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12 min read Website Design Standards Desktop VS Mobile UX design

Website Design Standards: From Simple Personal Pages to Large e‑Commerce Platforms

Key Takeaways

  • Remember that ease of use, navigation, and functionality are just as (if not more) necessary to your website’s design than beauty or aesthetics.
  • Simplicity is important to visual design, webpage purpose, navigation, and promotional content.
  • Visual hierarchies, breadcrumbs, colour theory, CTAs, buttons, and fonts are all fundamental aspects of web design you’ll encounter and should be considered for all websites.

The design of your web­site can influ­ence users’ opin­ion of your com­pa­ny and ser­vices. WebEX research shows that 75% of web­site cred­i­bil­i­ty comes from its design.Your com­pa­ny’s web­site is like the store­front of your shop. When a poten­tial cus­tomer vis­its your web­site, they form a first impres­sion of your business.

Your audi­ence needs a few sec­onds on your web­site to decide whether to keep scrolling or press the back but­ton in their browser.

If your web­site is out­dat­ed or unap­peal­ing, or if peo­ple do not dis­cov­er proof that they’ll find what­ev­er they’re look­ing for, they’ll leave.

These are poten­tial lost leads, pure­ly due to the look of your website.

Table of content:

1.Common web­site design standards
1.1. Simplicity
   1.2. Func­tion­al navigation
1.3. Visu­al hierarchy
1.4. Web content
1.5. Graph­ics and images
1.6. Respon­sive design
2. Impor­tance of colour, fonts, and CTAs in your design
2.1. Colour usage and best practices
2.2. Font usage and best practices
2.3. CTA usage and best practices
3. The secret sauce to success
4. Web Design Process Checklist
5. 2021 Web Design Trends

Common website design standards

Every web­site has a pur­pose. Whether that is to bring brand aware­ness, sell a prod­uct or a ser­vice, or pro­vide valu­able information.

You need to focus on much more than just how good your web­site looks. You need to focus on usabil­i­ty. You need to focus on how easy your web­site is to nav­i­gate and make sure it ful­fills the pur­pose for which it was created.

Your web pages need to be obvi­ous and self-explana­to­ry, whether you’re cre­at­ing a sim­ple port­fo­lio web­site or a huge e‑Commerce project. 

To make that pos­si­ble, there are UI design stan­dards that are used by web design­ers to make sure users’ expec­ta­tions are met. These stan­dards, also known as web con­ven­tions, are indus­try-defined rules that can help when design­ing your website.


Don’t over­com­pli­cate your web­site design. No mat­ter how beau­ti­ful you want it to be, don’t for­get that peo­ple enter it to per­form a cer­tain action — to find infor­ma­tion, to buy a prod­uct, to reg­is­ter for a service.

Min­i­mal­ism can give your web­site a clean and ele­gant look. Less is often more.

An over­whelm­ing amount of ele­ments will only con­fuse your customers.

Con­stant­ly eval­u­ate each ele­ment through­out your web­pages. Are there any design ele­ments that don’t serve a pur­pose? If the answer is yes, remove them from the page.

Here is a great exam­ple of a sim­ple, effec­tive, and beau­ti­ful home­page design for Sus­pend­ed Cof­fees.

UI Design standards - Suspended coffees homepage

Functional navigation

Nav­i­ga­tion is one of the main ele­ments to pay atten­tion to. Unnec­es­sary clicks, com­pli­cat­ed menus, or miss­ing nav­i­ga­tion but­tons can hurt the con­ver­sion rate of a website.

Your goal is to make the nav­i­ga­tion intu­itive and as sim­ple as pos­si­ble, with­out over­sim­pli­fy­ing it. If the site is e‑Commerce, with many cat­e­gories and sub­cat­e­gories,focus on intu­itive­nessand ease of use, not on sim­pli­fy­ing, or you’ll risk remov­ing impor­tant ele­ments of your users’ journey.

Here are some practical tips for successful navigation:

  • Use nav­i­ga­tion labels. 

First­ly, use no more than 1–2 sim­ple words that are descrip­tive enough. It’s tempt­ing to use fun and mod­ern words, but you’re more like­ly to con­fuse your users. Make nav­i­ga­tion sim­ple, and engage your users with clever word­ing in the content.

  • Use bread­crumbs effec­tive­ly on web pages.

Bread­crumbs help users keep track of their path and take steps back when necessary.

  • Use nav­i­ga­tion in the foot­er of your website.

By adding a nav­i­ga­tion on the foot­er of your web­site, you make it easy for your web­site vis­i­tors to con­tin­ue explor­ing oth­er pages with­out mak­ing them scroll all the way up to the top of the page.

