Frontend Web Design 101: What makes a good frontend web design

September 28, 2020

A woman using a laptop browsing the Internet looking at a website.

If you’re looking to build a responsive, engaging, and well-designed website, you have several things to consider before finalizing your plans. Now more than ever, it is essential to take one step at a time and not rush things – because the market is quite crowded. You’ll need to stand out to get noticed and create a positive and lasting impression on your target audience. Likened to creating a mobile app, one major aspect you need to focus on is the frontend web design of your site.

The “frontend” of your website is basically the user interface (UI). It’s what visitors of your site see, click, fill-up, and use. It encompasses everything that users interact with – sliders, dropdown menus, colors, and fonts, among others. As such, frontend web design deals with creating a smooth, responsive, easy, and satisfying user experience.

Some of the most essential frontend elements include:

  • Graphics
  • Page layout
  • User interface aspects – navigation bars, toolbars, and buttons, among many others
  • Text / Content
  • Audio and video
  • Customizations and themes
  • Overall flow

If you’re about to build your website but do not know how or where to start with the frontend web design, here are several tips and tricks you’ll find helpful.

Frontend Website Design Tips and Tricks

1. Typography is a major factor.

Visitors like websites that are easy on the eyes, which is why choosing the right typography is vital. Go for the ones that are simple but stylish; people prefer letters that they can easily read. Stay away from calligraphy and other artistic, novelty typography. Most of the time, they are difficult to read.

Your frontend web design typefaces should be of different sizes, a bit thick so it can be read even from a distance, and clean (the strokes). Also, keep the variety of your letterings to a maximum of two, and be consistent in using them throughout the website and all your social media accounts. Your typography should match the site’s overall design or theme.

Finally, focus not only on the typefaces but also on the spacing, particularly between letters and lines.

2. Go for a modern look.

What does a modern website look like? Well, there’s no particular description of a modern site or page. However, a modern, trendy, and stylish site has the following elements or characteristics:

  • A lot of white space
  • Classic but stylish
  • Flat or semi-flat
  • Colorful palette
  • Mobile responsive
  • Multiple device compatibility

Be cautious though. What is considered modern now will become obsolete in the next few years. Remember Adobe Flash? It was a web design trend years ago. Most of the world’s top websites have Flash embedded to their pages because it looks cool, stylish, and very modern. However, Flash’s codecs made websites sluggish. Webpages load slow, and sometimes, it crashes web browsers. Because of these issues,  Adobe will officially discontinue Flash in December 2020.

3. Integrate visual elements.

Your frontend development needs attention-grabbing visual elements. Audiences love anything that’s visual; anything that they can see or watch. As such, adding images or photos, videos, animations, and illustrations is essential. These visual elements are also effective in engaging your visitors, which means they will spend more time on your site – less bounce rate.

For this strategy to work, you’ll have to use only the best quality photos, videos, illustrations, and other visual materials. Do you want to get your ideas across? Why not try posting an infographic to your blog or landing page? If you use poorly-lit photos or scanned images, you shouldn’t expect visitors to marvel at how beautiful your website or page is. Work carefully, use your time wisely, and choose your visual materials well. Even a small mistake can affect the whole website.

Always choose high-resolution images and videos. You can have someone do vector-based or graphic illustrations. If you’re worried about your image’s file size, compress your high-resolution photo using an online image compression tool. Most of the time, these tools will decrease 40% – 80% of the original file size. The quality would still be the same.

For high-resolution videos (1080p and 4K), upload your videos on YouTube and embed in on your website. YouTube will do all the hard work for you.

Other forms of visual materials are graphs and charts, screenshots, GIFs, and memes.

Also, optimize your images and other visual elements by using ALT tags, the right image and video filename, and choosing their proper placement on the site or page.

4. Stay simple.

Some websites do not score well with visitors because they appear too complicated. It’s like they’re trying to be something they’re not. Designers stuff in a lot of things in one page, change the patterns, and eventually affect the general flow and effect of the website. For example, because you want your site to be stylish and different, you decided to place the navigation bar at the bottom of the page instead at the top. While this is aesthetically courageous, it won’t do you any good. People know that navigation bars are usually situated at the top of a webpage, so that’s where they should go. If they don’t find it there, the tendency is for them to leave the site and just go to another one that’s easier to navigate. High bounce rate!

However, this does not certainly mean that your website should stay bland or uneventful. This only means that you have to think of creative ways to make your frontend web design unique without forgetting about overall user experience and satisfaction. Remember, without satisfied visitors, even the most modern well-designed websites will be useless.

5. Look at the bigger picture.

A website is your online address; your virtual head office. Therefore, it is one big “compound made up of several elements”. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on just one aspect of your headquarters, focus on the big picture. If you take too much time working on just one small aspect, you might forget that there are many others that also need your attention. In the end, you won’t be able to complete the big picture because you spent too much time working on just one element.

As such, you have to create a plan or a frontend web design calendar so you’ll be constantly reminded that after working on the small details, you also have to focus on the major factors. Work slowly but surely. Again, don’t rush things.

The best way to make sure that you’re headed in the right direction is to hire a frontend web design company. A good designer will know all the whys, whats, and hows involved in creating a modern, well-designed frontend for your website.

About the author: Baptiste Leroux - CEO

After several years in the corporate world, I create my first Web startup as a social enterprise. Working with talented people, excellent software development skills, good communication, and a competitive pricing, we shifted our focus to web & mobile outsourcing projects. View on Linkedin