The world of web production has expanded and changed alongside technology, completely transforming over the last few decades. Even if someone were a seasoned web designer ten years ago, they would likely feel like a complete stranger in the industry today – that’s how dramatically different it is.
But as the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Despite undergoing significant growth, web production has still maintained a core set of principles. Essentially, many of the same characteristics that made a website a “good” one several years ago still ring true.
These principles are part of a solid foundation of knowledge for anyone who’s considering learning how to work in web production. So, whether you’re just beginning to realize your interest in web design or you’ve always dreamed of becoming a website designer, you’re going to want to know your way around these five rules.
We’re breaking down the five core principles of web production, explaining each one and why it’s so important. You can use it as a go-to guide to web design that will likely never be outdated, no matter how much (or how quickly!) technology reshapes our digital world.
When we look at a webpage, our eyes see the visual design and interpret it in a way that makes the most sense to our brain. Using the concept of visual hierarchy, we can subconsciously determine which elements are the most important with a single glance.
In terms of website production, it is vital that the design correctly highlights the most critical parts. No matter what the subject of the website may be, certain parts carry more weight (like forms, value propositions, or calls to action). As a designer, you want to make sure that those parts command more attention than their less important counterparts.
Look at it this way: if you have a website menu with ten different items, are all of equal importance? More than likely, there are certain ones that you particularly want online users to click. According to visual hierarchy, making these items more prominent will help to communicate their importance to users.
Once you understand the objective of the website and its associated business, you’ll be better equipped to use visual hierarchy in the design. For example, the objective of a car dealership’s website is to drive car sales. You can approach the design with this in mind and rank items within the visual hierarchy accordingly.
The “divine proportions”
You might have heard of something called the “Golden Ratio,” which states that designs that stick to the proportions outlined by the ratio are believed to be more aesthetically pleasing. From art and architecture to website design, you can see the Golden Ratio almost everywhere you turn.
In fact, if you browse many of the most successful websites (for example, Twitter), you might notice that the layout closely adheres to the Golden Ratio – that’s no accident. Designers have been relying on this idea of divine proportions for decades, cementing it as a foundational web production element.
Now, we’re going to cover another “law” that governs web design: Hick’s Law. According to this standard, every additional choice that an individual has to make increases the amount of time it will take to reach a final decision.
Even though we might not know that this concept is referred to as “Hick’s Law,” we’ve all experienced it in our everyday lives. Think of those restaurants with ridiculously large menus, packed with far too many options for you to easily choose what you want to eat. If they pared down their menu, you’d be able to make a decision far more quickly (and probably with much less frustration).
In web design, Hick’s Law claims that too many options on a website make it more difficult to use. Rather than adding choices, look for opportunities to take them away. Get rid of distractions and use features that make it easier for website users to find what they want, such as search filters. The easier it is for users to utilize your website, the better chance you have of achieving your objective.
The rule of thirds
Images almost always contribute positively to a website design, helping communicate concepts and create a pleasant browsing experience. However, the quality of images on websites can vary considerably, making it even more vital that you choose options that don’t end up detracting from the overall design.
You can use the rule of thirds to assess images effectively, pinpointing the ones that are more visually interesting and, therefore, the better choice. First, divide the image into nine equal parts using two equally-spaced vertical lines and two equally-spaced horizontal lines. The most significant visual elements should fall along these lines or at the points where they intersect. If your image meets this requirement, then it likely adheres to the rule of thirds.
Gestalt design laws
Gestalt psychology examines how the human eye sees objects as a whole before interpreting individual parts. Even though it’s a theory composed of many complexities, there are some basic concepts that we can apply to design high-quality websites.
Here are a few to start with:
- The law of proximity states that when elements are grouped together, we perceive them as related
- The law of similarity says then when items are of a similar color, shape, shading, or another quality, we naturally group them together in our mind
- The law of symmetry explains why we prefer things to be symmetrical rather than asymmetrical
These and eight other “gestalt laws” serve as excellent guidelines in the practice of great web design.
Learn How to Succeed in the Digital World with a Media Degree
Technology has unlocked an exciting array of new career paths, and it seems inevitable that even more possibilities will be within reach in the next few years. Choosing a job in the world of media and technology means moving into a professional future that has virtually limitless potential – you can truly take your career anywhere you want it to go.
If you’re interested in getting a job in web development, the first thing you need to know is that the proper training and education are your key to a successful start. Like any field that’s growing rapidly, web production can be highly competitive, especially for someone at the beginning of their career journey. But with the right training and skills, you can get a jump start on achieving your professional dreams.
The Media Schools of Miami, Colorado, Illinois, and Ohio offer a broad range of degree programs that can prepare you for a future in media, combining classroom learning with hands-on experiences. You’ll have the freedom to uncover your own talents and interests while simultaneously building the core competencies you’ll need to find a job after graduation. From industry internships to classes led by experts in the field, the Media Schools provides many opportunities to learn and grow.
Start working towards a career as a web developer by contacting one of our campuses to get more information about enrolling today.