The goals of a website layout
In web design, layout refers to the way visual elements on a web page are arranged, sized, and ordered. It impacts aspects of your user’s experience, including how easy your content is to digest, where people naturally focus, and how they behave on your site.
Here, we dissect what makes an effective layout in 2022, and go into more detail about why layout design has such a profound effect on user behaviour.
Why is a layout important?
Layout plays an important role in ensuring your website is user friendly, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. When used to positive effect, a good layout increases user engagement, helps site visitors to make sense of your website’s content, and creates continuity between your landing pages.
In short, a clear layout is the foundation of a good website and a crucial part of the web design process. Getting your website layouts right can make all the difference to where your web pages rank in online searches and how well you convert customers.
Use focal points to draw attention to certain elements
One of the guiding principles of basic layout design is using visual weight to divert a user’s eyes to key elements. An effective way to achieve this is by scaling up important elements on the page. The fact that one element is larger than another creates a natural focal point that automatically attracts the human eye. This is the reason you’ll often find a large image (commonly known as a hero image) featured on many website home pages.
Sections for specific audiences or features
If your website includes different elements or a web page that only subscribed members can access, your layout needs to clearly signpost users to this content.
For this reason, some content hidden behind a paywall may also make use of layout designs that differ from those shown on your public site. For example, users logging-in to a gym website could unlock a library of pre-recorded workouts, which makes sense to showcase using a grid layout, but this grid system may not be appropriate for other areas of your site.
Web Design layouts that accomplish website goals
Whether it’s to make online sales or convert bookings, an effective website will always be designed around a specific goal or outcome. Your website’s layout is fundamental to meeting this objective, so it’s important to communicate to your web developer what you’re hoping to achieve so he or she can create design elements that support this journey.
An f layout that aligns content to the left side of a page, for example, is a top choice for a blog post but isn’t as effective a layout for showcasing products in online stores. Also important to consider is how well your layout performs on mobile devices. The majority of site traffic today stems from mobile browsing, so it’s vital your layouts are mobile optimised.
Tell a story
Above all else, websites tell a story about who you are and what you can offer. The layout of your website plays an intrinsic role in this process, ensuring that your pages are logically ordered, easy to digest, and visually engaging.
Remember, it’s not just words that tell a story. Images, other visuals such as graphics, and even white space all help to send subliminal signals about your brand to website users. In many cases too much text on a web page can actually be off-putting, so leaning on visual assets in your layout is a great way to do justice to your story without relying solely on copy.