  • Use sim­ple pri­ma­ry navigation.

If you have sub-cat­e­gories and prod­uct pages you can add drop-down menus to bet­ter organ­ise your pages. In the pri­ma­ry nav­i­ga­tion add the most impor­tant links — no more than 5–6 pages.

Here is an exam­ple of our own navigation.

UI / UX design trends - navigation

As you can see, we pro­vide a lot of ser­vices. We want peo­ple to eas­i­ly nav­i­gate around. We want them to be able to learn a bit more about each ser­vice before even click­ing to assure them they’re head­ing to the page that offers them the right solution.

Visual hierarchy

We use visu­al hier­ar­chy to bet­ter organ­ise and arrange web­site ele­ments. Vis­i­tors will be able to bet­ter nav­i­gate around a web­site with ease, and focus their atten­tion on the most impor­tant ele­ments first.

The best way to achieve visu­al hier­ar­chy is to con­sid­er adding descrip­tive titles, head­ings, and but­tons. Make sure that they reflect the infor­ma­tion that the users are going to read on the web page. Add a table of con­tent in the side­bar or on top of your arti­cles to help users nav­i­gate eas­i­ly and find what­ev­er they are look­ing for. Take a look at an exam­ple from theCom­mon Sense Advi­sors web­site. You can see that the main head­ing is the most impor­tant ele­ment on the page and it’s quite large com­pared to the oth­er ele­ments. It draws the eye there fol­lowed by the call-to-action but­ton “Get­ting Started”.

visual design standards - common sence advisor


Web content

Con­tent is the most impor­tant ele­ment of every web­site. As already men­tioned, every web­site has a rea­son for exist­ing. The con­tent of the web­site includes all the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion to con­vince users to take action.

Read­ers may leave your web­site if there is too much infor­ma­tion, or there are no answers to impor­tant ques­tions. You have to make sure that each para­graph of text has a func­tion. Unnec­es­sary design ele­ments and irrel­e­vant text frus­trates users.

When work­ing on the con­tent cre­ation of your web­site, it’s impor­tant to always have your tar­get audi­ence in mind. Use words and phras­es that will res­onate with them and that they’ll understand.

Here is an exam­ple from our design ser­vice page.

We use a lan­guage that speaks direct­ly to our tar­get audi­ence. We visu­alise the con­tent as steps to make it more engag­ing and eas­i­er to read. Imag­ine if all this con­tent was just large blocks of text.

In that case, it would be dif­fi­cult and quite bor­ing to read. By seg­ment­ing the infor­ma­tion into sim­ple steps, and adding the visu­al­i­sa­tions, we made the process clear­er and eas­i­er to understand.

UX/UI design - purpleplanet use case

Graphics and images

Graph­ics, images, and mul­ti­me­dia are also impor­tant aspects of UI design. When it comes to using graph­ic ele­ments on your web­site the same rules apply.

  • They should be con­sis­tent through­out all of your pages
  • You should be care­ful not to over­whelm users with too many graph­i­cal elements.
  • Images can only help the user’s jour­ney if they con­vey the right message.

Place your com­pa­ny’s logo on the top of all your pages. Place it on the left side or in the mid­dle of your nav­i­ga­tion. Keep in mind that too many images will take longer to load, and risk vis­i­tors leav­ing before the site is ful­ly displayed.

Take a look at this exam­ple from the Sus­pend­ed Cof­fees website.

The images are com­ple­ment­ing the web­site’s aes­thet­ics and are con­vey­ing emo­tions. They sup­port the mes­sage that is writ­ten in the text — that leav­ing a sus­pend­ed cof­fee can lit­er­al­ly change some­one’s life. It’s inspiring.

Responsive design

Sta­tis­ta’s research shows that 55.64% of inter­net users are com­ing from mobile devices. Most of these users will leave your web­site if itloads too slow­ly or if it’s not dis­play­ing properly.

To pro­vide the best pos­si­ble expe­ri­ence for your users, your site must be com­pat­i­ble with a vari­ety of devices and resolutions:

  • Desk­top
  • Tablet
  • Mobile

This is called respon­sive design. The con­tent of the web­site is auto­mat­i­cal­ly changed and resized for the spec­i­fied res­o­lu­tion. To make this pos­si­ble, a dif­fer­ent design is usu­al­ly cre­at­ed for mobile devices with shift­ed ele­ments. Some sites turn off graph­ics on small­er screens to help them load faster or avoid end­less scrolling.

It is more impor­tant to pro­vide an excel­lent expe­ri­ence across all devices than to make the pages look identical.

