Web Design Principles that Your Site Can't Do Without

Creating a winning website isn’t as easy as it may seem. There’s a lot of different elements that go into making or breaking your website’s success. By simply incorporating our 5 web design principles, your website will get an automatic leg up on your competitors.

Oliver Wood

Creating a winning website isn’t as easy as it may seem. There’s a lot of different elements that go into making or breaking your website’s success. By simply incorporating our 5 web design principles, your website will get an automatic leg up on your competitors.

The best part about these design principles is that you don’t have to be a savvy web designer to do them. Web design is, to a large extent, an artistic process that allows you to flex your creative muscles. Most successful websites embrace these artistic elements into their design to create beautiful and effective platforms.

The reason that an artistic flair is advantageous to your website is due to the rules that are put in place. In art, you’re taught to follow the “Rule of Thirds” and to explore what it means to use complementary colours. Well, as your website is a visual platform, these same rules apply. In the era of choices on choices on choices, strategically following these principles will put customers right in the palm of your hand!


Our 5 Web Design Principles:

1. Keep it Simple

Before we dive into the more intricate details of web design, let’s establish the foundation for your creativity - simplicity. Simplicity is your secret weapon.

More often than not, we see website bombarding users with information and eye-catching graphics. While this might be appealing aesthetically, it detracts users from the purpose of your website. Then what happens? You quickly lose a potential customer because they weren’t able to find what they wanted instantly.

Your website’s appearance shouldn’t have to make your audience think. Your potential customer makes purchasing decisions hard and fast so it’s imperative that you’re giving them what they need within those first few seconds.

When it comes to usability, your web-page should be self-explanatory and easy to navigate. The goal is to minimise any doubt or questions marks that the user may have to make their purchasing decision. If your website is clearly laid out with an intuitive design and strategic visual prompts, the risk of the looming question mark is removed. They have exactly what they need right in front of them.

Trust us - simplicity is essential to good web design.

2. Remember the Rule of AIDA

If you have a marketing or advertising background, you may have heard of “AIDA” before. For those who have not or for those who need a reminder, let’s break it down.

The “AIDA” formula is a marketing tactic to help focus your audience and encourage them to take action. “AIDA”, an acronym for attention, interest, desire, and action, is a great strategy to include when designing your webpage for its natural effectiveness. If your website’s purpose is to help you sell more, you may want to look at incorporating it into your web design.

The first step in “AIDA” is attention. It’s the most important step in your design process as the remaining 3 steps rely on its success. Consider using eye-catching graphics, sliders, or animations to help draw your users’ attention.

Once you’ve got their attention, you can then focus on sparking interest and desire. The goal is to shift back the focus on the user’s needs and wants. If you’ve gotten their attention, there’s clearly an element that spoke to them. The best way to instil interest and desire is by quickly and clearly providing them with the advantages they will get from your product or service.


We’d recommend using:

  • Lists
  • Steps
  • Bullet points
  • Attractive icons
  • Highlighted words in chunks of information
From there, it’s all about coaxing the user into taking action. For your website, the most effective method would be by including a relevant call-to-action button.

“AIDA” is all about how you communicate with your audience and how you can make your product or service resonate with their needs. Strategic communication is key!

3. Design with the Rules in Mind

As we mentioned, web design has its own set of rules that some creatives may recognise. Like any good photo or portrait, there is an extreme focus on symmetry and balance. Your website is a piece of art and should be treated like one too!

So, what are the rules? The main design guidelines you should focus on are the Rule of Thirds and the Golden Ratio. Both of these formulas encourage symmetrical visual proportions that are appealing to the eye and therefore, your user too.

The Rule of Thirds requires an image to be divided into 9 equal sections, like the grid you have on an iPhone’s camera. The trick is to have the main compositional elements placed in these lines and intersections. These points will help create more tension in your imagery and centre the image’s focus.

The Golden Ratio, on the other hand, may be a mathematical equation but it has everything to do with your website’s aesthetic. According to Live Science, the brain is hardwired to favour images that are balanced and well-proportioned which is exactly what this equation is about.

The Golden Ratio uses almost a shell-like design to determine the appropriate placements of elements to ensure a well-proporitonised object. Just like the image below.


Do you see how the shell-like swoop creates a balanced focus in the frame? That’s what you should look for in your website’s design.

4. White Space is Your Friend

Tying back into the importance of simplicity, don’t be afraid to incorporate white space into your website design. Using white space is great to help make other elements stand out and give the user some room to appreciate the main content. It helps remove any noise or distractions from your website while elevating it to a sophisticated level.

5. Test Often

Lastly, test often and as early as you can. Frequent testing will ensure that any minor or major bugs are picked up and quickly dealt with. The sooner you fix any website issues, the sooner you will stop your website from limiting your success.


These web design principles may take some time cracking but once you do, your website will never have looked better!