30 Website Design Tips to follow in 2023
By Vivek Mannotra, Community Contributor - June 2, 2023
The world-wide-web (WWW) is like the wild-wild-west and designing websites is a tricky business. Like trying to build a home that can withstand a hurricane, except the hurricane keeps changing direction, and the ground keeps turning into quicksand.
But don’t worry, we’ve got the inside scoop on some website design and development tips that will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Life cycle of a website
Websites have become an essential tool for businesses, organizations, and individuals to reach a wider audience, establish their brand, and communicate their message.
Creating and maintaining a website is not a one-time task. It is a continuous activity which involves:
- Planning: The planning stage lays the foundation of a successful website. It involves determining the purpose, target audience, and goals of the website. During this stage, a strategy is created, and the website’s objective, structure and layout are planned.
- Design: User Experience (UX) design, or User Interface (UI) design, focuses on creating an attractive and functional interface that allows users to interact with a website effectively and efficiently. UI design team works closely with other stakeholders through the complete life-cycle.
- Development: Ideally, once the designing stage is complete, the development stage shall begin. More realistically, they go back and forth, especially in Agile. The website’s visual appearance and functionality are created based on the UI design choices.
- Testing: Without proper testing, a website may be prone to errors, bugs, and compatibility issues, which can lead to a poor user experience, reduced traffic, and even damage to the brand’s reputation. Hence quality assurance is an important step.
- Launch: When the website is launched, performance is monitored, and any issues are addressed. The website’s search engine optimization (SEO) is optimized to ensure that it ranks high in search engine results. The website’s security is also reviewed to ensure that it is secure and protected from cyber threats.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance is required to ensure that the website remains secure, up-to-date, and functional within an evolving tech landscape. Website’s content is updated regularly to keep it fresh and relevant.
- Retirement: When the website has become outdated or is no longer needed, it is retired. The website’s content is archived or deleted.
Why is Design pivotal in Website Development?
The role of design in web development goes beyond the visual aesthetics. The simplest way to understand it better is to look at the various layers of consideration involved in the web design process:
Design for functionality
- User Experience: Good web design takes into consideration the user’s + business’ needs and aims to provides a seamless, intuitive experience. Users should be able to easily find what they’re looking for and navigate the site without feeling lost or frustrated.
- First impressions: The design of a website is often the first thing a user will notice, and it can make or break their initial impression of the site.
- Accessibility: Web design plays a key role in ensuring that a website is accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. This includes designing for those who may be visually or hearing impaired, or who use assistive technologies to access the web.
- Functionality: A well-designed website should be optimized for performance, load quickly, and work well on all devices, from desktops to mobile phones and beyond. Cross browser compatibility has historically been one of the biggest challenge for web developers.
Read More: Cross Browser Compatibility Issues to Avoid
- Branding: A website is often a company’s first point of contact with potential customers, and the design of the site can communicate a brand’s message and values. Consistent branding across a website can help build trust and credibility with users.
Design for human perception
- Attention span: Studies have shown that users have a short attention span when browsing the web, and a well-designed website can help grab and hold their attention. Before you trust someone’s advice on how many seconds, just know that there are better approaches.
- User engagement: A well-designed website can help foster user engagement, which is important for ensuring users come back. Call-to-action (CTA) is a term used to describe actions resulting in successful conversions.
- Information processing: The way information is presented on a website has a significant impact on how users process and retain it. All websites, apps and computational activity in essence is information processing, hence the term Information Technology (IT).
- Visual perception: The visual design of a website can affect how users perceive the content and the brand behind it. Many principles and techniques of human perception established in other domains like Cinema, Advertising find relevant analogies in web design.
- Usability: Web design plays a crucial role in website usability, which refers to how easy it is for users to accomplish their goals on a website. Instructional design is the broader field which informs web designers in this regard.
Design for proper coding
- Responsive design: With the increasing prevalence of mobile devices, a well-designed website should be optimized for viewing on all devices. Many advocate for mobile-first designs, that morph and adapt on larger screens, as a standard approach.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Good web design can have a significant impact on a website’s search engine ranking. Although, different search engines have slightly different ranking logic, knowing basics of the underlying web semantics is a decent start.
- Performance: A well-designed website should load quickly and perform well, which is essential for keeping users engaged. There are many more ways to evaluate performance, but most would agree that load time, network and battery usage are universal factors.
- Scalability: A website that is designed with scalability in mind can adapt and grow as the business or organization behind it grows. This is especially true for tech start-ups and growing businesses.
- Security: Good web design practices can also help improve a website’s security. Bad web design can leave vulnerabilities which can lead to disaster if not checked.
Design for easy maintenance
- Content updates: A well-designed website should make it easy to update and add new content, which is essential for keeping users engaged and up-to-date.
- Bug fixes: Even the best-designed websites may encounter bugs or errors from time to time. Having a standard procedure for addressing them is a must have.
- Cost: Cost is a factor for running websites, including but not limited to the domain, hosting and 3rd party integration expenses. If not optimized, can lead to big holes in your wallet.
- Backups: Regular backups are essential for protecting a website’s content and ensuring that it can be easily restored in the event of a data loss or security breach. If not from start, after reaching critical mass this should definitely be considered.
- Upgrades: As technology evolves and new web standards emerge, it’s important to ensure that a website is up-to-date and compatible with the latest technologies. Outdated dependencies are a common source for app vulnerabilities.
Since we’ve laid out a broad framework of understanding the range of factors/variables web designers have to consider while designing a website, lets now dive into some practical and useful tips for designing and delivering amazing websites.
