What Is Web Design?
18 April 2019
With the rise of the internet, having a good website is a necessity if
you want your brand to succeed. A bad website will invariably hurt your
brand. To that end, there has been a massive spike in the hiring of “web
designers.” But what is web design, and what do web designers do?
Definition of Web Design
Web design, in a nutshell, is the process of collecting ideas and
aesthetically arranging them on a website to entice viewers. A page’s
web design is what creates the overall look and feel of the web page.
Web designs consist in the planning and building of features of your
site, from images to font to layout and to graphics. Web design is the
first thing that a user notices and the main thing that keeps them
interested and coming back to your site.
We design is different than web development. Web development involves
the actual coding that makes the different elements of the site function
properly on a computer. Web design is much more general and is focused
on the general arrangement, layout, and visual appearance of the site.
For example, coding a backend is part of web development while choosing a
color palette and graphics for your site falls in the domain of web
design. In other words, web design is about choosing the artistic
elements of a site while web development is building the machinery to
make that vision a reality. A good website requires both web design and
web development, but they are distinct skill sets.
A user experience developer (UX developer) is the one who makes your
website more user-friendly. Generally, UX developing positions combine
elements of web design and web development to make appealing websites
that capture and keep user attention.
Web design is also different than web hosting. Web hosting refers to how
information related to your site is stored and accessed. For more
information on web hosting, visit our web hosting blog and web hosting
Why Is Web Design Important?
Web design is important simply for the reason that it is the first thing
users notice about your site and first impressions matter, especially
on the internet. A solid web design tells users a few things about your
brand: you take yourselves seriously, you are professional, and they can
trust you. Having a poor web presence will really hold your brand
Having a good web design can also increase your search results. Relevant
keywords, SEO content, appropriate tags, and easily identifiable and
accessible content all work to raise your rankings on various search
engines which increases brand visibility. Having a subpar web design
virtually ensures you will not make it high in the rankings.
Elements of Web Design
Key visual elements of web design include:
- Layout: The layout is the general appearance of the site, the way graphics, texts, and pictures are arranged. Good layout allows users to easily identify different parts of the site by maintaining balance, integrity, and consistency.
- Color: Choosing a good color scheme for your web page is important because color can elicit emotions in people and set a general feel and atmosphere. Picking an appropriate color scheme is good for expressing the personality of your brand.
- Graphics: Graphics include any logos, pictures, animations, or icons on your website. Your choice of graphics is very important for web design as the placement, color, and content of graphics affect site performance and which features are easily identifiable by users.
- Font: Fonts are the way that typed text appears on your page. Fonts enhance your web design by making text pop and easily readable. Most browsers can only read a select few “web safe” fonts, so these are the ones your web designers are likely to work with.
- Content: Web content goes hand in hand with web design as quality content bolsters the message of the site through image and text. SEO optimized content that incorporates the relevant keywords also boosts your sites search engine rankings.
Examples of Successful Web Design
While there is by no means an exhaustive list of web design resources
that all successful web sites must have, there are a few uniting themes
that seem to be present in the most successful ones.
- Clear, uncluttered layout. While it is not a bad thing to have a lot of information on your pages, it needs to be arranged in a way that does not overwhelm the user.
- Clear calls to action. Make it obvious what steps you want site visitors to take.
- Relevance and direction. Do not put images or files that are irrelevant to the subject on the page and make sure there is a clear desired sequence of actions for users to take. This can be accomplished by the use of logos, images, and fonts.
- High-quality content that is SEO optimized. Previous trends in web design saw a de-emphasis on the quality of content in favor of quantity. However, recent changes to Google search algorithms are meant to prioritize high-quality expert crafted and reliable content as well as to minimize actions meant to cheat search engine rankings, like keyword loading, spurious links, and content farming.
- A solid balance between text and images. Too much text is discouraging while too little is disengaging.
- Responsive design. Due to the prevalence of mobile devices like phones and tablets, many web designers tailor their sites to adapt to the screen size and resolution of other devices. Responsive design is designing a site to reorient itself on different size screens.
- Web-safe fonts. The industry standard for fonts is sans serif. This is because serifs on letters appear somewhat blotchy on computer screens, especially low resolution one.
