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The 6 Simple Ingredients of Great Web Page Design (with examples)

What makes a website work? What makes a website do its marketing job effectively? What makes a website actually influence prospects to do what you want them to? What determines whether your site is an asset or a liability? Read on to find out.

Founder of Klicker. Branding obsessed. Marketing connoisseur.

Posted on January 7, 2016 in Websites

Article Cliff Notes

The most successful sites on the web have 6 things in common—follow their example, don’t reinvent the wheel.

Great sites marry fantastic content with exceptional design.

Typography, white space, navigation—web designers notice the little things because your visitors do, too.

Company websites are no longer a choice. You can’t not be online.

Smart businesses understand that websites can be powerful.

They understand that a website can impact a prospect positively, negatively, or have no impact at all.

So what makes a website work? What makes a website do its marketing job effectively? What makes a website actually influence prospects to do what you want them to?

What determines whether your site is an asset or a liability?

In short, what makes quality web design?

There’s no perfect answer, but there are a few qualities that stand out in just about all of the top sites on the web.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. —Steve Jobs

We must understand that inbound marketing web design goes far beyond how it looks. Web design is actually how a site works and the feelings it invokes with its users. With this expanded perspective, here are 6 ingredients that are critical for an optimal website:

  • Clean Navigation: Navigation is the first thing people notice about your site. Obviously, it’s important for it to feel pleasant and clean. Top-notch navigation allows your users to breeze from page to page, finding everything they want without wasting a fraction of a second.
  • Beautiful Typography: Typography is a really big deal. A website that looks great always has beautiful typography. Typography starts with font choices, but goes far beyond into color, sizing, line height, paragraph margins and padding. When someone nails all of these elements, you get a website that has a soothing and natural feel—with messaging that stands out in a positive light.
  • White Space: Proper spacing is critical for a great site. In fact, it may be the most important element (that’s also easy to overlook). A message’s impact depends on the element of space just as much as that message’s content. Without white space, a site will turn into visual garbage really quick.
  • Logical Layout: This one is somewhat vague, but a site must be connected in a way that makes sense. A great design will take a prospect through a journey, yet allow them to skip around at will. This is about presenting the right thing at the right time in the right way.
  • Synergy Between Message and Design: This one is often overlooked, but having messaging that fits within the design, and even having the messaging itself be considered part of the design is important. Design and messaging aren’t separate in reality. Actually, they are both simply part of the overall experience.
  • Design with a Purpose: The best design is as little design as possible. This is a core foundational concept for beautifully designed sites. Everything within a great website should pack a punch—it should all accomplish something without getting in the way of itself.

These are the 6 ingredients for great design. Through that lens, let’s take a look at 6 websites that really nail these concepts. Try to think about those 6 elements I mentioned above as you check out the sites.

ThoughtSpot

Thoughtspot is a business we’ve been a fan of for a long time. Take a few minutes and browse around this brilliantly designed site. Everything about it scream intelligence and elegance. The navigation, imagry, use of white-space, and messaging/design integration are perfection.

Learndot.com

Learndot.com is another beautiful site with powerful messaging built into the design. The custom pages they’ve created are beautiful and perfectly describe what they have to offer.

Nest.com

Nest.com screams smart design. It’s a site I’ve been watching for a few years now. Everything on the site is logically laid out to perfection. It’s one of the best sales sites I’ve ever come across. From the product pages to the blog, everything on nest.com nails it. This is obviously a design oriented company that doesn’t overlook any detail-from their website to their product designs, they are an inspiration.

SendtoInc.com

The word clean perfectly describes sendtoinc.com. From the flow of the site, what they say and when they say it, to the visual elements describing the software, sendtoinc.com is a superior designed site. Not only is the website design phenomenal, the backend software service is as well. Check it out.

Coinbase.com

It’s no secret that we’re fans of tech around here. Bitcoins are no exception. Coinbase is the first bitcoin wallet that pays special attention to design. Their website is brilliantly deisiged for both users and prospects. Take a look around coinbase.com and notice how it makes you feel. Feels good doesn’t it? 🙂

Automatic

Very similar to nest.com, automatic.com is another fantastic site you should check out. From the videos, to the messaging, to the blog, it’s a site that was built right. The site is heavy in messaging but the way they integrate it into the overall flow and supplement imagery along the way is pure perfection.

See What I Mean?

By now you should know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “great web design.” Even if you didn’t remember the principles we talked about, I’m sure you noticed all of those sites just felt “right.”

That’s because they all incorporate the 6 principles of great web design:

  • Clean Navigation;
  • Beautiful Typography;
  • White Space;
  • Logical Layout;
  • Message/Design Synergy;
  • And, Design with a Purpose.

Now, the question is…

How does your site stack up?

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Written by

Founder of Klicker. Branding obsessed. Marketing connoisseur.

Posted on January 7, 2016 in Websites