Principles of Good Web Design

In this age of shiny objects and distractions, good design matters. More than ever. You have to cut through all of the noise to be noticed. This is particularly the case online. There, for sure, you will be up against other firms who are offering the same products and services as you. So, you need your website to be well designed. If it is not, people will just click away and buy elsewhere.

That is why you have to ask yourself, What makes for a good website design? Creating an effective and good-looking website requires several elements to be in place and aligned. In layman’s terms, a well-designed website:

  • Is attractive
  • Has a clean layout
  • Looks modern and relevant to its intended audience
  • Makes it easy to browse through the different pages

But, as you will see, sound website design is about much more than just how nice a website looks. Here at Brain Box Labs, we are all about good web design, but also know what to do to take things to the next level. To produce a site that ranks, provides visitors with what they need and converts them into buyers. Read on to find out a bit more about how we do this.

The Experience Delivered by Good Web Design to Users

Your primary aim is to make a good first impression and provide visitors with what they need. To do that your site has to be designed to be:

  • Effective A good website design ensures that your site fulfils the function it is being built to achieve. For example, if it is an E-Commerce site it will tempt visitors to buy your products and make it easy for them to do so.
  • Efficient A good web design achieves its objective without wasting resources. Users can quickly navigate to the page they need and complete their tasks. It is also built in a way that means a business owner has not got to spend much time or money maintaining it.
  • Engaging A good web design attracts visitors and encourages them to stay, explore and buy more. It helps businesses to grow a relationship with their existing and future clients.
  • Easy to Navigate You do not want your visitors to get lost. When that happens they soon get frustrated and leave. A site that has been designed to be well-organized will help to ensure that does not happen.
  • Flawless If your website is full of errors, dead-end pages or content that is out of date or inaccurate you will make a poor impression. People will not have the confidence to buy from you. Your site needs to be error-free.

Principles of Good Web Design

All of the above can only be achieved when you use the following sound web design principles:

Responsive Design

Your site needs to display properly on any size screen. Using a responsive design ensures that your website looks good and is easy to use whether visitors are using a computer, laptop, or smartphone screen. Regardless, of the size or resolution. This is achieved by ensuring that:

  • The site is coded to pick up on the screen size and every page automatically resizes
  • Images are optimized for mobile viewing
  • Buttons are still visible and easily clickable even on small screens

Tip: Choose a text size and font that displays well on any device

Intuitive Navigation

People need to be able to achieve the objective they came to your site for. Making your site as easy to navigate as possible is a big part of ensuring that is what happens. To do this your design needs to include:

  • A home page that provides a menu that’s not only complete but easy to understand, which means minimizing the use of jargon
  • Ways to easily navigate between pages
  • Helpful navigation links and buttons that are easy to locate
  • Tip: Too many clicks can ruin the overall user experience, it is usually better to have a website that’s scroll-friendly rather than click-friendly
  • A Simple and Clear User Interface (UI)

The simpler you make things the easier it will be for people to use your site. A crisp, clear design that focuses on the tasks people want to achieve will always do better than a cluttered, over-fussy one.

Tip: Some UI designs work better for certain users than others. So, it is important to know who your target market is. Understand whether they are there to buy, seeking information or looking to share your site via social media, then provide them with an easy way to achieve that objective.

For more on the importance of simplicity in web design, check out our recent web design trends guide.

Consistency in Graphics and Themes

Branding is essential for any business. Any website designer will work to make sure that your site fits in with your brand and is attractive.

To achieve this, they will ensure that the colours or colour combinations used are easy on the eyes. This goes for all graphic elements including your images, buttons, and banners.

Consistency matters more than many people realize. Every page needs to use the same style points. The colour, font type and size should all be carefully chosen.

Tip: For pages with lots of text, avoid having too many splashes of colour. Simple layouts make reading much easier.

Optimum Performance

Your site needs to be fast. All images need to be optimized and render quickly.

Tip: Avoid using too many images. Even if optimized, too many images will slow down loading times.

Be Courteous to Your Visitors

When it comes to popups, alerts, and dialogs you need to be polite. You would not shout in a customer's face if they walked into your business premises or repeatedly bug them while they were browsing. So, don't do it online. Too many alerts and dialogs will spoil a user’s overall experience.

Tip: If you have to show an alert or dialog, make sure it’s not unnecessarily repetitive or too tech-sounding


Providing helpful information will also improve the user's experience. For example, if you have an E-commerce site let people know if you are out of stock of a product.

Tip: Simple progress indicators or success/failure notifications go a long way in providing helpful real-time feedback for users

No Dead Ends

People get frustrated if they click on a link and get faced with a 404 or 500 error because the page does not exist. A newly designed website should not have this issue.

Tip: It’s always a good idea to prepare a fun or even humorous 404/500 error page, just in case

If you want to hire a web designer, always go for one that fully understands the principles of good web design. Call Brain Box Labs today, and we’ll be happy to talk to you about good web design practices.

Contact Brain Box Labs and Learn More About Good Web Design

Reach us through email or phone

You can also visit our Toronto office

For convenience, use our online contact form


“Never forget that you can adopt sound SEO practices even in the web design stage. Simple SEO techniques at the onset will pay off later.”

Ask us

Frequently Asked Questions

An intuitive interface ensures that a user automatically knows what to do next. They do not need instructions or help videos to navigate the site or use its embedded tools.

Typography is an important component of good web design. When someone finds an aesthetically pleasing site that is easy to navigate they are far more likely to stay and buy. Using the right fonts, colours, sizing and layout all play a big role in how attractive a site is for users.

Visual hierarchy in website design is primarily used to encourage visitors to take action in the way you would like them to. Using the way things are formatted and laid out it is possible to influence them in certain ways. To get them to notice certain things that are likely to trigger them to buy or hire you.