist design would fall short on e-commerce sites like Amazon, for example, because of their inherent complexity.
Obviously, this does not mean that doing so is impossible; however, some additional planning will be required. In other words, remember this!
Small Tweaks Have A Big Impact
It’s common knowledge that a website can’t function properly without compelling sales copy. The method of presentation, however, receives less attention.
As is pointed out by Business2Community:
It’s easy to lose sight of the obvious fact that readership equals revenue amidst all the complexities of landing page design. Our content will not be read if it is difficult to read.
They aren’t just referring to the way you phrase things in your content.
All page copy must use standard fonts; no fancy cursive is allowed. And definitely don’t try to adjust the font size in pixels. Due to differences in screen size and pixel density, a value of 14px on one device may have a very different appearance on another.
There are coding guidelines for web design that let programmers use a percentage for font size instead of a fixed number of pixels. In this way, the browser will automatically adjust the text size to make it legible on the target device.
Current Trends: The Iconic Hamburger Icon
Specifically, do you recognise the icon in the top right? The one with the vertical row of three bars?
A popular choice among web designers due to its minimalist appeal and instant recall, the hamburger icon can be seen here in the top right corner.
The “hamburger icon” is one of the most ubiquitous symbols in the history of the Internet, and you’ve probably seen it many times already.
A bit of a wildcard on the list, but for better or worse, this item has achieved iconic status. There’s an abundance of this appetisingly named icon throughout the mobile web. Additionally, the hamburger icon is working hard to broaden its scope to include desktops and other software.
It’s an excellent illustration of how web design standards function, having become universally recognised as a link to a menu when clicked. As a result of its widespread adoption as a web design standard, this was possible.
The “clean factor” is the biggest selling point for the hamburger icon in desktop apps, according to designers and developers. Given the continued rise in popularity of minimalist aesthetics, it’s natural to feel compelled to pare things down to their barest essentials.
In spite of its flaws, the hamburger menu still accomplishes its primary function, which is to streamline site navigation.
The hamburger icon is a practical solution that complies with current design standards because it allows users to conceal large navigation menus until they are actively used.
Does Your Website Deliver A Great Customer Experience?
Remember how you should never judge a book by its cover? This is excellent guidance, but the vast majority of website visitors will ignore it.
It’s been found that if a customer has a bad experience on a company’s mobile website, 57% are less likely to recommend that company to others. In addition, if half of your site visitors have a negative experience, they will not return.
What Makes a Good Customer Experience?
This survey by HubSpot suggests a simple solution.
Seventy-six percent of respondents to the survey think it’s critical that information on a website be easy to find.
DIY Or Agency?
The fact that the web design standards are publicly accessible is a huge plus, as it means that anyone can learn from them and use them to improve their own websites. Additionally, there is an abundance of pre-made designs from which even inexperienced web designers can choose.
To what extent, though, are they useful?
You wouldn’t believe how often customers ask us this very question. We felt the need to dedicate an entire article to the topic, so we did just that.
Even though we get asked this question quite frequently, the truth is that many of our clients come to us after having already spent countless hours and resources on a template that ultimately didn’t allow them to achieve their goals.
We have found that working with a web design agency or individual is well worth the investment, based on our own experiences and those of some of our previous clients. Especially if you’re intent on expanding your company.
Templates = Amateur
Custom Web Design = Professional
However, as the article notes, there are some special cases where using a template could be useful. Using a template is a good option if you need a simple website with minimal content and have no plans to expand your site in the near future.
However, if you plan on slapping together a rudimentary site with the intention of redesigning and upgrading it later, a template will turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth.
As you’ll have to build your website from scratch once more, costing you both time and money.
We’ve come a long way today, but there’s a lot more to discover about good practises for web design. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or are unsure of where to begin.