Consistency – one of the biggest assets that a web designer must possess. Designing a website is one of the most challenging tasks, as it requires someone to be both skilled and talented. You also need to pull off the most amazing and appropriate designs to meet the expectations of your clients. However, there will be times where you will encounter hurdles that will prevent you from performing at your finest. These obstacles might hinder your web design skills by preventing new ideas and concepts from materializing in your creative mind.
One of the most common web designers that encounter the so-called “plateauing” stage are the ones who are working for the same websites throughout their careers. Working for the same website over and over can result in a tunnel vision perspective, where you start losing new concepts and perspectives.
Even if you are working for multiple sites, there will be instances where your skills will go rusty. When this happens, it often helps to separate away from everything and just try to think about new approaches. That’s the purpose of this article.
Below are some tips, tricks, alternatives, and useful advice for getting back your mojo and creating amazing website designs. You can definitely try any of these tips if you happen to be in a slump, or if you want to improve your web design skills.
10 Quick tips to improve your web design skills
Tip #1: Use Shades of Gray in your Design before adding other Colors
If you have trouble focusing, you should start every project with gray-scaled wireframes (example on the right). If you already do, then you know the significance of beginning every web design task with any shade of gray. If not, well, now’s probably the time you start adopting this method. That’s if you’re comfortable and is finding success on your current techniques of course.
First, you turn your wireframe into a gray scale visual design. Then you add your necessary photography. When these two are set, then will be the time you add color and other to design elements. The shade of gray has an effect on your mental approach: It prevents you from “overdesigning” and will place an importance on prioritizing only the items that you truly need.
Tip #2: Use Online Presentation Software for Rapid Prototyping
Photoshop isn’t the only option if you intend to create rapid prototypes for landing and web pages, call to actions, or any other web interface elements. You can use online presentation software as well. A good example is Apple Keynote, which is Apple’s version of Microsoft’s PowerPoint. You can use these free presentation software to create mockup versions of your web design elements.
What separates keynote from every other online presentation tools is its user interface (UI) design templates that can be used for wireframing, prototyping, and testing the web and mobile applications.
Tip #3: Incorporate web fonts to your Corporate Style Guide
Web fonts became popular ever since the beginning of 2014. Now that it’s 2017, you should make sure that your corporate style guide also features web fonts. Adding web fonts ensures your website has similar control with other corporate documents and collaterals.
If you have not considered adding web fonts yet, an ideal start is Google Fonts. Look for an appropriate web font and define its usage in your corporate style web design guide. Use it consistently online.
Tip #4: Increase your Font Size
When we talk of a great web design, Typography is incredibly important. Most of the time texts are pretty difficult to read on a computer screen. What you need to do is to make the important points stand out and get noticed. The most effective way to do this is by increasing your font size, especially for headings and important groups of text. If necessary, you can also increase the size of your standard text as well.
Tip #5: Move your Social Media Icons from Top to Bottom
So you made the most attractive design for your website to attract people. The last thing you want to do is to give them a reason to leave. Surprise! You are actually doing just that by placing your social media icons in a distinguishable spot. Most web designers commonly put their social media icons on the header of their website. Though there’s nothing wrong with that move, it actually increases the chances that people will leave your site immediately. So why don’t you place it in your footer instead? Not only will it still get noticed by visitors when they scroll to the very bottom, but this will also get them to get a full view of your entire work.
When people are visiting your website, you want them to stay and admire your designs as much as possible. You want them to stay longer, learn and maybe inquire about what your site offers, not check out your company outing photos on Facebook. So basically what I’m trying to say here is social media should send people to your website. It shouldn’t be the other way around.
Tip #6: Abandon the Slideshow/carousel
When the image slideshow/carousel on homepages came into prominence, it was a method of acquiring relevant information on the first page alone. Though it is an effective strategy for conveying information, it also possesses a flaw. The problem with image slideshows is that most people are not staying long enough to appreciate the tiles and messages.
What’s more is that people have grown to be dependent to these slideshows for information that it is already making other images and messages on your website irrelevant to them. What your visitors should take away from visiting your site is to know what your business is about. You could achieve that by simply ditching the image slideshow/carousel altogether.
Tip #7: Simplify your Website’s Navigation
It may sound counter-intuitive when I say you should reduce you visitors’ options, but I mean it. What this does is it can help guide people to your most relevant content. People hate a cluttered website. Instead of overwhelming your visitors with links to every single page, work towards simplifying your navigation.
Remove those annoying drop-down menus, most especially multi-tier drop-down menus. You can even go further by reducing the total number of links in the header and sidebar of your site.
Tip #8: Ditch the Sidebars
Speaking of sidebars, it has been a popular feature on for the past decade, especially incorporated on blogs. However, it might be a good idea to just not have sidebars on your website projects from now on. Many companies are starting to realize that removing the sidebars from their blogs encourages the readers’ full attention to the articles.
Whittington Consulting, an inbound marketing consultant company, tried removing the sidebar of their business’s blog post. It resulted in an increase in click rate on their CTA’s by over 35%.
Tip #9: Get Color Inspiration from Nature
One of the biggest struggles that some web designers encounter is the ability to choose the ideal color combination. You might find that mixing and matching colors, or selecting a perfect call to action graphic. If you are looking for some inspiration, you can always lean on to nature for some guidance.
Nature possesses the most amazing color combinations that are pleasing to the eyes. You can use your own camera to take photos of the wonders of nature around you or find some amazing nature-themed photos on the web. When you have your photo, you can then use a color picker to select a particular color combination. Make no mistake; nature’s choice of colors will never fail you.
Tip #10: Plan away from your Computer
Every great web design starts with a thorough planning process. Instead of going straight away, step away from your computer and get your ideas down on a whiteboard or paper. Planning on a whiteboard can make the designing process collaborative and will allow your team members (if you work as a team) give appropriate input.
Drawing on a whiteboard can also make the design process collaborative and allow other team members to give input. It’s also easy to make edits and quick changes on paper or whiteboard. Once you have come up with a plan, you can then work towards turning that plan into a concrete work of art.
While this article is about tips and hacks that can help improve your web design game, I’m pretty sure you have some hacks and techniques that you’ve used to take your web design skills to the next level. If you do, you can always share them with us, and we might incorporate them into the post.
Send us your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.