When staring out across the large sea of web pages, there are a handful that stand out as amazing, mindblowing, and stunningly great.  On the other end of the spectrum are the disasters, the website that look like they were drawn with neon crayons and vomit.  And in the middle?  A ton of websites that are pretty indistinguishable.  Some are better than others, but not enough to make a huge difference.  We call it the “meh” zone.

Think of it like a bell curve.  Are you towards the terrible side?  Or the Amazing side?  And how can you move your designs in the right direction?  Here are a couple tips that might just help you be less terrible at your job.  You’re welcome.  Since you’re getting all this great advice for free.

Make Your Gradients Subtle

If you’re going to use a gradient (and are ignoring the whole “flat design” trend), for the love of crumb cake, make them subtle.  Web design trends are headed towards subtlety and artistic flair, not gross, hard gradients.  Using shadows, gradients, all that good stuff, will make your designs look sleeker, more professional, and less terrible.

Add White Space

Gone are the days of a cluttered, overly busy website (thanks a lot Apple!).  In art there’s a concept called “negative space”.  You’re a designer, you should probably look into it.  It will make your websites look way better, and then you can use phrases like “negative space” when talking to clients, and sound way smarter than you actually are.  Also, while you’re at it, look into minimalism.

Use Good Grid Layouts

Art has, for a very long time, known a lot of simple layout rules to increase the emotional impact of the work.  Things like the Rule of Thirds, and light composition can actually be applied to your web designs with a little creativity, but a very simple, easy to understand rule, is humans like structure.  If your website is chaotic, the line breaks are uneven, and things look random, they will be subconsciously turned off by your website, and leave.

Easy Navigation

This seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t count the number of random website I come to while trying to find a late night hamburger delivery (seriously, why don’t hamburger places deliver?  Someone should do something about that).  I get to the website, and then I’m like “uh…  me wanty foody…  how do I get foody?”  After several minutes clicking around in frustration, I throw my computer into the river, strip off my clothes, and disappear into the wilderness.

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