There’s a lot more to being a great web designer than simply having the necessary technical skills. Another key element to success is keeping up to date with the latest web design tips and trends from the world of online publishing and beyond.
Keeping your finger on the pulse gives you the option of becoming an early adopter of emerging design trends and styles. This, in turn, can help you to deliver projects, whether your own or for your clients, that really pack a punch. Having a solid arsenal of web design tips to turn to when it’s time to get down to work can also help to speed up your workflow.
Even if you’re a bit of a maverick that prefers to walk your own path rather than following the herd, keeping abreast of the latest web design tips and trends has it advantages. For one, it’ll make it easier to understand the needs and wants of your clients when discussing their vision for a project and they want to emulate something they’ve seen elsewhere.
And if you really want to be original, being aware of what’s popular now will help you to avoid those trending web design tips and styles and create something that is all your own.
1. Use Style Guides
Style guides are popular in the publishing world. They can come in the form of large books or documents that media publications follow to maintain uniform styles throughout their content. This can include everything from how states and countries are labeled to how numbers are written.
Web designers can create their own style guides to ensure the sites they build have uniform styles throughout. This is especially useful for designers who collaborate with other freelancers. A well-written style guide can help keep a disparate team on the same page.
2. Phase out Sidebars
Sidebars create clutter. They were meant to improve the usability of a site by displaying additional navigational elements, such as links to recent posts and popular content.
Over time, it’s fair to say they’ve been hijacked by savvy marketers looking for a way to display email opt-in forms and other promotional content that doesn’t always offer much to the user experience.
While in theory sidebars containing links and other useful content should enhance the user experience, in reality, very few site visitors actually use them, at least according to heatmap tests conducted by ConversionXL. Therefore, compromising your site’s design in favor of a sidebar for marketing purposes may not deliver the results you desire.
Try phasing sidebars out in your designs, especially if a site doesn’t really need one. Make your content the most important element on a page by using designs that force readers to focus on it.
If the thought of abandoning sidebars altogether sounds a bit extreme, look for a theme that gives you the option of publishing full-width content, alongside more traditional layouts that feature an accompanying sidebar.
You can do a lot with the humble WordPress sidebar and one web design tip is to get smarter with the way you do or don’t use them.
3. Use Larger Font Sizes
Big typography isn’t a new trend or aspect of design, but it’s still a great practice to follow. This is because it has the power to grab the reader’s attention and places the focus on your content.
Readability on smaller screens, such as mobile devices, has played a huge role in this trend’s rising popularity, but it also fits in nicely with the ever-popular minimalist and flat design trends.
4. Create More Space
Too much clutter can distract readers and make a site appear overly complicated. That’s one reason why phasing out sidebars is recommended. However, you should also try creating more space in general rather than trying to include as many elements as you can on a page. Again, it helps a reader focus on what’s important while giving you the opportunity to build better-looking designs.
This space is typically referred to as whitespace or negative space,. However, this space doesn’t always need to be white, especially if you’re building a website that uses large images on its homepage and headers.
Minimize the amount of clutter in your designs and include more space around and between elements to help guide your users through your site. Whitespace can make it clear where a reader’s attention should be focused.
5. Responsive Design isn’t Optional
Mobile device usage continues to grow, especially when it comes to accessing websites. This means that it’s never been more important to ensure your websites are mobile-friendly.
So one key web design tip is to fully commit to responsive design. In the past, this simply meant checking off the responsive design box on your to-do list. However, as this technology matures, you need to start considering more than just fluid layouts. Think mobile optimized images, whether hamburger menus are the right choice, and much more.