What is Web Design? – The Ultimate Guide
In this guide, you will learn what is web design.
Everyone has asked this question in one form or another. Across multiple forums and websites, people have sought out the answer to the question of what is web design.
If you are having an issue finding an exact answer to this question well you have come to the right place.
We will go over many different things in this complete ultimate guide.
No matter where you come from or what web design builder you are currently using to design websites. We don’t judge here and we will walk through everything and anything about web design.
Our goal is to give you facts, information, definitions, and help you understand what web design is and what it is all about. We will go through basic information.
When we talk ultimate guide, we mean everything about web design.
Have fun and let’s dive right in.
**Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.**
What you will learn in this guide
We know that not all web designers are top leading website designers in the world but we believe that we can have that change in the world and teach web designers the basics to the advanced tips about web design
You can click each link below and transport to the different sections.
(Or you can just scroll down and start from the beginning.)
Table of Contents
- Getting Started // What is Web Design?
- History of Web Design
- Web design elements
- Web design principles
- Web design software and builders
- How to learn web design
What is web design?
Web design is many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites.
Now there are different areas of web design that include web graphic design, user interface design (UI design), authoring, including the standardized code and proprietary software, user experience design (UX design), and search engine optimization also known as SEO.
In most cases, you will have a company or agency that will hire individuals to cover each aspect of the different areas, but there will be some designers that will cover them all themselves.
The term “web design” is often used to describe the design process that is related to the front-end design or referred to as the client-side of a website including the writing markup.
Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability, but if their role involves creating markup then they would be expected to be up to date on web accessibility guidelines.
The History of Web Design
Even though web design has a more fairly recent history it can be linked to other areas such as graphic design, user experience, and multimedia arts, but is more often seen from a technological standpoint.
The internet really has become a huge decent part of everyone’s everyday life. It can be hard to initially imagine the internet without animated graphics, different styles of typography, background, videos, and music.
The Start of the web and web design
Back in 1989, a gentleman named Tim Berners-Lee proposed to create a global hypertext project, which later on became known as the world wide web. During the years 1991 and 1993, the World Wide Web was born.
It grew and grew over the years into what you see today with all the web builders like Wix.com, Weebly, Squarespace, WordPress, Webflow, and many more.
Top 6 Basic Web Design Elements
- Mobile-Friendly Layout
In web design, the mobile-friendly layout element is very important in today’s world.
Over 50% of users are currently using their mobile devices to view and read this article and every other article on the internet.
They may even be browsing Facebook or Instagram feeds to catch up on the lives of their friends and family.
Primarily, a mobile-friendly layout refers to the responsiveness of a website design.
Now when we talk about responsiveness we are talking about how the website in a way adapts to the different screen sizes and scales the content within to fit accordingly to that particular screen size.
- Clean and Bold Typography
More modern web designs must feature a few things like clean, safe, and bold typography.
Clean typography can include the things below:
- The right sized text for the screen which is usually larger than 16px
- Web standard fonts
- The right amount of space between each and every line of text to present fast reading for the users.
- Color Scheme
Your color palette and fonts will directly inform your visitor’s opinions of your website and are what most novice designers start with. When choosing a color scheme, you have to pay attention to the business brand colors and perspectives of what their brand looks like.
Lawyers and accountants, just as an example, more often would typically be done with a deep blue or green to signal professionalism, whereas a photographer may want to rely on a black and white feel to really showcase a vibrant feel of the images.
You just have to remember that web design isn’t fully about the client you are building for is for the customers that they will be serving.
Your website’s navigation is not a space in which to be creative so don’t fall into the trap of overly animated and complex effects for hover, and multi-tiered subnavs.
Navigation elements that can exist just about anywhere on a web page are there to simply serve as a directional tool to your visitors to lead them to the information that they are looking for as quickly as possible.
Navigation on a website must be clear and concise. It is about how easy it is for a visitor to access the information on your website.
Just like an interior designer, they don’t just stop once the walls have been painted, you don’t stop once you’ve got the layout, color scheme, typefaces, and pretty elements of your choice picked out.
