30 years of progress - same fundimentals

Fundamentals of Web Design

When you set out to build a website this year, you will notice things have changed a lot over the past 30 years from it’s early beginnings. The majority of web traffic now comes from mobile devices, and there are more people using the internet then ever before (internationally). There are so many things to consider when deciding what you want in your website that it might become difficult to focus on what’s important: the fundamentals of web design.

If you’ve gotten lost in all the bells and whistles of modern web development then this article is for you. We’re going to take you back to the basics, rather the fundamentals of web design and hone you in on what’s most important when building a website this year.

No. 1.  Your website needs to be fast

No one ever sets out to build a slow website, but all to often they favour their interpretation of what looks good over site speed.

You know what I mean? You are looking a huge banner thinking, “Maybe I can put another slide in the slide show… just one more… to talk about our new product… oh and I will need another slide for the lunch special,  and I can’t forget to put that poster there” … and so on.

Next thing you know your page is over 5MB and your the only one that thinks it looks good.  I build websites for a living so I deal with this all the time.  Remember, if your website doesn’t load fast enough, no one is even going to see it let alone how pretty it looks. Keep principle No. 1 at the forefront in every decision you make and you will most certainly end up with a decent product.

No. 2. Create predictable navigation patterns

Sometimes you get to a website that just doesn’t navigate well and you leave. You might not know it, but when you use a site that navigates really well, you actually think differently about it. It makes you feel good and you quickly figure out how to get deep into the content without ever loosing your way.  If you test your site on focus groups watch to see if your users continually go to the homepage if they flip directly between the pages.  Make sure you test it on different age groups. The aim should be to have them not notice the navigation, but be able to quickly use it.  If you have the justification for a search bar, review the search history to see what people are using it for.

No. 3. Be error free

We don’t have the browser compatibility problems we once did, however there are still problems with today’s web.  They are just different.  Most websites on the internet are powered by WordPress which needs a decent amount of resources to run well.  Do everything you can to make sure your site doesn’t go down. Even if the internet is intermittent, you want to avoid render blocking JavaScript (js). Mobile users can end up on highly congested WiFi networks making it hard to load fancy js features. This is probably the most significant web design fundamental, but it is also the easiest to manage (in my humble opinion/imho) When in doubt, KISS (keep it simple, stupid.)

No. 4. Do something / Be something

No one cares. That’s the truth.  Your website needs to be engaging enough to convince people to look it over, and then it needs to be informative enough to keep them around. You need to give something to the visitors whether it’s eye candy or words or something else. You need to make them see what your website has to offer. If you don’t have a central focus or if your value proposition is unclear then why are you making a website?  Maybe just update your Business Listing if all you need is your business address and phone number.


Always remember who you building your website for. You probably set out to attract and inform potential customers. You will get a lot of robots on your website, but they can’t love you like people do. You build a website for people so make it good for them. Make it fast, lay it out thoughtfully, make it work, and make sure it’s purpose is clear. Do that for people and just watch what you can do in 2019. People who put some thought into these fundamental principles will most certainly fair well in 2019 and for years to come. If you would prefer to have a professional web design team work on your website for you, consider hiring us.