7 Principles of Good Web Design in 2024

web design

Basic rules for building effective web Design

These principles are grounded in user perception and consistently yield positive results. They ensure that your website is visually appealing, user-friendly, memorable, and boasts high conversion rates.

While there is a prevailing belief among designers that users primarily evaluate a website visually before logically, this notion is only partially accurate. The initial impression is multifaceted, encompassing more than just visual elements.

So let’s look at the website through users’ eyes. What is important to them?

1. Relevant content

This pertains to information and visuals that users consider valuable and essential. Relevant content not only meets but ideally surpasses user expectations, providing exactly what the user has been searching for and what they’ve always wanted to encounter.

Integral to this content is a relevant design that speaks to the audience in their visual and associative language. The comprehension doesn’t stem from the designer’s knowledge of design alone; rather, it arises from the designer’s understanding of people.

web design

The achievement of any project hinges on understanding the client’s business, website objectives, and user goals. This involves gathering, analyzing, and formulating a website strategy. It requires a thorough examination of user groups, creating their profiles, and engaging in iterative testing.

Merely reading the Terms of Reference (TOR) and inspecting competitors’ designs won’t suffice for creating a pertinent design.

Look for a visual language that your audience understands.

Crafting language that resonates with users signals a shared understanding. Identify a style that aligns with the preferences of a specific user group. Select images and visuals that elicit powerful emotions and forge a deep connection. Formulate headlines and copy that demand attention. Implement something distinctive, something that sparks motivation and inspiration.

Collectively, these elements will culminate in making your product stand out as unique and highly desirable.

2. Good visuals

Even the most excellent concepts can be undermined by subpar execution. The caliber of the design is what swiftly shapes the initial impression.

Individuals can instinctively discern between good and bad, beautiful and coherent versus ugly and unbalanced. Poor visual design breeds mistrust and prompts a inclination to seek alternatives. The standard of design directly shapes people’s perception of the company and its product.

Here are the golden rules of visual design:

  • stylistic unity;
  • clear structure;
  • good composition;
  • visual balance;
  • hierarchy of elements;
  • system of primary and secondary accents;
  • harmonious color palette;
  • visual guides;
  • no unnecessary or distracting elements;
  • breathing space;
  • legible fonts;
  • easy-to-understand icons;
  • familiar shapes and locations of elements (e.g. buttons, navigation panel, search bar);
  • high-quality, original images.

All of the above creates a positive visual impression. Follow the golden rules of design.

Good design always matches the type of business and is part of the company’s brand building.

web design

3. Freshness

Web design is characterized by innovation. It captures the spirit of the times and promises a glimpse into the future. If your content isn’t current, you risk losing your users, as nobody wants to dwell in the past. Outdated design leads people to dismiss the content, assuming it’s all obsolete, including the product. Mimicking competitors’ designs is equally detrimental, as people perceive it as unoriginal and unremarkable.

Embrace new tools, contemporary trends, and styles. To maintain relevance, broaden your perspective beyond design. The broader your horizons, the more ideas you generate, empowering you to craft designs that are both unique and enjoyable. Stay young and hungry for new things. Effective websites get timely updates, follow the trends, and look fresh. But don’t scare away your users by breaking the familiar interaction patterns.

web design

4. Meeting expectations

You can attract viewership with nice, fresh visuals — but still fail to meet their expectations.

The user needs quick answers to the following five questions:

  • what is on offer?
  • do I need it?
  • what makes you guys better than others?
  • can you be trusted?
  • how do I get it?

The initial impact of a stunning design, the “wow” effect, dissipates almost as quickly as it emerges. Subsequently, the customer adopts a more practical and discerning mindset, akin to a pragmatic Scrooge. They seek to obtain what they want without investing time in superfluous or irrelevant elements. Meet the users’ expectations and exceed them. The answers to the five questions must underlie the architecture of your website from the planning stage. This will save you time and prevent lots of grief.

web design

Distinguish between website goals and user goals, keeping anything irrelevant to the user behind the scenes.

Avoid creating the impression that the website exists solely for business objectives. Users visit for their own reasons, so eliminate unnecessary obstacles in their path.

When your business aligns with user needs, it receives reciprocation.

Clearly articulate the user’s goal. Merely showing the way is insufficient; leverage every design tool to visualize the goal effectively.

If the goal is intricate or challenging to visualize, explore suitable images, metaphors, or associations. Processes can be demonstrated through videos, animation, or illustrations for easier comprehension. Presenting the user’s goal visually enhances their willingness to interact with the website.

Ensure the path to the goal is straightforward and enjoyable, removing obstacles and unnecessary steps.

5. Usefulness

A effective website and web design is not just visually appealing but inherently useful, and this should be evident at first glance.

Employ every available design and content tool to highlight and underscore its usefulness. Users are unlikely to delve to the bottom of a page to unearth buried benefits. Efficiently manage attention, accentuate important elements, showcase utility, and motivate users from the initial interaction.

Successful and popular websites go beyond their primary offer by providing additional features or valuable bonuses. These may encompass instructional videos, tips, concise news updates, a calendar, a map, a list of helpful links, etc. Incorporating entertainment, such as mini-games, amusing or educational videos, or a section of stories and memes, can enhance user engagement. However, it’s crucial not to overload the page and detract from the primary objectives; everything should be justified and tested.

These elements contribute to the website’s perceived value and attractiveness, fostering user retention. Users feel a sense of care and an intention to enhance their experience, offering a competitive edge in the market.

Emphasize user benefits more than company benefits.

web design

6. Ease of use

A good web design raises no questions. It provides easily accessible answers where the user expects to find them. It offers only those features that are useful and necessary. It has just enough of everything and nothing more.

A simple, intuitive interface has:

  • predictable navigation
  • an organized structure
  • only necessary and useful features
  • the simplest possible fill-out forms
  • an easily understandable goal path

The best guiding principle in design is Quality Over Quantity. Functionality must be tested multiple times, especially if the project has advanced options that the user will have to learn.

web design

7. Typography

Designers tend to see fonts and text merely as web design elements. They don’t care about the copy. But users perceive written content differently! To them, the copy is as important as the images, if not more so.

A designer who fails to understand the content and doesn’t understand the users’ needs can easily botch the presentation of the copy. Typical mistakes include concealing important passages to make the text block more compact, highlighting irrelevant stuff, using illegible off-white fonts, and so on.

web design

The key principles of good typography are:

  • clear hierarchy;
  • contrast;
  • appropriate character height (see Size Calculator);
  • matching proportions (spaces between characters and words, line height);
  • simple typeface for main copy;
  • limited line length (max 60 characters for desktop & 45 characters for mobile screen);
  • no more than 2 typefaces per website (max 3);
  • left justification (don’t overuse center justification). 

Make your copy enjoyable to read. Choose fonts appropriate to the website concept, the overall design style, the tastes and views of the audience. And don’t forget to test everything!


Good web design centers on user needs, clarity, and relevance. The first impression matters, emphasizing intuitive navigation and immediate communication. Balancing simplicity and utility, continuous testing, and adapting to trends contribute to a successful website that resonates, engages, and satisfies users.

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