Here we introduce top design practices and concepts which every developer must know about. The list presented here is aimed at helping the developers progress in right direction, by making the better acquainted with how to think and communicate about design.
Design is more than just visual
Design is not a cover up, but has its own personality. Usually design is restricted only as a visual portion of a website. It is a big misconception. Design incorporates the entire experience you provide your user, from the time they enter the site till they have left.
Design includes why and how people use your site, its downloading speed, as well as how quick or slow new features are presented to them. These combine together to form design.
As we have stated that design is not restricted to just visual aspect, but it has a bigger role to play, thus every person working on project can be considered a designer. Every department, whether project management, front end or back end should think about design.
Be user oriented
Users are the most important aspect you should consider at every step of app or site development. Your design should be aimed at helping your users avail what they are looking for quickly, easily and effectively.
Whenever undertaking any designing project, spend some time and pay attention to, who your users are, what are they looking for and how you can help them to find it. These are the factors that should influence your design process and decisions.
Only the designers are not responsible for ensuring a great experience for their users, but every person in the team should work on it. Surely every one will have some unique ideas, which can make a considerable difference to the entire project.
Attention to details is the difference between a good and a great design. In the same way, it is detailing which can differentiate a good user experience from an average one. Using the exact shade of colour or wrapping your text in a particular way, these are a few examples of what we are talking about. However, paying attention to details is tricky. Starting it too soon can slow the project down. It is crucial to consider the details at the right time when you are ready to visualise the bigger picture.
Sketch when designing
Sketching the user experience is certainly beneficial; as it lets you consider aspects like content, flow and hierarchy, besides others. It is also easy, fast and cheap. If you are good at it, you can easily come up with something new. Sketching is helpful in communicating your ideas regarding user experience, user flow and layout of a site as well.
The habit of sketching is missing in young designers these days. They are too eager to transform their design without considering all possible options. However, it is so easy that everyone can do sketching. Being aware of the basic tools, like drawing lines, boxes and arrows, is enough to present your design. You do not need to make a fancy piece of art, just communicate your design well.
Using white space
It is very simple, but most of the developers still struggle with this concept. The idea behind having adequate white space is to give your users a break. It is crucial for letting them process the information, especially when there is a lot of content. That is why you see sentences and paragraphs and not just continuous long lines.
The purpose is to ensure that white space is relevant to the other items included in your design. Having only one column of space is not enough, as you need another column for balancing it.
Grids are more than CSS frameworks
Grids emerged as the first preference when designing, especially when it comes to International Typographic Style.
A grid can be used for:
- Creating relationships among objects
- Providing a basis for aligning visuals
- Helping in creation of vertical and horizontal rhythm
- Helping in creating optical balance
The above mentioned concepts should work in sync for enabling you to create an improved visual system aimed at your users. Your choice of grid impacts the design’s unit. Making your choice on the ease of implementation might not be a wise choice. The effect that a grid has will depend on how you use it.
Emphasis on one aspect
If you want every aspect of your design to have an impact, then it will not do any good to your design. Have one element on your page with most emphasis. By paying emphasis on one element and following a hierarchy will provide a flow to readers while pointing them towards the direction you desire.
Maintain an inspiration folder
Have a gallery where you can put everything that inspires you, whether it is images, posters, videos, websites or t-shirt. It could be anything that sparks ideas in your mind or gives you solutions.
It will not only serve you as reference point, but will encourage you to look at your design and evaluate it. Selecting designs and putting them in a folder is a simple activity to keep you inspired.
Design is focused on solving problems
The best approach towards design is to see it as a problem which requires solution. Everything that you put on a page should have some motive of solving some particular problem of your users or design.
At times it can become difficult to actually define the problem first, rather than going for the solution. Here working backward can help you. For example, if you want to color something red, then before doing this, take a moment and consider why you want it to be red. You should ask yourself, what you are aiming to achieve with this and what you’re thought process is. You might come back to from where you began, however it will give you a clear idea of what is being done and why.
Knowing the way to communicate about design
If you want to make a designer annoyed, tell him that the color of his blocks should be red instead of blue, the logo should be bigger or the text can be moved to a different place.
It is definitely not a good way. For giving constructive feedback you should try to bring attention to any problems that the design might have. Support your suggestions with facts about users, design goals, visual principles and site flow.
It will not only help you to put your suggestions across in a more constructive manner, but will also ensure that the designer sees your suggestions in a positive light. He will be then more than willing to make a few changes according to the solutions you have suggested. You should aim for providing a solution to the problem and not just tell the designer to change the color or use a bigger sized logo.
These ten design concepts are basically for the understanding of the designers and developers and how they can see the need for having a good design from a different perspective.