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The basics of layout in your website design
November 30 , 2023 Posted by admin
Having a great website layout is like a puzzle: it’s at its finest when it operates without a glitch in the background. In other words, when the website designer has fulfilled their role skillfully, users can quickly locate product specifications, the shopping cart, and promotional offers. Most crucially, the purchase button without conscious effort. After all, the more time visitors spend navigating a website, the less they focus on its actual content.
Website layout design is all about the delicate balance between aesthetics and functionality. While a visually appealing appearance is undoubtedly essential, its utmost role is to deliver well what users seek. Users have limited tolerance for complex web pages — this is why the highest bounce rates occur within the initial ten seconds of a site visit. Indeed, a well-structured website won’t always retain a visitor (mainly if the content falls short), but it should never be the reason behind their exit.
Our affordable custom web design experts compiled this comprehensive guide to the fundamental principles of website layout design to ensure your website captivates visitors and prevents them from bouncing away. We will outline the core objectives of effective design, explain the essential techniques for crafting a good website layout, and explore the dominant website layout types.
Website layout goal
As it sounds simple, a website layout has a singular purpose: to support the website’s objectives, whether those involve conversion, brand awareness, entertainment, or other aims. A website’s goals are expressed in its content, while the layout design defines how to convey that content effectively. Thus, here are several standard functions that a website layout can fulfill:
Information Display: A practical website layout adeptly arranges information, ensuring it follows a logical sequence, remains easily scannable, highlights key elements, and provides intuitive access to user tools.
User Engagement: A capable website layout has the ability to attract the user visually; you can skillfully direct their attention to points of interest and motivate them to explore further within the site.
Branding: A well-structured website layout also contributes to branding efforts via spacing, alignment, and scale in a proper manner and must be consistent with the company’s brand identity.
These overarching objectives underpin the essence of website layout design. Before delving into specific website layouts, exploring the finer details of realizing these goals is imperative.
Website layout design procedure
It’s crucial to begin with website layout planning in the early stages of website creation. This should come after establishing your website’s strategy before you go into graphic design.
A website’s layout is mapped out through a wireframe, which serves as a skeletal blueprint of the content’s structure. You can differentiate wireframing from the broader concept of web design, which comprises making front-end visuals for the web page. Website layout design is a key aspect of web design, starting with wireframing. The goal is to ensure that the visual design closely aligns with the wireframe layout and strategically places graphic elements over fleeting aesthetic preferences in order.
Now, let’s outline the steps for crafting a practical website layout:
- Begin by identifying all content areas. In wireframes, content is like basic squares and rectangles, regardless of whether it’s an image or a text block. It’s imperative to clearly know the content volume and the rough size or word count of each part in page sections. This knowledge will enable you to arrange these sections correctly.
- Develop a prototypes and series of wireframes. A layout can be as upfront as a hand-drawn sketch, but there are specialized programs (like Whimsical) to streamline this process. Since wireframes have no intricate artwork, you can create several at once. Even if you don’t change your initial concept, you can generate more wireframes to fuel your creativity and offer alternatives. With no distracting graphics, you can concentrate on the user experience and explore different arrangements for maximum insight. Remember you must consider various screen sizes, starting with mobile devices and progressively scaling up.
- Test, gather feedback, and iterate. After generating multiple options, seek feedback from colleagues. But how? You can utilize applications such as Invision and Figma that give interactive prototypes, helping you with button and navigation testing without building an actual webpage. You can even have trial users record their interactions with the prototype, finding possible user experience hurdles. Once you’ve collected feedback, return to step two and make improvements until you achieve perfection.
Although these are the practical steps for designing a website layout, deciding what makes a layout genuine can be challenging, especially for beginners. The following section will explore techniques to guide your design decisions well.
However, before we move forward, you can call us for web design creation or to redesign it with accurate layouts. You can get affordable custom web design services in the US with us.
