A guide on how web design works

Website Design

Web design can be confusing to newcomers, but it’s actually pretty simple once you get to know the basics. This guide will walk you through the web design terms and what they mean, and also through the most important elements when building a website.

What makes a good website?

According to Nielsen Norman Group, a good website is a website that people want to use. The website should accomplish what it was designed for and do so in a way that makes sense to users. The site also has to be easy to navigate, with intuitive navigation. When users don't understand where they are or how they got there, when hyperlinks don't work correctly, when things aren't placed where users expect them to be, when text is too small or too large for readability... these are all examples of failures of user experience design. They're not necessarily bad designs; they're just bad experiences because they fall short of meeting user expectations. So if you want your website to help you accomplish something - whether that's selling products or sharing information - usability is key!

What does an UI designer do?

A UI designer is an integral part of product development, and their main goal is to make sure that every product has a user-friendly interface. UI designers use a variety of tools to make sure that each piece—the layout, text, images, and so on—is placed in exactly the right spot. Web designers do not work in isolation; they work with UX researchers and developers to create products that are easy to use. They also have a lot of responsibilities outside of coding: They're focused on maintaining an engaging visual style for their product's identity and tone of voice. In short, UI designers ensure that all elements--including fonts, colors and sizes--fit into an overall vision for an effective user experience.

What are UX designers responsible for?

UX designers are responsible for creating a user experience, which includes every single interaction users have with your brand, product or service. UX designers are also known as UXD or simply UX. The role of a UX designer is to make products that people actually want to use by defining everything from customer journey maps and user stories to wireframes and information architecture. A good way to think about it is like buying a house: you can have an amazing view, but it doesn’t matter if your house is falling apart and has no heat in January—you’re not going to enjoy your time there.

How do developers code websites?

All computer code is written in a programming language, and each type of programming language has a unique syntax. You need to know that syntax to write code. However, every line of code needs to be translated into something known as binary before it can work properly. Coding a website is basically just translating code from one human-readable format (the programming language) into another (binary). From there, developers can compile that binary into something humans can read again: HTML pages or other content for websites. They also typically use their coding skills to make some basic changes to their site's theme using CSS or modify how it functions using JavaScript or PHP. Those languages aren't technically coding languages, but they do require you understand basic coding concepts in order to learn them.

Why copywriting is important to web design

The professional copywriter understands that website copy is more than just words, it’s a conversation with visitors. If you can learn to speak to your visitors in their language and make them feel like you’re chatting with them, they will keep coming back for more. Copywriting is perhaps one of the most important elements of web design because it provides an opportunity to connect with people who are searching for your business online. If you get your copywriting right, then web design simply becomes about delivering good products and services that serve your customers' needs; if you get it wrong, then no matter how beautiful your site looks, users will leave before they have time to notice.

Use the principles of design to guide your web design process

Every good web designer should have an understanding of the principles of design. These include layout, form, color, texture, space and typography. Paying attention to these things makes for a more user-friendly website. Use them to guide your process and you’ll avoid the design disasters so common today. Color: Color adds life to any web page or app and shows your audience you care about their experience as well as your brand’s identity. It’s easy to get carried away with bright colors (and we often do) but when designing a site or app keep in mind that it must be easy to read AND visually pleasing at the same time.

We've covered the subject in more detail in this article.

How much does it cost to have a website built?

It all depends on a number of factors, such as budget, function and features desired. Web design pricing can start as low as £2000 but can easily cost much more than that. The cost will depend largely on whether you’re starting from scratch or if you have an existing website which needs to be converted over to a new platform, it will also depend upon your expectations for functionality. The other thing to consider is that it isn’t uncommon for freelancers and small agencies to build websites with little concern for a quality user experience—or even consistency across devices.

More on this in this article.

Who can I hire to build my website?

In many cases, you can find freelance designers who will create a website for a relatively low price. However, it’s important to note that they may not have as much experience or expertise as more established companies. One of your best bets is to hire an agency that has experience with creating websites of all sizes and types, not just smaller ones like some freelancers do. When hiring a company to build your website, make sure to clarify exactly what you want. For example, if search engine optimization (SEO) is important to you, ask whether your prospective agency knows how to optimize content for SEO. If load times are important, ask about site speed performance testing tools and whether they use them in their workflow.


Once you have built a solid foundation for your website and understand what makes it tick, you can start to refine it and make it your own. Websites aren’t static; they’re always changing. Set aside some time every now and then to rethink everything—the colors, layouts, fonts, and other elements that people see on your site. At any point in time there may be new technologies or trends emerging online, so keep up with them by being aware of changes that could affect how users interact with your site. Your ideas are creative and innovative; let them flow freely!

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