It’s now time to bring in the sofa and hang all the family pictures on the wall – for you to start paying attention to how your message interacts with the design.
Web design content is important because you need to show your visitors that your brand is trustworthy. Do you have valuable content to present to them? You have to think about content as a strategy.
It’s called content strategy.
- Overall Web Design Layout and Visual Appearance
A crucial component of web design is the layout and visual appearance of the website.
When a visitor clicks on your website, the very first thing they see is the layout and appearance above the fold on your website.
Are your header and images aligned correctly and together? Is the text on the web page in a readable text size font for the user to see and read easily?
All of this is taken into account to make sure the user and visitor have a pleasant experience on your website.
Web Design Principles
- Use readable and web-friendly fonts
Typography’s importance in web design cannot be overstated. Choosing the correct fonts reflects your brand’s personality and captures your audience’s attention right away. It’s not just about looking well, though.
In addition, the typefaces you pick in your site design must be useful and readable. After all, if the user has to squint just to view your text, they’ll find it difficult to engage with it.
Web-friendly fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Courier New. This means they’re readable at any size and may be used on both mobile and desktop.
In this website design for writer and designer Matt Steel, typography takes center stage. He’s used a versatile serif font that looks good whether it’s small and light or big and aggressive.
- Utilize the F pattern
Humans are creatures of habit, and our behavior when it comes to content consumption is no exception. According to a Nielsen Norman Group eye-tracking study, the majority of us scan information on a website in an F-shaped manner.
This means we scan down the left side of the page for any numerals, bullet points, or sidebars, then back across the page for any bolded text or sub-headings.
The use of an ‘F’ pattern in web design entails mirroring the eye’s natural path in order to avoid disrupting the visual flow.
This is especially crucial on landing and sales pages, where the end goal is conversion.
On BigCommerce’s site, you can see this in action. They’ve cleverly designed an F-shaped layout to encourage users to do the required action—in this example, taking the product tour.
The attention is drawn to the header (assisted by the bold typeface and colorfulunderline), then across to the diagram demonstrating how their product works, before returning to the extra information and call-to-action.
- Purpose sets the foundation
The messaging and calls to action (CTAs) on a website are critical to achieving its objectives. The goal of a website might be as basic as encouraging sales, explaining a company’s story, or offering tutorials. In a line or two, you should be able to express the purpose of your website – think mission statement.
It’s not a good idea to build up a web design as you go along. A defined purpose can help you plan your design and content creation. It’s not a good design philosophy to wing it.
Knowing who your site is for is a big part of figuring out what it’s for — who is your target audience, what information do they need, and how will your site offer it? Knowing your audience’s demographics and pain issues will help you steer your website in the proper path.
There are the broad goals of a design and the details of a marketing strategy to outperform the competition. What graphics and material will you use to strengthen and differentiate your brand? And how can your site outperform your competition in terms of value? It is critical to developing a brand and an audience.
- Avoid Big Chunks of Text
A new website visitor only has one chance to make a good first impression.
This is why it’s critical to make your brand’s offering apparent to your target audience right away. While your copywriting (written content) plays a factor in this, the design of your website is as crucial.
As a result, employing large blocks of text on your website is a no-no, especially on the homepage. It might not only dilute your brand message, but it can also make your website appear busy and unorganized.
- Visuals keep people engaged
A brand’s identity should be reflected and communicated through every design aspect. Photos, pictures, and other visuals are used to break up the web page and balance out the text, providing the eyes a break from reading.
A dynamic hero image creates a positive first impression. People are kept moving by animated transitions and scroll-triggered effects, which transform navigating from a thoughtless requirement to an interactive experience. Visuals should contribute energy to a design rather than just taking up space, regardless of a brand’s style. Software firms, food trucks, and accountants can all be innovative with their website visuals while remaining on-brand.
Use clear, color-balanced photos and graphics of proper size and resolution to make your visuals high-quality and appealing. A superb design can be ruined by poor graphics.
