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Dean Marsden

Four Design Principles for Your Website Design

26th Apr 2011 Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimisation 1 minute to read


With millions of websites on the internet offering us a wealth of information on all subject matters, how do you make yours stand out and capture the attention of visitors? The answer is layout and design.

To make content easy to read and more attractive, there are four principles you should apply to all types of designs:

1. Contrast

Make sure any two separate elements are very different from each other, aesthetically speaking at least. The contrast within a page is the first reason why viewers are drawn to a piece of content. An example of increasing the contrast between elements could involve making a content heading bold, much bigger and a different colour from the standard text.

2. Repetition

Repetition increases the order and strengthens the unity of a piece of content. If you are creating a list of elements, make sure that each maintains the same style, shape and spacing as the others. This relationship makes it easier for users to read blocks of content.

3. Alignment

Every element on a page should align with something else, nothing should be placed without a connection to another element. Aligning elements creates a cleaner look and makes the page look more professional. How many newspapers do you see without any alignment?

4. Proximity

Proximity means grouping related items and spacing out unrelated items. It gives the reader a clear idea of the page structure and allows them to easier find what they are looking for.

Let’s take a look at a real world example. The new Twitter Home page contains all of the above mentioned principles to help users easily differentiate between the options available to them.

Remember these four principles and apply them to every design you make. Keep in mind that they are interconnected and should not be implemented separately. You’d think this core set of  design principles would be memorable by an acronym, um, well yes there is one but I’ll let you work that one out!

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Dean Marsden
About the author

Dean Marsden

A big fan of art and design, Dean is an avid photographer with an eye for creating beautiful images. His other skills include playing golf, which he’s done since he was 15. He’s a little quiet, but you know what they say about the quiet folk…

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