Don’t for­get to test the site, not only on dif­fer­ent devices but also on dif­fer­ent inter­net browsers. Some ele­ments might not dis­play the same way on Google Chrome, Fire­fox, or Safari.

Check out how we present our ser­vices sec­tion on desk­top and mobile screens.

  1. We use sim­pli­fied icons on mobile.
  2. The descrip­tion of the ser­vices is also removed.
  3. There are “Learn More” but­tons you need to click to read more about the services.

Desktop VS Mobile UX design


When on a desk­top the design is more visu­al­ly appeal­ing, but this won’t work the same way on mobile devices.

Importance of colour, fonts, and CTAs in your design

Let’s dive deep­er into the best prac­tices of using ele­ments such as colour, fonts and CTAs (calls to action).

Colour usage and best practices

Colour is one of the most impor­tant ele­ments in web­site design. Colours increase your brand recog­ni­tion and help high­light impor­tant ele­mentson a website.

Let’s try a sim­ple test.
Check out these colours:

Google colour palette - colours in design

Can you rec­og­nize the brand? …If you guessed Google, you’re right!

Let’s try it again.  Check out this colour­ful gradient:

Colours in design - Instagram

Colours help define brand recognition. 

That is why the use of con­sis­tent colours across all mate­ri­als is impor­tant. Peo­ple will asso­ciate cer­tain colours with your brand with­out hav­ing to add a logo, com­pa­ny name, or a web­site link.

Using dif­fer­ent colours in your design evokes dif­fer­ent emo­tions. Here is a brief descrip­tion for each colour:

Red: pas­sion, love, active, strength

Orange: ener­gy, hap­pi­ness, success

Yel­low: joy, hope, fresh, optimism

Pink: youth­ful, roman­tic, com­pas­sion­ate, soft

Green: new begin­ning, nat­ur­al, peaceful

Blue: com­fort, calm, trust, reliability

Pur­ple: roy­al, wealth, creativity

White: clean­li­ness, puri­ty, modern

Black: bold, pow­er­ful, seri­ous, elegant

You can read more about the colours and the emo­tions they evoke here.

The colours you choose must rep­re­sent the emo­tions you’re try­ing to con­vey to your audi­ence. Base your brand colours on your tar­get audi­ence. What do they respond to? What do they like?

When com­ing up with a colour palette, think about the colour har­mo­ny. Start by choos­ing your dom­i­nant colour. For our brand, this is obvi­ous­ly pur­ple. Then start lay­er­ing your pal­lete. Choose sec­ondary colours that cor­re­spond well with your main colour. Coolors is a great tool you can use to build beau­ti­ful colour palettes.

Read more on how to effec­tive­ly use colours in your web design.

Font usage and best practices

Typog­ra­phy is the next impor­tant ele­ment on your web­site. Using fonts the right way can enhance the read­abil­i­ty, acces­si­bil­i­ty and the visu­al hier­ar­chy of your website.

Hier­ar­chy in typog­ra­phy helps you improve the read­abil­i­ty and the scannabil­i­ty of a web­page. Hier­ar­chy high­lights the most impor­tant pieces of text.

Use BIGGER, bold­er text for your most impor­tant mes­sages, val­ue propo­si­tions and head­lines. Peo­ple’s eyes will be nat­u­ral­ly drawn to them.

Check out the exam­ple below.

font sizes in website design

Which piece of text did you read first? Which one did you read last?

Hier­ar­chy can help you focus your users on ele­ments you want them to see.

Be care­ful when mix­ing dif­fer­ent types of fonts. Best prac­tice is to use a max­i­mum of two fonts on your web­site. One for head­ers and larg­er ele­ments and one for main content.

The font type you use for the main con­tent of your web­site should be easy to read. Avoid using serif and dec­o­ra­tive fonts.

Now imag­ine read­ing a 2000-word blog post on a top­ic of your inter­est. You’ll quit before you reach the middle.

These dec­o­ra­tive fonts are great for draw­ing atten­tion to your head­ers, but just don’t work on big para­graphs of text. Use sim­pler and eas­i­er to read fonts on your main con­tent, such as Ari­al, Open Sans or Lato.

Here are some sim­ple guide­lines you can fol­low to ensure your web­site is acces­si­ble and easy-to-read:

  • The min­i­mum text size on your web­site should be 16px, espe­cial­ly for text-heavy web pages.
  • The text must be able to be resized up to 200% with­out los­ing the abil­i­ty to read the con­tent. That’s why it’s not rec­om­mend­ed to use images that con­sist of a lot of text.
  • There must be a colour con­trast of at least 4.5:1 between your text and the back­ground colours. You can use this tool to test your web­site contrast.

