Effective Design Principles for Web Designers


The World Wide Web was designed with ease of use in mind. From its point of inception, every web based service, shopping site, education guide has been designed so that everybody can use the internet with as little training as possible. If you are only now starting with website design, then these tips on the primary topics that are related to it will come in handy.

Every site designer has some specific design principles to share. In our opinion, the principles that you must be aware of with site design are – Proximity, Alignment, Contrast and Repetition.

There are of course so many things that come under the umbrella of important principles. You should get started with these principles here before expanding the horizon to cover more topics.

Proximity – The Very First Principle

Law of Proximity

The proximity principle for website design, at its very core, is about grouping related elements together in a meaningful way. Websites are a visual medium, so the elements that need mention here are text, images and more importantly white space. If you are building a site that is heavy on text, it is essential that you distribute the available white space between the texts so as to allow for easier reading. White space, for those who are new, is that empty space that you will between any two elements at sight.

That space between a paragraph and the image that follows it, is the white space. So is the space between two columns of text, or separation between graphics. A bad example of using white space would be to have the text stretch all the way from the extreme left side of the page to the right side of the page. That would look horrible. Imagine the same page, except now the text has been split into two columns, and white space has been added on either side of the pages. There is also a wide gap between the two columns of text.

Alignment Is The Key


Alignment is related to the concept of proximity we just elaborated a few minutes ago. Alignment has to do with the connection between the image or images and the text that the image is related to. There are so many different ways in which you can align pictures, embed videos and include text boxes. You could have the image stay right at the top of the page, while the text follows in the line after the image. You could have the image right in the middle of all the text.

You can also have the image on its own column with the text remaining independent of the image on a column of its own. With alignment, the general rule is not so much about where you want the graphic to be located. Rather, it is about maintaining consistency with alignments throughout the site. If your image is a wide screen image that extends across the entire page, then it is best to keep it on top of the text, like you do see with a news headline.

If the image is that of a person, you could try embedding in the middle of the text, align it at the top centre or make it part of the first light, with the text running out of the bottom right edge of the image. Experiment with all align options and choose the one that makes the most sense. Once you have chosen an alignment scheme, ensure that you stick with this design for all pages.

Reap Visual Benefits With Consistency


In order to maintain the issue of consistency, you will need to put a special focus on the last two basic principles. One of them is about contrast. Contrast, as in the highlighting the difference between two different page elements is achieve by this design principle. It is easy to bring out the contrast in text elements by using the right selection text colours as well as fonts. There are other text formatting options that can be used to do the same. For instance, links can be emphasized with the underline option. You can also make use of the italicize option to emphasize certain parts of the text.

The last design principle is repetition, which is probably the easiest principle to adopt and implement. Unlike the other principles mentioned above, this one is straight forward. It is not as creatively demanding as the above mentioned principles but it does ask for patience. The idea is that there will always be some elements of a website that will keep repeating throughout the site. You will need to be patient while you repeat these elements that need repetition.

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  1. Alan Smith April 18, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Nice post. Many new and experienced web designers forget these important factors in web designing as you mentioned above. All these are important and help you to improve your web design.

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