Kristijan Janušić, copywriting | BLOG

Blog o digitalnom marketingu, odrastanju, tehnologiji, web dizajnu, data science i nekim novim iskustvima.

So you are starting a career in web design? Learn more about web design standards by analyzing the most common practices

Internet marketers are not worried about web design standards, but in case you are a web designer, you must be careful. These standards represent a group of rules followed by successful designers because they know that these standards match users’ needs, requirements, and expectations. Web design standards are simple general rules that lead to good usability and simplicity. Those rules also make my role of an Internet marketer a bit easier. See why and what rules to follow.

How is “standard”defined?

There are many definitions of a standard, but in order to avoid any confusion, the best idea is to analyze the general rules found in the most popular websites today. Generally speaking, we can say that some element is a standard in case at least eight out of ten websites use that design approach. On the other hand, if between five and eight websites use some design approach, then we can call this approach a convention. If the approach is present in less than 50% of websites, this is confusion.

Before we reveal these standards, let’s say that the websites that were analyzed belong to the marketing and advertising category.

Contact info located in the top right corner

Almost half of the websites have placed the contact information (that comes in the form of a box, button, link etc.) in the top right. So, this is a popular approach, but since it is not used by more than half of the websites, we can’t really call it a standard.

Logo located in the top left corner

On the other top left corner, you can find a clickable logo. But, what is interesting about this practice is that it is followed by all websites. Now this is what we can call a standard.

Main navigation located in the top header

Almost 90% of websites are following this approach and this is one of the oldest practices when it comes to web design. The main navigation is placed at the top of the page and in a horizontal form.

Slideshow at homepage

Every third website uses a homepage slideshow, which is often called a carousel. This slideshow usually includes images, but it can also include combinations of messages and images. The numbers suggest that experienced web designers prefer static images and messages, but it all depends on the audience.

Featured services/products on the home page

Eight out of ten websites have a featured service or product found in the central part of their homepage. Most websites are explaining their services before visitors reach their independent service page. It is the best idea to place this element in a location that is easy to reach, so visitors won’t have to scroll down for a long time.

CTA located in the upper part of the homepage

The same goes for Call to Action buttons, banners, and other forms. Namely, about 80% of websites had attractive CTAs located in the upper part of the homepage making them difficult to miss.

Search option located in the header

Even though many experts agree that having a search option in the form or an icon, link or standard search box is a good idea, it turns out that just 55% of the websites practice this. They are placing this search option in the header which shows on every page. One of the main reasons why this is happening is the fact that the search box is relevant only if the website has many articles and content.

Icons for social media located in the footer

Seven out of ten websites have social media icons placed in the central part of the footer. This is a standard for modern web design. It’s good to know that the remaining 30% have these icons in the header. Don’t forget that these icons redirect your visitors to your social media profiles, so if you use them in the header you risk to increase bounce rate and lose visitors.

Signup element located in the footer

Only 25% of sites give the visitors and opportunity to sign up for newsletters and email updates and they place this option in the footer. While this element is used by many websites, it is not a standard or even a convention. Most people expect to find FAQ, copyright, about us and contact info in the footer.

Responsive design

The responsive design represents a blend of programming, coding, and design which means that it is much easier to include it before the website is published. In most cases, when the website is already published, responsive design is included in the next redesign. So for now, responsive design is a convention. It’s been a few years since the responsive design has emerged and we expect it to become a standard in the next couple of years.

“According to some statistics, nearly 70% of websites come with a responsive design which means that they are mobile-friendly. Responsive web design allows users to view websites in the best way no matter what kind of device they are using – desktop computer, laptop, tablet or a smartphone.”

Finally, let’s point out that the websites that were part of this study were respected ad well-established brands with thousands of visitors. So, some of these things may be irrelevant to small websites dedicated to marketing.

The domination of custom web design

It turns out that the web design standards we have mentioned are not real standards, at least not all of them. Namely, the only practices we have listed here that can be considered to be true design standards are logo placement, featured products/services and main navigation position.

Search box located I the header, a visible CTA, icons for social media located in the footer and mobile-friendly design are just design conventions. We have also mentioned few good practices that may or may not help your website. So, custom design, created with specific business in mind and targeted audience is dominating this market.

A Few More Useful Tips for a Modern Web Designers

Following the latest standards is one of the most convenient options for those who want to meet the requirements, expectations and needs of their audience. Don’t forget that people are visiting dozens of websites before coming to your website, so they can compare it to other websites. As a marketer, you must (not really) put yourself in the shoes of the visitors and follow some basic things and standards.

Why is it necessary to follow certain rules?

In the case people expect some element of design to be placed in a specific place, then meet their expectations. In addition to standard design elements, there are many other design standards that every successful web designer must follow and understand.

Programming standards

Sites should be designed with the help of coding/programming that were agreed upon by the W3c. In this way, you can rest assured that every user, regardless of the device they are using will view the content in a proper way.

Brand Standards

Colors, fonts, tones and type are different and depend on your brand image. Create a unique style and follow it.

Accessibility standards

Focus on the standards that will make your website easily accessible by any user.

Web design standards and conventions promise successful web design. Feel free to break these standards, but only if you are sure that they can benefit your project and make your service different, unique and most importantly – useful to users.

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 Ja sam Kristijan Janušić, kreativni direktor u digitalnoj agenciji Storyboard i Senior Marketing Analyst u tvrtki IN2data. Zahvalnost, mašta i upuštanje u strah od nepoznatog doveli su me do ostvarenja svih trenutnih ciljeva, ne vjerujem u radno vrijeme 8-16 h, a Ana i Korina su mi vječna inspiracija, najveća ljubav i onaj najljepši dio mene.