In general, successful web design is one that makes users
“convert.” In web design terminology, convert means to get the user to
do some specific action, like click on a link or read a body of the
text. That’s why the above techniques are found in successful sites;
they are good at getting users to convert and take some specific
Examples of Bad Web Design
Just as there is good web design, there is bad web design. Let’s
take a look at some examples of web design. In general, bad web design
is any feature that frustrates the user or makes them work. Bad web
design is a design that is not intuitive or straightforward.
- Distracting backgrounds. Distracting backgrounds take attention away from the main elements of the site. As a general rule of thumb, stay away from tiled backgrounds.
- Poor contrast. Elements on the screen should be properly colored so they can be clearly distinguished between each other. Poor contrast can make elements blend into each other and make them a pain to read.
- Lack of responsive design. In today’s mobile-dominated world, responsive web design is basically a must-have.
- Bad links and multiple CTAs. Make sure to check the functionality of your links and that they are clearly and unambiguously identified. Also, make sure to not present more than one CTA to users at a time. Too many CTAs can confuse users.
- Inconsistent style. Your sites web design is its personality, and conflicting elements can make your brand's identity unclear. For example, text on pages should be the same format, and the site should use a recognizable color scheme throughout its pages.
- Generic stock images and low-quality irrelevant content.
History of Web Design
In many ways, the start of web design is contemporaneous with the
invention of the web itself. After its initial inception by Tim
Berners-Lee in 1991, the World Wide Web consisted mainly of text-only
pages. However, 1993 aw the release of the very first web browser that
integrated web design elements such as images and sounds. After that,
there were several advances in web design technologies and strategies
that seek to capitalize on the graphic design capabilities of web
Around 1996 when Microsoft released their first competitive
browser, The introduction of HTML markup for tables helped web designers
realize the potential for complex multi-column layouts. These layouts
had some limitations though.
designers a way to dynamically modify the order of elements on the site.
The further release of Flash in 1996 helped web designers break free
from the limitations of HTML only design and allowed web designers to
create any shape, layout, animation, or interaction they wanted, all in a
In 1998, a design format called CSS (Cascading style sheets) was
born. CSS changed the game by separating web content from web
presentation. The content was to be defined in HTML while look and
formatting were defined in CSS. CSS and HTML are currently two of the
more popular formatting styles used for web design, though they have
gone through many iterations and changes since their respective
Beginning in the 21st century, the internet has become more central
to virtually everybody’s lives. The introduction of mobile web-devices
resulted in a need to address the different formats and compatibilities
issues of different mobile devices. The solution was to use the same
content but have two distinct layouts. This is a responsive web design,
and it is now basically an industry standard in web design.
How Can I Get Good Web Design?
Learning about the right way to do website design is hard, but you do not have to do it alone.
The ideal method for getting a web design done differs depending on
your personal needs; i.e., what kind of company you are, how complex
your site needs to be, how much you are willing to spend, and how much
web design knowledge you yourself know.
One way to learn web design is simply getting your hands dirty and
trying yourself. This can be a good choice if you have some prior web
design experience. However, in today's fast-paced world taking the time
to learn appropriate web design skills eats into time you could be using
to promote your brand.
You can work one-on-one with a freelance web designer who can help
you pick the style and feel of your site. Working with a freelancer is a
decent idea if you have a smaller website that you just need to get off
Another way is to invest in a web design builder. Template driven
web-builders, like Wix of Squarespace, offer an intuitive drag and drop
interface that lets you put together your site however you want; no
coding knowledge necessary. Template driven web design tools are useful,
but if you do not know the specifics of web design, you are limited to
the tools they provide you.
That’s why there exist web designs companies that offer their web
design services to clients. Hiring a web design company takes the stress
of site design off your shoulders and leverages the expertise of
specialists to create an appealing site that will attract and retain
viewers. Acquiring the services of a web design company is a good idea
if you have a complex site that needs to be constructed from scratch.
Many web design companies also offer other web related services, such as
web hosting and domain registration.
Here at Zeus Host, we offer a wide variety of web design services
along with web hosting services. Our web design services can help your
site get the look you desire. If you need comprehensive web design
services, make sure to take a look at our web design services.