The work of web design has changed dramatically in recent years. In the early days of web design, creativity was more abundant. Using tools from Microsoft Front Page to Dreamweaver and Flash, web designers created all sorts of weird and wonderful designs and in those days not many websites ever looked alike. Some would argue that the evolution of the web has resulted in this creativity being bounded and to an extent I would say this is true.
As the science started to creep into measuring website success factors it became clear that the requirement for consistency from an end user perspective was important. Flashy, quirky and colourful sites were often just annoying users as they got frustrated trying to find information quickly or buy a product at the best price. After years of analysis by some of the biggest online businesses some clear rules of best practice have been established for web design.
Accessibility is another very important area as is Search Engine Optimisation. Both of these require in-depth knowledge of best practice site structure to ensure content is both accessible and search engine friendly.
So what are some of the key rules of web design?
- Clear consistent navigation
- Minimum number of clicks possible to access information
- Graphics are important but must be a balanced approach
- Creative content within boundaries can work well (Infographics, video content etc)
- Calls to action within key content are very important (buy now, call now, subscribe now etc)
- Flash is out (no longer viewable on some mobile devices and tablets) so new technologies are important e.g. HTML5
- Social media integration can be effective if done properly