WebDesign-proper-layoutsThe proper layout of a website plays a significant role in its form, function and aesthetic. A good layout can mean the difference between a website that is inviting and pleasing to use and one that confuses and aggravates visitors, leading to the loss of potential customers who are more than likely never to return.

Why Is The Layout Of A Website So Important?

In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of a good logo. While it may appear at first glance that most logos are unique and different, there are many fundamental design elements of good logos that are common. The same application of universal design elements are crucial to the next important element of web design – the layout of the website.

Website Similarities

Like logos, it may be surprising to some casual observers how many similarities are present among the layouts of many prominent websites, even in websites that may appear to be unique at first glance. There is a simple reason why most websites share many of the same layouts – Internet users view and read websites and web content in a consistent and specific pattern.

Reading Patterns

Researchers have studied the eye movements of Internet users and have identified a common pattern of web content consumption, or a dominant reading pattern, that is shaped like a capital letter “F” – we reviewed these findings in a blog post we published last year. Since Internet users view and read websites in a common pattern, it is imperative that web designers implement website layouts that compliment this pattern. To disregard this pattern can sometimes lead to groundbreaking websites, but more often than not the results are disastrous.

Unique Designs

It is important to note that just because most websites share common layouts doesn’t mean that it is impossible to design a unique or memorable website layout. Professional designers have created thousands of themes for Content Management Systems and blogging platforms such as WordPress that follow common website layouts, and yet they still allow administrators and users to create unique, dynamic websites. Creating a unique website that also utilizes a proper layout requires a balanced approach to web design.

Alignment And Balance

When considering the layout of a website, good web designers first work to harmoniously integrate white space, alignment and balance. A good website layout should flow evenly, and common elements should be properly positioned and aligned with white space distributed evenly throughout the page. Elements should be positioned logically, and common elements should be organized and grouped to minimize reader confusion.

Simply Intricate

Simplicity should be paramount – some designers recommend using only a limited number of sections per page, allowing the elements to flow more evenly and leaving enough white space that visitors aren’t distracted and confused. Finally, it is very important that a website layout implements easy with an intuitive navigation system. It must be readily apparent to visitors how to navigate from element to element and from page to page with a minimal amount of searching, scrolling and clicking.