Eight sassy design principles that underpin great web design projects

Blog

Here are eight core fundamentals that tend to underpin website design and development work. Although take these with a grain of salt. Perhaps, if you’re in the mood, add some lemon and vodka which tends to add further creative fuel to design projects.

1. Be innovative

The best graphic design pushes the boundaries and involves critical thinking about approach and UI. It’s always a good idea to stay abreast of changes to industry standards and then know when to break the rules too.

2. Start with a problem

All design from graphic design to web design to industrial design, should take a problem and solve it. Think in terms of UX and the presentation of information. Make sure that the content on the site is useful to human visitors. And also useful to robots parsing the site. SEO and exceptional content are equally important to good design and should work hand in glove.

3. Be unobtrusive

Keep the design as simple, clean, unobtrusive as possible. Create systems and navigation that are transparent and simple to use. The best design doesn’t scream out for attention, but is subtly beautiful. It announces itself with a whisper and a murmur.

4. Understand aesthetics

Space and Grid: Information on websites should be ordered in a logical way for the eyes of visitors. Work the white space really carefully.

Typography: Keep it tight with only three different types in a maximum of six sizes used throughout the site.

Colour Choices: Keep in mind colour choice, along with integration of an overall brand identity. There’s an intricate psychology to colour choice in design. It’s important to be aware of that.

5. Keep the end goal in mind

Don’t obfuscate the website or design by adding too many elements. Have one call to action. Then neatly and simply guide the user towards this through the design.

6. Design for a long shelf life

Great web design and graphic design employs classic design principles and isn’t faddish or fashionable. You should use a flexible template that can be changed or modified with new content, images and other small modular iterations. It should be mobile-first and driven by the user experience, rather than pushing an obvious agenda. Future-proofed design looks beautiful on all devices. It uses HTML and CSS that’s easy to read and change as required.

7. Build integrity

The purpose of design is to be open, honest and provide everything that a user needs. A great user experience provides all of the sign posts, guidance and help that is required for the user to achieve clearly defined conversion goals on the website. The purpose of design isn’t just about creating the ‘wow’ factor. It’s also practical and helps visitors to reach a specific goal (or conversion) or to gain a deeper understanding into a subject.

8. Aim to fail fast, and pick yourself up

In order to completely capitalise on your skills, you need to fail fast and early on. Sounds rather counter-intuitive but it’s really not.

James Dyson of the bagless vacuuming empire failed with his prototype vacuum 5,127 times before perfecting his bagless model. Through an iterative process of trial and error he eventually made it. This required some grit, perseverance, determination on his part. In order to succeed, one needs to fail over and over again.

Agile Project Management 101 teaches us that failing fast and early on is a low-risk strategy. This means a project may be more likely to ‘break on through to the other side’ and succeed.


Did you enjoy this journey into inspiring design? Then find out if your content assets are working as well as they should, with a FREE CONTENT AUDIT for your business!

Claim your free content audit below…

Advertisements

The Coronary Atlas

Content Strategy, Copywriting, Graphic design, Web design

The Coronary Atlas project aims to understand the reasons coronary stents fail, how we can improve them and help more patients effectively. I helped the researchers by building a website and doing all of the graphic design, web design, Google Analytics integration, on-site SEO optimisation and some of the content.

I helped them to articulate their message through visual and written content assets so that they could talk about complex academic concepts in a way that anyone could understand.

Design showreel 

 

During the planning and scoping phase of the design, I did some usability assessments in the form of interviews, surveys and looking at the design of competitors sites. I then worked with the researchers to design a website that was usable, relevant and designed with the various stakeholders in mind who are of interest to the researchers.

The final design consisted of a general interest page that was written in a simpler language called Global Context. This page was a reference guide to coronary artery disease and featured an interactive infographic. This contrasted to other pages which were research focused and written with other researchers in mind.

Infographic creation, interactive design

Working along with the researchers, I created an infographic which demonstrates in a clear and articulate manner, a very complex engineering and research pipeline. I also designed all of the icons, the interactive elements and slides.

Coronary Atlas infographic - Optimising Stenting outcomes by Athena Dennis.

Coronary Atlas infographic – Optimising Stenting outcomes by Athena Dennis.

Master of Health Leadership – University of Auckland

Copywriting, Graphic design, Web design

I managed the design and content for a new website for the University of Auckland, built using the Divi theme in WordPress.

– Web design
– Graphic design
– Planning and wireframing
– Writing web copy
– Managing content writers
– Client and stakeholder consultation
– Budgeting and timing management

Background

Programme Director for the Master of Health leadership (MHL) Dr Jude McCool enlisted my help to create a new website for the Master of Health Leadership, a new Masters programme for the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Implementation

Sticking closely to the University branding and marketing guidelines, I created a custom website using WordPress and the Divi Builder template. This template allows almost infinite flexibility in terms of design and content.
This included creating custom interactive tabs featuring information, full width slides. The sourcing of suitably engaging stock photography. The creation of an on-site blog where students and lecturers could communicate and contribute thought leadership articles. I also interviewed key international students and featured them throughout the website. I identified key important information regarding the selling points for the Masters programme which weren’t identified before. Namely the potential growth in salary after completing the degree. This was turned into an interactive infographic which dynamically depicted the growth in salary.

As part of the intuitive and user-friendly navigation, the FAQs section has a drop down menu of interactive tabs which answered common pain points for students around fees, scholarships, starting dates, deadlines, lecturers, contact information and other vital information.

The result was an engaging and practical website which answered the main pain points of the target audience. The Programme Director Jude McCool along with other faculty staff were exceptionally happy with the results.

Recommendation/testimonial