- Content Gives Meaning
Useful, straightforward content directs your viewers toward the activities you want them to do. SEO should be planned ahead of time and incorporated into the content. With a conversational tone and keywords and phrases that don’t distract from your message, SEO may be done deliberately and tastefully.
Adopting a content-first strategy involves working with real material from the start of the design process, and defining your site’s purpose helps define the content you require. Instead of drowning in tweaks and overhauls at the end, real content makes it easier to spot changes that need to be made along the route.
- Use Symmetry
While more abstract, asymmetrical designs have their place, symmetry is always a safe bet. It’s a simple technique to make your website design look more balanced, clean, and professional right away. It refers to when two sides of a whole completely mirror each other.
- Design for Both Web and Mobile
If you only follow one rule for website design, make it this one! Smartphones aren’t going away any time soon—in fact, they’re becoming the most popular way to consume content.
This is why designing for both desktop and mobile is so important. This involves making sure your headers and paragraphs are readable on both platforms, that no photos or other visual components are chopped off, and that your buttons are easy to utilize on a small screen. It also entails ensuring that your website loads swiftly on both mobile and desktop platforms.
When it comes to mobile optimization, alternative layouts from desktops are occasionally required. In the mobile-friendly version of the preceding example, you can see this in action. They particularly employed a full-screen image and a grid design to improve the mobile experience. This demonstrates why it’s critical to treat mobile and web design as two distinct entities.
Embracing these design principles does not imply that you are a rule follower. It just ensures that you have a solid foundation in place, allowing you to take chances and explore where it matters.
Web Design Software and Builders
If you’re new to web design, you’ll probably want to discover which software is worth your money. You might also be interested in learning about the essential skills that every web designer should possess.
The functionality and purpose of an excellent web design tool are the most important factors to consider. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Also, depending on your goal, you may need to employ many design software to create the best-looking website.
We recommend trying out a few different types of web development tools to see which one best meets your needs.
We’ve compiled a list of the 15 greatest web design software tools for designing websites, graphic design, interface design, and prototyping to assist you in finding what you’re searching for.
We’ve found that WordPress provides the ideal combination of flexibility, power, and ease-of-use for building and launching content-based websites based on our experience building hundreds of them.
And it appears that the internet concurs with us! WordPress is used by over 35% of all websites. WordPress is used to run a wide range of websites, including blogs, e-commerce businesses, communities, and more.
There are two ways to get started with WordPress:
- Create a WordPress site that is self-hosted (WordPress.org)
- Create an account with WordPress.com for free.
WordPress.com is a good option if you only need to host a tiny personal website. A self-hosted WordPress site, on the other hand, is generally a better alternative if you’re starting a more sophisticated project.
PC Designs does web hosting so you can send us a message about web hosting for your website.
If you’re already using WordPress and need assistance with developing a theme or tweaking WordPress pages, we recommend checking out the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes.
Bootstrap is the world’s most popular framework for developing responsive, mobile-first websites. It was built by the engineering team at Twitter.
Headers, navigation, buttons, forms, alarms, and more are all included in the component library. Each functionality has been thoroughly described by the Bootstrap developers, including examples and recommendations for customization.
Simply download the most recent version of the Bootstrap framework, copy one of the example templates, and get started coding.
Wix is a low-cost, easy-to-use alternative to WordPress.
Wix, like WordPress, can be used to develop a wide range of sites, including blogs and online storefronts. Wix’s drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to set up and create a website in a matter of minutes.
Wix is a fully-managed subscription service, which means the firm handles all aspects of the site’s hosting, backup, and security.
Wix provides a free, ad-supported plan with access to hundreds of templates and choices. Paid options begin at $14 a month and include ad removal, increased bandwidth, and more video storage space.
Adobe’s Dreamweaver program is used to code, update, and maintain websites. It allows you to edit web pages both manually and using a user-friendly visual interface.
Many of the capabilities of a standard text-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) are included in Dreamweaver, such as syntax highlighting, automatic code completion, and the ability to collapse and expand code sections. With Bootstrap, you can even utilize Dreamweaver!