Top 30 tips for creating great websites
Once the planning phase is complete, you should have all the business/functional requirements recorded in a well-formed document, only then you should start designing the user interface for the website.
UI design for different scenarios
No matter what design tool you are using, here are some tips that will help you approach the UI design process with more clarity:
1. Keep it simple for business: Websites that are heavily focused on commerce should prioritize simplicity in their user interface. Think about sites like Amazon and Google, which have minimalistic designs that prioritize functionality and ease of use over resource-heavy visual effects.
2. Consider intricate UIs for brochure sites: Websites that are designed to act as brochures or portfolios for a company or individual can benefit from more visually appealing UI elements like designer fonts, parallax, 3D effects etc.
3. Prioritize usability for target audience: The target audience should always be considered when designing the user interface. For example, a younger demographic may prefer more modern design and more functions, while an older demographic may prefer a simpler design and lesser functional options.
4. Prioritize critical elements: Ensure that the user interface is easy to navigate and that users can find important UI elements quickly. Use clear and concise labels and provide contextual information to guide users.
5. Provide feedback: Provide feedback to users when they take actions on the website. For example, display a message when a form is submitted or show a loading indicator when content is being loaded.
6. Incorporate accessibility features: Consider users with disabilities when designing the user interface. Incorporate accessibility features like keyboard navigation, alt tags for images, and proper color contrast.
7. Offer help and support: Make sure users have access to help and support resources, such as a FAQ page or contact information for customer support. This can help build trust and ensure a positive user experience.
8. Use white space effectively: White space, or the empty space between design elements, can be used effectively to make the interface less cluttered and improve readability.
9. Test with users: User testing is a valuable tool for determining the effectiveness of a website’s user interface. Test the site with users of varying levels of tech-savviness to identify any areas that may be confusing or difficult to navigate.
10. Keep up with industry trends: Staying up to date with industry trends can help inform the design of the website. For example, if a particular design style is becoming popular in a given industry, it may be financially beneficial to incorporate elements of that style into the website’s user interface.
Programming for WWW in 2023
12. Use modern TypeScript (TS) features: Modern JS features like TypeScript or ES6 can make your code more efficient and easier to maintain. These are especially helpful with large teams and projects where type-setting and modularisation are priorities.
13. Use responsive design: With more and more users accessing the web on mobile devices, it’s important to use responsive design techniques to ensure your website looks and functions well on all devices.
14. Use lightweight libraries: While frameworks can be helpful, they can also add unnecessary weight to a website. Instead, use lightweight libraries that are specific to the task at hand.
15. Focus on accessibility: Accessibility is an essential aspect of web design. Ensure that your designs are accessible by following WCAG 2.1 guidelines and using ARIA attributes.
16. Optimize for performance: Performance is key to a good user experience. Optimize your designs for performance by minimizing HTTP requests, compressing files, and using caching techniques.
17. Use progressive enhancement: Start with a basic website design and add more advanced features and functionality as needed. This allows your website to function for all users, regardless of their browser or device.
18. Use testing tools: Use browser dev tools and automated testing tools to ensure that your website functions correctly and displays correctly across different browsers and devices.
19. Use modular design: Modular design involves breaking down a website into smaller, reusable components. This makes it easier to create a consistent design and make changes to the website as needed.
20. Use design patterns: Design patterns can help you create user-friendly website designs that are intuitive and easy to use.
Understand Limitations of WWW
21. Design for Automation: Scaling website design and development efforts is highly resource intensive. Hence, always design your website with automated testing in mind from the beginning. This can help you be efficient and catch issues early in the development process.
22. Design for CICD: CI/CD is the industry standard way of building checks and balances into the release cycle itself. Use version control to manage your code and design assets. This makes it easier to roll back changes if necessary and ensures consistency across multiple developers/teams/versions.
23. Ensure web security: Ensure that your website is built with security in mind and implement measures such as SSL certificates, firewalls, and secure authentication methods.
24. Ensure browser compatibility. Test your website on multiple browsers and devices to ensure that it works seamlessly on each one.
25. Don’t overcomplicate your design: Keep the user interface simple and intuitive, so users can easily navigate and find what they need.
26. Don’t use too many animations: While animations can add visual interest, too many can slow down your website and distract users from the main content. Use animations sparingly and purposefully.
27. Don’t use too many pop-ups: Pop-ups can be annoying for users, especially if they appear too frequently or are difficult to close. Use pop-ups sparingly and ensure that they are easy to dismiss.
28. Don’t use too many images: Large images can slow down your website and increase load times. Use images sparingly and compress them for faster loading times.
29. Don’t use too many plugins or third-party integrations: These can slow down your website and make it more vulnerable to security threats. Only use plugins that are necessary and keep them up to date.
30. Don’t underestimate the power of content: Your website should have high-quality, engaging content that is relevant to your audience and features of your website. In absence of original and relevant content technical prowess could easily be proven futile.
Mastering website design is no easy task, given the constant evolution of the digital landscape. However, armed with the right tips and strategies, you can overcome these challenges and create exceptional websites that leave a lasting impression.
By leveraging BrowserStack, you can thoroughly test your website’s compatibility, responsiveness, and functionality on a wide range of browsers, operating systems, and devices. Its extensive device and browser coverage allow you to identify and address any potential issues or inconsistencies early on in the design process.
With features like live testing, automated testing, and responsive testing, BrowserStack equips you with the necessary tools to create websites that deliver consistent performance and deliver reliable results.