Sharpened Productions

10 Rules of Web Design

Follow these guidelines to create great websites

  1. Simple is beautiful.
    Cramming too much into each page creates confusion. Visitors get frustrated when they have to scan through rows of links and images to find what they are looking for. By keeping your pages simple, your website will be easier to use.
  2. Design is paramount.
    When you meet someone for the first time, you want to make a good first impression. The same should be true for your website. The overall look and feel of your site is the first thing your visitors will notice.
  3. Navigation should be intuitive.
    There are few things more frustrating than not being able to find certain content on a website. Pages should be well-organized with a top-down design so that visitors can easily browse through the different sections on your website.
  4. Consistency is key.
    Visitors shouldn't feel like they are visiting a new website each time they open a new page on your site. Consistency among the pages on your site makes navigation a much easier task.
  5. Colors are crucial.
    Color selection can make or break a website. Most of us have visited websites that are simply painful to look at. When choosing colors, use a consistent palette of colors that don't clash and make sure there is a strong contrast between the text and the background.
  6. Make your website responsive.
    People will access your website using a wide variety of devices – from smartphones to desktop computers. Therefore, it is important that your website displays correctly on different screen sizes. Using CSS media queries is a great way to implement responsive web design.
  7. Develop for multiple browsers.
    Browsers are supposed to render webpages the same way, but they don't. Therefore, make sure to check your website on multiple browsers to make sure everything appears correctly. It is best to catch problems ahead of time instead of relying on complaints from your visitors.
  8. Check your website for errors.
    As any experienced editor will tell you, a great piece of work can be tarnished by a small error. Webmasters should regularly check their websites for typos, broken links, and images that do not load correctly.
  9. Write your own code.
    Whether it's HTML or PHP, nothing beats writing your code from scratch. If you use build your site from templates and pre-written scripts, you will be clueless when something goes wrong. If you code your own pages, you will have full control over how they look and act.
  10. Don't forget the content.
    Even if your site is beautifully designed, it is no more than an empty shell without content. A good website has both great design and great content. Therefore, make sure all your pages have unique, original content that makes them worth visiting.

Updated March 6, 2015