However, unlike a standard IDE, Dreamweaver’s visual interface is what sets it apart. Any changes you make to your website’s code are displayed in real-time in Dreamweaver’s interface, and you can also modify your website’s code visually by pointing and clicking.
Dreamweaver is a good alternative if you want more capability than a simple drag-and-drop editor but don’t need a code-only IDE.
For $20.99 per month, you can subscribe to Dreamweaver alone, or for $52.99 per month, you can subscribe to Adobe’s entire Creative Suite. Both alternatives come with 7-day free trials from Adobe, and student discounts are frequently available.
Squarespace is a good third-party website builder that competes with Wix and WordPress.
Squarespace, like Wix, has a simple drag-and-drop interface for building your website. Squarespace also provides many of the features you’d anticipate, such as SSL encryption and the option to create an online store, as well as a large number of various themes and color customizations.
The personal account at Squarespace costs $14 per month and includes 20 pages and two contributors. The business plan, which costs $23 per month, removes these restrictions.
Figma is one of the most powerful tools on this list, despite being one of the newest. Figma can be the right option for you if you’re seeking a feature-rich solution for interface design and prototyping.
Figma, like Sketch, the next tool on this list, has a straightforward, vector-based interface that makes website design a breeze. You can accomplish anything you do with Sketch or Adobe XD with Figma.
Figma’s collaborative, cloud-based approach, on the other hand, is what sets it apart. Multiple team members can modify a design file at the same time with Figma. Developers can copy code snippets to simplify the process of turning your concept into an actual site, and business stakeholders can give comments.
Figma is a free plan that allows you to work on up to three projects. Paid plans begin at $12 per month and include features such as configurable user permissions.
Sketch is a popular interface design tool that focuses on making the process of creating beautiful, high-fidelity mockups as simple as possible. Sketch rose to prominence in the early 2010s after winning an Apple design prize.
Designers prefer Sketch because it has a simple and intuitive UI that allows them to swiftly create great ideas without the high learning curve that other design tools have. Sketch also features a robust ecosystem of plugins and connectors that give it even more power and make integrating it into your workflow a breeze.
While Sketch has lately incorporated additional prototype and collaboration features, it isn’t as advanced as some of the other tools on this list in these areas.
Sketch is a macOS app that charges $9 per editor per month (or $99 per editor per year). A 30-day trial is included with Sketch.
Adobe released XD in 2019 as a response to the other tools on this list after being knocked out by simpler tools that were more suited to interface design and prototyping.
XD is a sophisticated vector-based program that also allows for animation prototyping. If you like Adobe’s other programs, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, you’ll probably enjoy XD as well.
It also allows users to open and edit Sketch files, making it a popular alternative for Windows users who need to interact with other Sketch users. However, many pros prefer alternative tools on this list, and novices may find XD’s learning curve a bit high.
InVision began as a cloud-based prototype service that integrated with tools like Sketch and Photoshop, but it also offers Studio, a full-featured interface design, and prototyping tool.
Consider InVision Studio to be a more advanced version of Sketch, with powerful motion animations, collaborative capabilities, and prototyping and sharing options.
InVision Studio is presently available in a free beta version. You can use InVision’s cloud service to share prototypes for free or upgrade to one of its commercial plans, which allows for more collaborators and projects.
Framer X is a rapid prototyping tool that can handle complex animations and automatically generates React component code. Framer’s vector-based interface appears to be quite similar to Sketch at first glance, but there’s a lot more power beneath the hood.
A framer is popular among designers because of its responsive design features, prefabricated components, and support for complex animations. It’s popular among developers since it makes the process of converting a design into production-ready code much easier.
Framer X is a powerful interface capable of generating high-fidelity prototypes with realistic interactions and animations whether you’re already part of the React ecosystem, or if you simply want a powerful interface capable of making high-fidelity prototypes with realistic interactions and animations.
For decades, Adobe Photoshop has been the industry standard for a powerful, all-in-one graphic design tool.
