Basic Design Principles

Objectives and Overview

Design is such an important part of the world all around us. You encounter design on your cereal box in the morning, on your phone all day long, and on every sign and billboard, you encounter as you walk down the street.

Good design is crucial to building a successful website. Knowing that people are, on average, only on your site for 30 seconds before they decide to move on means you have to communicate quickly and effectively to keep their attention.

Lesson Objectives

  • Recognize the importance of good design in a website
  • Identify how to make decisions that are informed by content needs

Content Driven Decisions

Throughout the entire design and development process, you should always be asking whether each decision you make is a result of a specific need. Part of this evaluation process stems from wireframing and incorporating things that contribute to the purpose of the client. The connection between design and content is one that should be natural. Remember, the primary purpose of creating the website is to communicate with an audience. The design decisions that you make should enhance the communication process. You’d want to avoid making design decisions that detract from this general purpose.

Activity: Bad Design vs. Good Design

Actively practice spotting and analyzing good and bad design in these next two activities.

Bad Design

  • Read this article: 10 Principles of Effective Web Design
  • Read through these 10 principles: Principles of Design
  • Find 3 websites that demonstrate principles of “bad design”.
  • Create a new post titled “Examples of Bad Design” and share your 3 examples of bad design. Make sure to include explanations and offer suggestions for improvement!
  • Publish your post.

Good Design

  • Find 3 websites with “good design”
  • Create a new post titled “Examples of Good Design” and share your 3 examples of good design. Include explanations and justifications for why each page demonstrates good design practices.
  • Publish your post.

The purpose of these activities is to help you develop an eye for spotting design principles as they’re used in real-world, practical applications. One of the most effective ways to develop an eye for design is to actively engage in analyzing and spotting trends and features in published websites.