Fundamental techniques for a practical website layout
Website layout design has a rich history spanning periods, leading to the establishment of various design conventions and principles to guide designers in their craft. These techniques have proven helpful in creating operational web layouts:
With Visual Hierarchy, you can emphasize specific content elements over others (like styling design elements) to create contrast. You can immediately draw attention to significant components such as calls to action tools, headlines, user navigation, and value propositions. Using font choices, alignment, and the strategic use of complementary colors, you can achieve it.
Reading patterns gives you insights into how users typically scan web pages. Since research indicates that about 79% of site visitors skim through content, optimizing layouts for easy scanning is necessary. Designers can strategically place elements along the user’s sight lines, considering common reading patterns: The f pattern for text-heavy content and the Z pattern for image-heavy layouts.
“Above or below the fold”
“Above the fold” is the content visible or noticeable during page loading, and “below the fold” is when users scroll down. In website layout design, it is utmost to position the most key and persuasive content, like the value proposition and call to action (CTA), importantly above the fold. This ensures that users can access this information without extensive scrolling or searching. Typically, this space is around 1000 x 600px on most screens. However, designers can also use the fold creatively so that users can explore more by strategically cutting off intriguing graphics and copy.
Initially, you can see grid systems in print media like newspapers and magazines. It is also widespread in web design due to its ability to bring order and consistency to layouts with abundant content. These grids consist of gutters (empty spaces between columns) and columns (designated content spaces). While grid systems make structure, designers must be careful to avoid monotony. They can utilize these limits to make unique and surprising arrangements within the grid.
White space, often called negative space, is the empty area within a design. It may be easily unnoticed or tempted to be filled with content, but it is a powerful asset in website layout design.
Imagine how a line of text can excellently capture attention on an otherwise empty page related to a cluttered one. Abundant white space emphasizes content and makes the entire composition more reader-friendly. Unlike print media, web pages have no length limitations, which grants designers the freedom to use white space to their advantage.
Website layouts common types
Website layouts rarely start from scratch; it’s generally advised against it. Most contemporary websites adhere to established layout templates, with minor variations across the internet.
While originality remains important in design, websites should be instantly understandable and user-friendly. When users have grown accustomed to specific layout conventions, it’s practical for designers to stick with them. Ultimately, a layout should be functional, and minimizing the time users need to learn a new layout allows them to focus on using the site effectively.
With that in mind, let’s explore some standard website layout styles:
Single Column Layout
The Single Column Layout arranges content serially in a centered column. Many web pages begin with this layout, especially with a mobile-first approach. It is beneficial for landing pages and content feeds, such as those found on social media and blogs, as this design reduces the clutter you see in page elements and allows you to scroll.
Two Column Layout
It is like a split-screen format and is all about content that is side by side. It effectively highlights distinctions between two elements (like looking at different clothing styles, before-and-after service results, or dual pricing options). It also comes with a balanced display of graphics and text, as it subtly guides readers along the Z-pattern reading path.
Put up broad content within a single page, like newspaper or magazine layouts. Grids can maintain order and hierarchy by prioritizing wider column space for essential elements like main content while taking less space for secondary elements like sidebars, navigation menus, or banner ads. It suits diverse purposes, from corporate homepages and media-rich websites to online publications, user dashboards, and e-commerce platforms with numerous categories.
It breaks away from symmetry by arranging elements in varying scales and proximity. Despite its lack of symmetry, this design doesn’t equate to chaos. Balance remains a fundamental principle, achieved through unconventional means, such as pairing a sizeable visual element with smaller ones. You can better focus through size, color, or placement variations. This style is ideal for brands with an unconventional design approach, particularly in the arts, for audiences wanting innovation or highlighting disruptive products.
While originality in design is essential, familiarity with established layout patterns enhances user experience. Designers should select the most suitable layout style to convey the website’s content and purpose effectively.
For a visually appealing website, layout structure plays a major part and gives intuition to the website. However, it is the most recent step to win the user’s attention first; you can allow them to remain with them and explore all the content you are giving.
Now, you can have a place to begin through these basics of website layout design, so you must seek to go above your head and below your feet to bring brilliant experiences for your site guests. And with cutting-edge website layout design, you can do it and ensure you’re at work with professional designers.
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