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Create a website design : The Guide

Web Design,Freelance,Business
webdesign guide
Photo by Georgie Cobbs on Unsplash

A website is much more than a set of pages linked together. It is a real space ofinteraction, whether between professionals, individuals or others. This interaction creates an experience for the visitor. As a webdesigner, your role is to make sure that this user experience is successful! So I've prepared this webdesign guide: 10 questions you should ask yourself before creating a website design.

1. Who are your targets?

Everyone who creates a site does so with a specific goal in mind: they target a certain audience. This helps them to build an efficient site, a site that really meets the expectations of its future readers. It is therefore obvious that the first step in creating a webdesign site is to know the targets.

Empathy is a highly sought-after quality in web designers. How can they really know what their prospects and clients need if they don't even try to put themselves in their shoes? Here are some examples of questions they should ask themselves:

  • what would be my goals?
  • what obstacles would prevent me from reaching them?
  • How can this site help me?
  • etc.

However, putting yourself in their shoes is not enough. I also advise you to get help from specific tools, such as website analysis tools. Most of them offer the possibility to see the demographic origin of the visitors of a website. This is very important information that can help in the design of a website.

I also know wedesigners who carry out a survey, always with the aim of better knowing their targets. But be careful! A survey that is too classic, with questions that are too simple, will not give you the results you need. Don't settle for a question like "what do you think of this design". Instead, try more advanced questions to get more in-depth answers.

Once you have collected all the necessary data, take the time to analyze it carefully. All the decisions you will make regarding the design of the site should then be based on this information. Then comes the second tip of this web design guide:

2. How do people use your site?

I'm not going to tell you that some sites are well known and visited because they are simply easy to use. No matter how attractive your site is, if it's not practical, no one will be interested in it.

The second step in creating a site design is to understand how users will interact with your site:

  • Are they comfortable with buttons?
  • Are the forms intuitive enough?
  • Do they prefer to press the buttons directly with their finger or use the keyboard shortcuts and the mouse cursor?
  • etc.
webdesign guide
Photo by Freddy Castro on Unsplash

3. Web design guide: everything they do has consequences

Unless you scroll down to simply observe, all actions on a site have consequences. When you invite someone to click on a button , for example, they will be prompted to :

  • spend money;
  • delete a website ;
  • be redirected to another page;
  • and many others.

And visitors should understand that. If they don't, they may do something they will regret. So when designing, make sure you make visitors understand that such an action will lead to something else.

For this, you can for example:

  • highlight a button that corresponds to the desired action
  • insert an easily understandable symbol (a trash can to show that an action leads to deletion, a magnifying glass to show that they can launch a search...)
  • give the right colors to each element (green to mean that visitors are on the right track while red will be the warning)

4. What mistakes are they likely to make?

As the saying goes, "to err is human; to forgive, divine." This expression remains true in this webdesing guide. However, that's no reason to let people make mistakes. As long as possible, we should help them not make any at all.

Here are some examples in the case of creation of e-commerce sites :

  • the validation buttons remain inactive until all fields have been filled in
  • Forms detect that an email address has not been entered or has been misspelled
  • Pop-ups ask if you really want to abandon a shopping cart
  • Etc.

Besides, prevention is better than cure!

What to do if the error has been made? The best thing to do would be to give users the means to remedy the error by creating a detailed error message.

webdesign guide
Photo by Manuel Sardo on Unsplash

5. Does the site emit signals?

When two people converse, one speaks and the other responds. So it has what we call "feedback ". On the internet, this is also valid. Without feedback from a site, it is generally considered that there is an interruption or disruption. We then tend to refresh the page, again and again until we notice some sign.

To avoid your visitors to experience this moment of doubt, you must include in your design these signs . This can be a loading animation.

6. Web design guide: what size and spacing for each element?

This rule is so important in web design that I decided to include it in this web design guide: the bigger an element is, the less time it takes to click on it. Not only do these elements attract the eyes, but they are easily clickable. So people don't hesitate to click on them. This is probably why call-to-action buttons are often large.

The same goes for frequently used elements (menus, search bar, list of links, etc.). They should be large enough so that there are no complications when they are clicked on. The user does not have to worry about exceeding their click target.

7. Do you know the standards?

I repeat it often (even in my other articles and webdesign guide): creativity is necessary in webdesign. But you shouldn't overdo it. Internet users are already used to a certain number of standards soit would not be wise to change everything at once (unless the change in question really improves the design of the site).

Here's an example: when Pocket wanted to change the location of some elements, it misled people. The archive button was moved to the top right and the back button to the left. So new users accidentally closed and archived the item they were reading rather than returning to the reading library.

webdesign guide
Photo by Michael Soledad on Unsplash

8. Is the interface easy to learn?

Studies show that the human brain can only store a limited number of things in their short-term memory (between 5 and 9 new things only). To ensure that your site is as easy to navigate as possible, try to make it as simple as possible. How do you do this?

All you have to do is fragment the information. Let's take Microsoft Word as an example. Since it is used by almost everyone, it is certainly easy to use. However, it is not devoid of more advanced functionalities, intended for more experienced users. The design of a web site must then work in the same way.

Home pages are usually divided into several parts. There are short texts that present a product or service, followed by a link that leads to another page. This page in turn contains more explanations on the subject. However, avoid using terms like "learn more". Nothing tells users what they will learn on the other pages, specifically. Instead, write a more specific and explicit word.

9. Is decision making simple enough?

If your visitors are faced with a large number of choices:

  • Subscribe to newsletters
  • Download an ebook
  • Press on a particular widget
  • etc.

They may take a long time to decide.

So I advise you to reduce the list of choices to a minimum. This increases your chances of converting a visitor into a customer. You give them only one choice, only one call to action.

10. Have you taken into account all the necessary data?

I talked to you about analysis at the beginning of this webdesign guide, but these are only post-creation analyses. The data I'm talking about in this tenth and last step is different: it's data collected after the site's creation.

All this, to tell you that the analyses must be done regularly, even once the site is launched. There are several tools that can help you, Google Analytics being one of the most efficient in this field. It is rather behavioral, that is to say that it evaluates the time of the users' sessions, the sources of traffic...

Based on this data, there will be no end to the improvement of the site :)

webdesign guide
Photo by Rich Tervet on Unsplash


Creating a webdesign is not as simple as you think. In addition to creativity, all webdesigners also need to respect these steps that I just explained in this webdesign guide: 10 questions to ask.

  1. Who are your targets?
  2. How do people use your site?
  3. Web design guide: everything they do has consequences
  4. What mistakes are they likely to make?
  5. Does the site emit signals?
  6. Web design guide: what size and spacing for each element?
  7. Do you know the standards?
  8. Is the interface easy to learn?
  9. Is decision-making simple enough?
  10. Have you taken into account all the necessary data?
Come back to this page whenever you want. Did you find any ideas that I forgot? If so, what are they? Leave a comment below or send an email to hello@happydesk.be
Kevin Palombo, Manager of Happydesk
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