Effective web design may depend on a whole range of different factors—proper navigation, clean layout, functionality etc.—but you should never overlook the visual appeal. Aesthetics matter and can often be the determining factor when visitors decide if they want to stick around or not, and if done well a good visual design can take your online presence to the next level.
There are a few key considerations when it comes to good design, the first of which being the use of negative space. Negative space (or white space) helps to focus attention on the content of a web page, directing the eye and providing the perfect balance, but unfortunately far too few web designers think about it when considering the overall design. White space can help the page feel complete rather that cluttered or disjointed, and when used well it’s never there by accident—it’s all about making the page work together as a whole.
Then you need to consider typography. Readability is key so you should always choose your font with this in mind, and save the overly flashy stuff for headings or logos. Consider the layout of the text as well—don’t make text blocks too wide if you want your content to be easy on the eye (there’s a reason newspapers are arranged in columns) and use appropriate line spacing. Think about the space between individual characters as well as it can drastically change the feel of the design, and make sure to use graphics and colour effectively to draw the eye to the right places.
It’s all about the details, and if you want to make sure everything comes together it’s important to concentrate on the finer points of your design. There’s no substitute for a bit of tweaking and even the most experienced of designers will need to experiment before they achieve perfection, spending time to ensure the finished look is spot on. The importance of visuals can never be underestimated and can make all the difference to the success of your design as a whole, so make sure to spend some time on it and you’ll be one step closer to having a site that can perform on every level.