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Web Design
Examples of webpage design.

Design is an important aspect to remember when writing for the screen. In digital writing, design pertains to the look of the website and arrangement of the text, graphics, and other objects that make up the site. Proper web design is the balance of visual sensation and graphic information[1].

The design of a site or webpage is what will likely cause viewers to return to the site and continue reading it, so the overall appearance must be appealing, functional, and entertaining. However, having bad web design will drive users away. Viewers will not stay on a web page that is visually confusing or assaulting with either too many graphics or too much text. This is why design is such an important factor of web writing.

There are three main components to understanding and implementing design: consistency, usability, and navigability.


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This Mini Cooper webpage has a very consistent design.

Web content must be consistent in both content and appearance. For example, if the website has a logo, make sure that it appears on all pages. The text on each page must also be consistent. This is best achieved through the use of a web style guide[2].

  • The repetition of these elements give a site a consistent identity[3]:
    • Colors.
    • Graphics.
    • Headlines.
    • Typography.
    • Section divisions.
    • Text placement.
  • Adhere to an audience-specific style guide (HTML codes used and the grammatical format of text) throughout the site[6][2].


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Example of links in text.

When viewers arrive at each website, and pages within that site, they will have to relearn how to use the site if the design and elements are different on each page. This is why having a constant design and easy navigation are necessary[7].

  • Keep text scan-able[8] in these ways:
    • Highlight key words.
    • Use links.
    • Vary typeface.
    • Use colors.
    • Include subheadings.
    • Make bulleted lists.
    • Use paragraphs with one idea.
    • Practice brevity.
  • Keep it simple and user-friendly. Remember to K.I.S.S.[9] Keep It Simple Stupid. One way to make web sites more simple is by breaking pages into clearly defined areas and minimizing distractions[10].
  • Include a visual hierarchy for information and navigation on each page[11].
  • Fifty to eighty percent of the page should be reserved for content[12].


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Examples of basic navigation bars.

Navigability is provided by tool bars, blog rolls, links, and navigation bars on the web site. Navigation is important so that users will not be lost on the web page, figuratively and literally.

  • Include easy-to-use navigation tools. A navigation bar is best utilized on the top of the website[13][7].
  • Each web page must be able to stand alone[14]. Make sure that users know where they are in the site.
  • Insert anchors (internal hyperlinks that lead to another page of the same site) for internal page navigation[15].
  • Include consistent navigational aids. Each page needs to have easy access back to the main page[16].
  • Twenty percent of the internal web pages should be reserved for navigation[17]. A shortcut to the main page should be included on every other page.
  • The home page requires more navigational space[18]. The following are some of its purposes:
    • Establishes the site’s identity and mission.
    • Shows the site's hierarchy.
    • Shows where to start.
    • Provides shortcuts to the most desired pages and sections.
    • Avoids clutter.
    • Conveys the big picture.

See Also


  1. Lynch and Horton "Page Design"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lynch and Horton "Web Style Guide"
  3. Carroll, 62
  4. Carroll, 28
  5. Carroll, 79
  6. Carroll, 97, 111
  7. 7.0 7.1 Horton "Page Layout"
  8. Carroll, 32
  9. "The Kiss Principle"
  10. Carroll, 28, 69
  11. Carroll, 123
  12. Carroll, 67
  13. Carroll, 35
  14. Carroll, 57-58
  15. Carroll, 48
  16. Carroll, 60
  17. Carroll, 67
  18. Carroll, 70