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Front End Design
Front-end refers to the part of a website that interacts with the user directly.
When you click on a button, hover over a link, or fill up an online form, all you are doing is interacting with the front-end AKA client side of the website.
Front-end designers and developers are web professionals that help websites communicate with the end users. They are responsible for creating stunning appearances using a wide variety of visual elements.
The designers also create layouts for the final design whereas the developers use their coding skills to implement the layouts into web pages.
A front-end designer uses a range of tools to design the visual elements of a website. Here are some of the most commonly used tools used around the globe:
Front-end design isn’t easy, especially if you are a beginner. These professionals use their knowledge of design thinking to create aesthetically pleasing elements.
It takes years of practice and dedication to master the art of visualization.
Nowadays, modern designs are becoming more popular day by day. There is no concrete definition for “modern” design.
However, most modern design includes elements in current styling, a fully responsive website, and following one or more of the latest design trends.
A minimalistic approach works great with modern designs.
Start simple. Use a classy design style that contains plenty of whitespaces, somewhat flat elements, and a bright color palette.
In a minimalistic modern design, users are guided to a clear call to action and each webpage has its specific goal.
Once the base is in place, you are free to add more layers or elements as per the client’s demand.
Simplicity is the key here (and most other designs). Don’t add anything on your webpage if that serves no purpose. Let the classic mantra guide your design decisions.
A strong visual element is the best way to attract users to the design. If you need to use a video/image, make sure that it is crisp and has the highest quality available.
If any element seems poor, leave that design out because even a single poor visual element can ruin the whole design experience.
However, that doesn’t mean you should overstuff your design with every visual element you can find.
Just pick one or two designs that work great and go from there. Incorporating simple animations or attention-grabbing elements works great.
Also, you’ll need to be careful about your file selection. Whether you use images, illustrations, SVGs, or any other elements, make sure you are using high-quality files.
Optimize everything, and you’re one step closer to making jaw-dropping web pages.
Typography is the art of implementing letters and characters in an eye-soothing way. It may sound menial but typography has a major influence on the overall design.
Typography not only affects how we read but it touches our emotions too.
You’ll need to select a typeface that is easy to read and skim, accessible to all users and legible across multiple screen sizes. If the readers don’t enjoy reading the content, your website will inevitably fail. Typography also helps to maintain brand consistency.
Using contrasting fonts in the headline and the body can be a good place to start. Don’t use more than 2-3 typeface families. You can search Typewolf for inspiration.
Thoughtfully placed animated elements can take your design to a whole new level. Most modern interfaces use animation strategically to stand out from the crowd.
Whether it’s an engaging parallax, a tiny hover action, or an element moving across the screen; animation can have a big impact, especially if you take a component-based approach.
The animation itself is an attention-grabbing element. It can keep your visitors entertained for longer. It can also contribute to maintaining design consistency throughout the brand.
Overcomplication is the arch-enemy of front-end design. Many websites tend to over-complicate the design to “impress” their customers, but receive backlash when the customer gets confused.
Users shouldn’t have to figure out how to use your website themselves; it should be obvious.
Not to sound like a broken record but simplicity is key to design. The easier your design will be used, the better it’ll perform.
After all, navigation is placed at the top of the page for a good reason. Don’t hesitate to use common patterns. The shopping cart symbol is similar in almost every eCommerce store.
Design from top to bottom and follow left to right. Follow the design hierarchy and pay attention to the details. Thoughtfully designed web pages can significantly improve performance.
You don’t have to start every design from scratch. Thanks to AI-powered advanced design tools, even people with zero coding knowledge can design.
These tools mostly use a drag-and-drop feature that lets the users create whatever design they want.
You can also ensure elements of your design to make the process more efficient. Also, don’t forget to take professional advice to shape both your design and the design process. Ask for help.
This is another key principle after simplicity. Basically, visual hierarchy refers to organizing and placing design elements in such a way that the users gain natural access to the most important information first.
Things like making the title big enough, using font weights to emphasize, and maintaining font consistency can help you establish the visual hierarchy. Avoid using more than 3-5 colors: one as the base, one for the title and key points, and the rest can be used to highlight key elements.
Remember, if everything on your design screams for attention, none will get any.
Readability means how well the users can read or skim through your web content. It is maintained by using typography and whitespaces strategically. Every website has a different approach to this.
