15 Principles of Good Web Design


A properly designed website should fulfill its intended function by conveying its particular message whilst simultaneously engaging the visitor. Several factors such as consistency, colors, typography, imagery, simplicity and functionality all contribute to good website design.

principles of good website design

Design is not just something designers do. Design is marketing. Design shows off your product and how it works. The more you learn about the principles of web design, the better results you will get.

Designing a good website is often challenging and hard. There are so many websites out there and good ones are not common. People spend a lot of time on the internet for shopping, ordering food online, exploring their university website, and reading articles from different websites and so much more.


Web design refers to the design of websites that are displayed on the internet. It usually refers to the user experience aspects of website development rather than software development. Web design used to be focused on designing websites for desktop browsers; however, since the mid-2010s, design for mobile and tablet browsers has become ever-increasingly important.


Design principles are based on contributions from professionals in industries as diverse as psychology and behavioral science and more. In general, these principles are flexible laws that guide designers towards producing effective final products. They affect which elements are chosen or discarded and how those features are organized.


There are five basic elements of web design that contribute in their own way to the overall user experience. Therefore, you must make sure that a single element doesn’t let down the entire website.

They include:

  • Content: There’s no denying that ‘Content is King’. It plays a massive role in SEO and is one of the main reasons people visit your website. You really need to focus a great deal of effort into creating first class content for your website.  These content types should include videos, relevant news/information and high-resolution imagery to make your website ‘stickier’. This will ensure you keep your users on your website for longer.
  • Usability: Great usability will never be noticed by the end user, but bad usability instantly stands out. Your website must be easy to navigate, intuitive, accessible and mobile-friendly. The user should know where they are on the website at all times and be able to find where they want to go with little thought. They should also be able to access any page they need without having to view the entire site. Your site should try to anticipate what your visitors are thinking and help them to fulfil their needs with as little effort as possible.
  • Aesthetics: In this day and age, having a visually impressive website across all devices is crucial. However, you must maintain your brand image. Your website must reflect who you are as a business and visually connect with the audience. The visual appeal of your website not only contributes to your brand awareness but also increases your credibility.
  • Interaction: Your website must engage with your audience, hold their attention, direct them through the stages of your website and finally encourage them to contact you. Your website isn’t just there for show, it is there to help you generate leads, increase sales and grow your business so ensure your website engages with your visitors in the correct way.
  • Visibility: If you had the most aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly website on the web, it would still be unsuccessful unless it could be found. Your presence and visibility through digital marketing campaigns including SEO, social media and email marketing. It is vital to the success of your website. It’s important that you understand how to be found, what platforms to target and how to utilize your content. Thousands of factors have an impact on where you appear within the search engines so make sure you have a plan in place!

What are the principles of good website design?

Proper website design doesn’t come easy. Follow these effective web design principles to make your next project a success.

1. Simplicity

As we’ve alluded to earlier, simple sites usually work the best. They’re the most eye catching and have the best user experience and engagement.  That’s why simplicity is one of our design principles.

Sometimes websites can become over designed. Placing too many elements on a page can distract users from the main purpose of your website. Simplicity is the foundation of designing a beautiful and elegant website which is easy to navigate and understand. However, it takes skill and control to harness simplicity, so you don’t end up with a bland and boring website.

Simple websites should let you seamlessly navigate from page to page and consume any content without distraction or confusion.

2. F-based reading pattern

f-based reading pattern

The F-based pattern is the most common way visitors scan text on a website. Eye tracking studies have found that most of what people see is in the top and left area of the screen. The F’ shaped layout mimics our natural pattern of reading in the West (left to right and top to bottom). An effective designed website will work with a reader’s natural pattern of scanning the page.

3. Visual hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the arrangement of elements is order of importance. This is accomplished by size, color, imagery, contrast, typographically, whitespace, texture and style. One of the most important functions of visual hierarchy is to establish a focal point; this shows visitors where the most important information is.

4. Keep your design consistent

Consistency in website design matters. Focus your attention to match design elements throughout each of the pages. It can be understood that your fonts, sizes, headings, sub-headings, and button styles must be the same throughout the website. Plan everything in advance. Finalize the fonts and the right colors for your texts, buttons, etc., and stick to them throughout the development. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) come in handy to keep the complete information about design styles and elements.

5. Same color scheme

When defining knowledge hierarchy throughout the website, color is very important. Keeping the coloring scheme consistent is one of the hardest tasks on the planet. Sometimes the color which we like might not be liked by others. There is often a tradeoff between colors. Make sure that the color you choose is well-liked by others. Some colors might fit well to a certain text and some might not, so maintaining consistency is the goal here. Run a survey, test, and iterate until you get good feedback from users. The color scheme on your website must be consistent!

6. Easy navigation

This is one of the most important features or a principle that you must implement while you are designing a website. If your site is hard to navigate your users will leave your website and probably not return.  Easy navigation includes a simple menu layout and the ability to quickly navigate the website.

7. Hick’s Law: keep user choices to a minimum

hicks law

If you’ve ever been so overwhelmed by the number of choices before you that you had trouble deciding between them, you’ll understand how too many options can be paralyzing for users. This is Hick’s Law in a nutshell. The more choices available, and the more complex each of them is, the more time it takes for users to arrive at a decision.

Hick’s Law, also referred to as the Hick-Hyman Law, is named after William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, two psychologists who examined the correlation between the number of stimuli presented to an individual and their reaction time.

This principle effectively means you want to remove clutter and show your users only the most essential options they need. For example, most websites will give a clear choice between “Save” or “Cancel” and “Yes” or “No” when confirming some action.