While Photoshop was originally designed solely for photo editing, it has since expanded to accommodate a wide range of applications, including interface design, video editing, and more, all while remaining loyal to its photo-editing roots.
While many designers prefer to work solely in Photoshop because of its versatility, others prefer more specialized software. Because of the huge diversity of tools and settings available in Photoshop, the learning curve is a little steeper than in Adobe’s other applications.
Canva is a terrific alternative if you need a basic tool for designing visuals for social media posts, flyers, or business cards.
Canva’s drag-and-drop interface is popular among users. Marketers and amateurs may create amazing pictures in only a few clicks with thousands of templates and hundreds of design styles.
Canva has a free plan that includes over 8000 templates. Pro subscriptions start at $9.99 a month (for up to five persons) and include advanced features such as the ability to export transparent PNGs and the ability to resize a graphic for multiple use cases with a single click.
Vectr is a cloud-based illustration program that is similar to Sketch and Adobe Illustrator in terms of capabilities.
Vectr has everything you need to get started, whether you want to make intricate graphics or simply develop a website or mobile app.
The drag-and-drop editor in Vectr is simple to use, and because it’s cloud-based, it’s simple to share designs for feedback and collaboration.
Pixelmator is a feature-rich photo editor for macOS that works similarly to Photoshop.
While Pixelmator can be used for artwork or interface design, it is ideally suited for photo editing and retouching, with capabilities such as color correction, retouching, and filter application.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a widely used open-source photo editor for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Don’t be fooled by the interface, which feels a little old. GIMP is a powerful program that can perform virtually all of the tasks that Photoshop can.
While the free price tag is attractive, GIMP isn’t the simplest tool on this list to learn or use on a regular basis. It’s still a good option for designers on a budget who need to edit photographs or create interfaces.
Web Design Tips to learn Web Design
Is it still on your “someday” agenda to study the fundamentals of web design? What’s keeping you from getting started? We’ve compiled a list of 30 suggestions and tools to help you get started learning web design this month (and perhaps even find a new profession!)
Stop delaying whether you’re a graphic designer, a print designer, or a creative who wants to learn something new or break into the internet industry. Every day you don’t take that first step puts you further behind the competition!
You can learn how to build your own website, industry best practices, and much more by following these instructions.
The greatest method to learn web design is to do it yourself.
You don’t need a large website or a crazy design to get started; start modest. Play around with the website and see what makes it tick. (Also, review the coding so you may gain a better understanding of how your website functions.)
Do you want to get started right away? Create your visual sitemap first. Then, as you understand the ideas and building blocks of what goes into a website, a website builder like Wix may help you get a head start with a stylish website design.
- Read Everything You Can
Begin reading. Because you’re reading this blog, you’ve undoubtedly been used to keeping up with what’s going on in the design world. Continue reading.
Read as much as can about website design, trends, strategies, and best practices. On social media, follow designers you admire.
Also, for your website design reading, cast a wide net. Learn the fundamentals of coding, design theory, and current articles by reading tutorials and current articles.
- Be a Powerful Communicator
Brush up on your communication abilities if you aren’t the most articulate person. Communication is an important aspect of website design.
Website designers must engage with clients on a frequent basis to determine what problem the design must solve; they must also communicate and implement solutions.
- Subscribe to Tuts+ & Envato Elements
Consider signing up for Envato Elements, which includes access to the fantastic Tuts+ learning resource.
Tuts+ publishes regular courses on graphic and web design, ranging from the fundamentals to the most cutting-edge techniques and advancements. It’s fully self-paced and taught by industry experts. You’ll also have access to Envato Elements, a fantastic resource for finding graphics, templates, and other elements to use in your web design projects.
- Think in HTML
The hypertext markup language, or HTML, is a fundamental component of website design. HTML is the backbone that aids in the creation of a website’s structure, and once you’ve mastered it, the world of website design will make a lot more sense.
W3Schools has a fantastic HTML starting tutorial with hundreds of HTML examples that you can play around with on the screen to see what occurs and how things operate. (You might find it easier than you anticipated.)
