Web Design Explained: Key Elements & Best Practices

what is web designwhat is web design

Savvy brands know that a well-designed website helps build trust with their target audience. But what does it take to actually make a good web design? Visual appeal is important, but making your website easy to understand is key to user-centric design.

Read on to learn more about:

  • What good web design is—and how it benefits your organization
  • The fundamentals of website design
  • Web design best practices you can apply with Figma

Web design involves creating attractive, user-friendly web pages and web-based apps. User experience design, user interface design, and visual design all play key roles in the web design process. Web design teams take both form and functionality into account, balancing strong visuals with sound usability.

When users land on a web page, it takes them just 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about it. That’s why good web design matters. Not only does it help you make a great first impression, but it can also:

  1. Build your brand identity. Compelling, cohesive web design makes your brand memorable, helping your business stand out and connect with users.
  2. Improve user experience. Simple, intuitive website design makes it easy for users to understand and find what they’re looking for.
  3. Increase visibility among your target audience. Good web design helps drive search engine optimization and better search rankings.

Web design vs. web development: What’s the difference?

Web design leans on visual, UX, and UI design to shape a website or app’s look and feel. This covers design elements such as your brand’s color palette, fonts, and typography. It also includes UX design for page templates, wireframes, and prototyping.

Meanwhile, web development applies coding languages such as hypertext markup language (HTML), cascading style sheets (CSS), and JavaScript (for dynamic content). Web developers turn wireframes and prototypes into working web pages, bringing back-end functionality to front-end design.

Want your web design to make a positive impact on your company’s bottom line? Start by addressing five key components of web design:


Before you jump into design mode, consider what content users need. On-page elements such as headers, text, images, and CTA buttons can support user goals and needs.


Arrange web page content for an easy-to-use, accessible user experience. Use wireframes to structure page information with basic headings and UI elements, then build prototypes to create and test interaction flows.


Most websites use menus, bars, breadcrumbs, or sliders for navigation. Design and validate nav elements to get users where they need to go quickly and easily.

Visual style

Use your brand style guide to build visual elements with a consistent color scheme, imagery, and typeface. Apply graphic design principles to build in visual hierarchy, balance, movement, and white space.


Good web design factors in metrics like page loading time and mobile device usage. Fun fact: An ecommerce site that loads in just one second has a conversion rate that’s 2.5 times higher than a site that takes five seconds to load.

To plan and design high-quality web pages that resonate with your users, keep the following web design best practices in mind:

  • Design for your users. User research helps you understand your target audience—it’s a generative first step in human-centered design.
  • Opt for mobile first. On average, more than half of website traffic comes through mobile devices. If your target audience spends more time on mobile, prioritize designing for smartphone browsers and mobile apps.
  • Apply responsive web design. Organize your website content on a flexible grid system, so that your pages dynamically adjust to fit different screen sizes.
  • Grab your users’ attention. Add interactive elements such as animations and videos to engage and guide users.
  • Design for readability. Set visual hierarchy with different font sizes, weights, and typeface combinations to make web pages easy to scan and read.
  • Boost SEO by designing a mobile-friendly, responsive website. Include accessible, user-centric content that’s easy to share across social media platforms.
  • Test and refine. Perform user testing to rev your web designs before translating the designs into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Looking for inspiration to help you kick off your web design process? Visit the Figma community, where design pros share their know-how — including expertly crafted web design templates and examples. For more on web design, consults these resources:

Ready to create engaging, user-friendly web pages?




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