However, as a rule of thumb, a right-to-left website should have left-aligned text. However, if you place all your cards right, center alignment can work as well.
If the copy is larger than 2 lines, the left alignment will perform better than the center alignment.
Remember, the focus of front-end design is not aesthetics, it’s readability. The primary purpose of your website is to help your visitors navigate easily and that should be your priority as well.
No matter what you are designing, the user should always be at the center. The goal of your design is to make the job easier for the end-users.
User-centric designs help users feel more connected with the brand and create brand loyalty over time.
The best way to maintain user-centric design thinking is by collecting insight from user tests, feedback, and thorough research. The more your users will be able to relate to your design, the more effective it will be.
Also, try to avoid personal biases in usability testing through random testers.
Needless to say, a good design should be consistent. Both the look and feel of your site should be similar across all devices and platforms. This may sound easy, but it’s far from it.
You’ll need to utilize backgrounds, images, typefaces, and even writing tones to create a consistently positive user experience.
You don’t need to necessarily use the same layout on every page. However, the goal should be to make it easier for the visitor to understand what type of info they can find on a specific page.
Pay attention to the color palette, font choice, white spaces, and overall composition.
You already know about the importance of maintaining simplicity in front-end design. Another major criterion is responsiveness. Around half of the global page views come from mobile devices (Statista).
The term “responsive” refers to those types of design that resize and reshuffle their elements depending on the device and/or platform your visitor is using.
This flexible website structure will allow your website not only to look identical but also to provide a consistent user experience.
Keep in mind that, no matter how good your website looks, it becomes obsolete if the users can’t complete their intended tasks; or can’t find the information they are looking for.
Avoid unnecessary design elements like a plague, as they can confuse the users and that’s dangerous.
As graphic designers, it’s important to continuously sharpen our skills and stay up-to-date with front-end design principles. One way you can do this is by attending various graphic programs and workshops.
These events not only allow us to learn new techniques and strategies but also provide opportunities for networking and collaboration with other designers.
Find out about your local graphic programs and if possible, take part in online competitions. These activities will not only enhance your skills as a designer but also add to your portfolio and help you stand out in the industry.
So don’t be afraid to take the initiative and attend various graphic programs – your career will thank you for it.
When it comes to front-end web design, there can be a temptation to try and beat competitors or imitate popular designs. But that mentality can often lead to frustration and a lack of originality.
Instead, focus on improving your design skills by starting with matching other designs. This will give you a strong foundation and allow you to develop your skills as a front-end designer.
Additionally, your primary goal shouldn’t be to beat other designers, rather than improve your skills. As you continue to grow and learn, you will naturally start creating unique and standout designs.
Trust the process and keep practicing. Your own designs will shine through in no time.
Instead of trying to outshine other designs, focus on improving your own skills and creating unique designs that showcase your strengths as a front-end designer.
Tunnel vision refers to the inability to see the bigger picture. It happens when you try to only see one solution to a problem, without considering other options. What’s more, in front-end web design, it can lead to missed opportunities and unsatisfying designs.
So, how can you avoid falling into the tunnel vision trap? First, have an open mind and always be willing to try new things. Don’t let your personal biases and judgments get in the way of exploring different ideas.
Secondly, gather feedback from a diverse group of people. This can include colleagues, clients, and even strangers who fit your target audience. Their outside perspectives can help you see things that you may have missed on your own.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment and iterate on your designs. You never know what new solutions may come out of it!
By keeping an open mind and gathering diverse feedback, you can avoid tunnel vision and create a more successful and satisfying design. Happy designing!
Remember, just because it works for one project doesn’t mean it will work for all. Keep an open mind and ensure that your designs are inclusive and accessible to all users.
Most professional web designers charge around $50-150 per hour. An experienced front-end designer can charge up to $200 per hour.
If you want long-term recruitment a front-end developer here in the US can charge you anywhere between $70,000 -115,000 per year.
A website builder is a tool used by front-end web developers to create and design websites without having to code everything from scratch.
Some common examples of website builders are Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
These tools allow for easy customization and updating without the need for advanced programming knowledge.
Breadcrumb is a navigation tool that helps users keep track of their location within a website.
It typically appears horizontally near the top of a webpage and displays the hierarchy or path of pages leading to the current page.
The key is to help users understand where they are in relation to the general categories and subcategories of the website.
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