- Try coding at Codeacademy
While HTML is a wonderful place to start, Codeacademy can teach you practically any programming language. The free suite of tools uses interactive exercises and games to teach you how to code.
You can take a Codeacademy course whenever and anywhere you want, and you can start and stop whenever you want. Choose a topic to study – web development, programming, data science – or a language to master – HTML and CSS (a good place to start), Python, Java, SQL, Ruby, and more.
- Figure out what platform you want to use.
When trying to learn web design in most cases you want to figure out what platform you want to start using.
Over 50% of websites now use WordPress as their website.
WordPress allows people to create a website for their business and use it as a blog system for their business as well.
Personally here at PC Designs, we use and design websites using WordPress. WordPress web design makes it easy for us to do website design for clients and set up a blog for them as well.
WordPress is easy to be SEO optimized and it is open source which allows us to make big changes to how we as a company do web design.
- Learning Html and CSS
Learning a little HTML and CSS for your web design is always great because with WordPress you can some CSS code to the WordPress website and it changes the whole aspect of the way the website looks and feels.
- Apply Your Design Skills To the Web
If you already work in the creative or graphic design industry, consider what you already know and how it may be applied to website design. The ideas that make something aesthetically appealing remain the same regardless of medium, and all of that design theory will be useful in the digital realm as well.
Learning programming, for example, may not feel natural, but having a design background is a great plus. What good is a well-designed website if nobody wants to connect with it?
- Draw a Wireframe
A web designer’s brainstorming is known as wireframing.
A wireframe is a drawing of what the website will look like in its most basic form. It’s more of a website blueprint than an overview of aesthetic aspects. Drawing a wireframe isn’t about the design’s appearance; it’s about the information structure it contains.
Don’t know how to make a wireframe? To assist you in learning, Digital Telepathy has compiled a list of best practices.
Sketch is a vector drawing application for Mac that makes creating design elements simple. Sketch is used by many designers to build UI elements and recurring design blocks.
It’s jam-packed with plugins and lets you export code for later use. It’s one of the most powerful and widely used programs since Adobe’s Creative Suite, and it’s well worth your time.
- Stay up with Technology
AI, virtual reality, augmented reality, 360-degree video, and bots.
Keeping up with so many new technologies and trends can be difficult. However, you must make it a point to keep up with these developments.
Take each one at a time, starting with the technologies that are most directly connected to your work. Start by studying about bots if you have a website with online chat. Play around with 360-degree video if you use a lot of video footage.
Artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality are considerably more complicated, but they’re expected to become more incorporated into the website design environment in the future.
- Get Comfy and Learn SEO Basics
While many web designers believe that an SEO specialist can prepare a website for search engines to read, SEO requires a significant amount of design effort.
The designer should incorporate search thinking into their workflow from the way photos are submitted to producing clean, quick code to putting meta descriptions on pages and elements.
This is also very crucial for freelancers. The majority of clients are aware enough to want a website that is SEO-friendly. If you work alone, you must have sufficient knowledge to build a robust structure that Google can understand (and be able to refer the client to an SEO specialist if more work needs to be done).
- Get familiar with Website Builders
A website builder can be an excellent approach to familiarize yourself with best practices and how to begin constructing and designing websites.
Most of these tools come with a variety of templates that you can tweak and even add code snippets to. Many website builders offer a free plan that allows you to construct a personal portfolio page or a basic website that you can use as a playground.
Then, using the website builder, separate the sections. Take a look at how they’re designed and coded to get a sense of how everything fits together. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn by dissecting another design.
- Keep Learning New Things
To become a fantastic website designer, all you have to do is constantly play, experiment, and learn new things. Make it a point to network and speak with others in the field so you can stay up to date on the latest techniques and visual changes.
If you want to learn website design, you’re probably currently doing it on a regular basis. However, this is a rapidly changing field that changes on a daily basis. Simply ask somebody who is already doing it.
PC Designs is here to help with your web design needs.