8. Keep your audience in mind

Good designers know that it’s not just about creating a website that they think looks good. To really create a website that cuts through the noise online, they must speak directly to their audience through design. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself what their biggest needs, desires, and fears are. This should dictate your design choices; from the fonts and colors you use, to your button text and website navigation.

9. Content

A website is only as good as its content. Without content a website serves no purpose. Without purpose there’s no reason for your site to attract visitors.

An effective website needs to show off content. Making sure your content is both visually appealing and easy to read and understand. A clever use of language can elevate your web design to the next level and actually influence visitors of the site. The end goal is to convert visitors into customers.

10. Load time

load time

Site speed has become an ever increasingly important ranking factor for many reasons. Least of which is that with modern internet speeds users have come to expect lighting fast websites which load in under a few seconds.

When designing your site make sure to not include any elements such as large high-resolution images which may impact page load times.

If your website is slow to load there is a high chance of losing visitors. This is especially true if it doesn’t load within three seconds. Make sure to optimize any images you use.

Load time of your website also has a major impact on your SEO score.  Slower loading sites are penalized by Google and other search engines.

11. Grid based layout

Grids help to structure your design and keep your content organized. The grid helps to align elements on the page and keeps it clean. The grid-based layout arranges content into a clean rigid grid structure with columns and sections that line up and feel balanced.  This results in an aesthetically pleasing website.

12. White space and clean design

White space (also called “negative space”) is the portion of a web page that remains “empty.” It’s the space between graphics, margins, space between columns, space between lines of type, or visuals.

It’s not just “blank” space—it’s an important element of web design. White space is all about the use of hierarchy for information, typography, color, or images.

A page without white space (crammed full of text or graphics) risks appearing busy or cluttered. Typically, it’s difficult to read and visitors won’t even bother trying.

The correct use of white space makes it easy to focus on the main message and visuals, and makes the body copy is easier to read. In general, white space promotes elegance and sophistication, improves legibility and drives focus.

13. Communication

The ultimate purpose of the visitors is to get information. If your website is able to communicate with your visitors efficiently, they probably will spend more time on your website. Tricks that may work to establish effortless communication with the visitors are: organizing information by making good use of headlines and sub-headlines and using bullet points.

 14. Mobile compatibility

Keeping in mind with the ever-growing usage of smartphones and tablets websites must be displayed properly for various screens. If your website’s design doesn’t support all screen sizes, then there is a high chance you’ll lose the battle to your competitors. Make sure your website design and development agency can deliver responsive web design.

15. Managing focus on user’s attention

The exact placement of visual elements is a major factor in successful web design. Properly implemented graphic design features create an open, inviting path to conversions. Design elements can be explicit, such as arrows, or very subtle. These design elements act as cues that focus visitor attention exactly where it needs to go. Giving the eyes only one design element on which to focus and carefully positioned calls to action are critical factors that must be carefully planned and executed to result in high conversion rates.


With the help of these principles, you can easily develop user-friendly and functional websites. Without these fundamentals, it is hard to develop a good and intuitive website. Focusing on user-friendly and intuitive design is always a good formula for success.

About 5280 Software LLC:

5280 Software LLC, located in Denver, Colorado is a premier software development firm.  We have worked with a variety of clients over the years.  Our expert team of developers have helped many small to medium sized businesses. We also work with startups, as well as enterprise level clients such as RingCentral.  Our custom website design and development services are tailored to solve whatever challenges your business is facing.  If you are looking to build a mobile app, we can deliver flawless apple iOS mobile apps. We also build stunning android mobile apps as well. . 

We help execute your website design and development plans to perfection.  A website is powerful tool for branding and showcasing the products or services you offer.  We can build you a WordPress, E-Commerce, or custom coded website at competitive prices.

Once the site is launched, or if you already have a website, we offer Search Engine Optimization Services to achieve higher search engine rankings.  Contact us today with your website’s URL and we will put together a free SEO analysis. It will include pricing and timeline to get your site ranked on the first page of Google. Our experienced and dedicated team has a proven track record and provide regular reporting on tasks completed. Regular reports of keyword movements during your SEO project is also included.  We help businesses and companies gain rankings on all the major search engines.  If you need the best mobile app development companies, you have found them!
We can improve the understanding of your business and marketing outreach through the use of analytics. We offer a complete solution with the latest technologies to solve your obstacles and scale your customer base. From the start of any project (and at every stage, step, phase, and release) we focus on the client. We always ask for feedback while we develop the project.  Creating a quality solution for a business or startup is our end goal.  Our strategy and processes are based on solid communication with our clients.  5280 Software LLC is one of the top mobile app development companies in the USA.  We are far better than other website design and development companies that charge more money for lower quality.

All projects are built according to a clearly defined scope of work.  If you need assistance with scope creation, we offer this as a service FREE OF CHARGE. This scope of work will be used in the provided development contract.  Make sure whomever you hire for your project provides you a development contract with clearly defined pricing. As well as development timeline, payment schedule, and deliverables.  We would like to learn about your project and help refine your scope of work.  Our custom website, software, mobile app development, and digital marketing agency is here for you every step of the way.

We look forward to speaking with you about your project.  Learn why clients around the world trust working with 5280 Software LLC.  Feel free to visit us on our social sites Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or send us a LinkedIn connection request to learn about our offers to get answers to your questions.  Want to hear firsthand from our previous clients the superior service we offer?  Check out our testimonialsCall us today at 888.510.0833 to learn about our local Denver website design and development services.  We are a local Denver CO design website company you can trust to deliver a flawless responsive website design!

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