CTA usage and best practices

A call-to-action (CTA) but­ton is an inter­ac­tive ele­ment that aims to induce web­site vis­i­tors to take a step in their jour­ney. For exam­ple sub­scrib­ing to an email list, buy­ing a prod­uct, or fill­ing a book­ing form / con­tact us form.

Here are some prac­ti­cal tips to cre­ate appeal­ing CTA buttons.

  • Use but­tons that look clickable
  • Use con­trast­ing colours
  • Use big­ger buttons

Use but­tons that look clickable

The main func­tion of a CTA but­ton is to be clicked, so you need to make them look interactive.

You can add 3D effects to make them stand out from the rest of the page. This is what we do on our website.

Ui design - buttons

You can also add a hov­er effect to your but­tons to show your users that some­thing will hap­pen once they click. You can change their colours, add tog­gle effects, move the arrows inside, make them swell a bit once hov­ered and more.

Use contrasting colours

The but­tons and the back­ground should be con­trast­ing enough so they can grab peo­ple’s atten­tion. Check out this exam­ple from theHealth­a­lyt­i­ca’s web­site.

bright CTAS matter in design

The only orange ele­ment in the hero sec­tion is the but­ton, and it stands out from all the oth­er UI elements.

Use bigger buttons

Make your CTAs big­ger and dis­tin­guish them from oth­er ele­ments. Larg­er but­tons have a bet­ter chance to be clicked than small­er ones.

The secret sauce to success

Now that we’ve dis­cussed the basics, let’s review two dif­fer­ent web­sites that incor­po­rate these principles.

Let’s start with Court­yards on Fifth.

Court­yards on Fifth is a 27-unit res­i­den­tial apart­ment devel­op­ment in Down­town Bay Shore, New York.

The web­site con­sists of one land­ing page that allows poten­tial buy­ers and renters to quick­ly reach the impor­tant parts of the website.

With sim­ple nav­i­ga­tion and sim­ple CTAs, users are enticed to take tours around the apart­ments andfill in the con­tact form once they find some­thing of interest.


Pop­ups are used to dis­play floor plans and tour videos, allow­ing for min­i­mal clut­ter on the site’s pages.

The web­site incor­po­rates all ele­ments of suc­cess­ful web design:

  • visu­al hier­ar­chy helps users nav­i­gate around easily;
  • the web­site is not over­ly clut­tered with unnec­es­sary elements;
  • colours, fonts and CTAs are used correctly.

The colours pro­vide a “sea front” look and feel to the web­site — some­thing airy, light, and water-relat­ed. The images con­vey emo­tions and help bet­ter con­vey the message.

Check out the full UI study here.

Let’s look at anoth­er website.

Organ­i­mal is an e‑Commerce com­pa­ny that intro­duces a unique line of nat­ur­al herbal sup­ple­ments for pets.

The e‑Commerce web­site is respon­sive on dif­fer­ent devices. Clear calls-to-action and a well thought out archi­tec­ture allow users to eas­i­ly browse the prod­ucts and make an order in no more than 3 clicks from the main page.

The bread­crumbs used on the prod­uct pages and the side­bar nav­i­ga­tion help users go from one cat­e­go­ry to anoth­er with just a sin­gle click. This helps them find what they need faster and users are more like­ly to pur­chase a product.

To reflect Organ­i­mal’s love and care for ani­mals and nature, the colour pal­lete is nat­ur­al and bright — grass green, earthy grey and a warm­ing sun­shine orange.

The prod­uct pages are descrip­tive. Own­ers are very pas­sion­ate about the health of their beloved pets, so they are real­ly care­ful when choos­ing prod­ucts for them. The prod­uct pages con­tain impor­tant infor­ma­tion such as detailed descrip­tions, how they are best used, when they are used, ingre­di­ents, proof of qual­i­ty pro­duc­tion and reviews from oth­er customers.

All this infor­ma­tion helps users to make an informed deci­sion whether to buy a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct or not.

Check out the full UI study here.

UI design stan­dards can be applied to all web­sites whether e‑commerce, ser­vice providers, or a blog. The secret sauce to suc­cess is the abil­i­ty to com­bine these three ele­ments together:

  • Visu­al­ly appeal­ing UI design
  • Func­tion­al design
  • Great mar­ket­ing strategy

These three things will strug­gle to be suc­cess­ful if used on their own.

A beau­ti­ful web­site is a waste if it is con­fus­ing and dif­fi­cult to use.

A well-struc­tured web­site that is the­o­ret­i­cal­ly easy to use is not effec­tive with­out prop­er use of colours, ele­ments, and visu­al hierarchy.

All the effort put into mak­ing a web­site is point­less if not com­bined with a good mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. After all, if no one knows about your web­site, it’s as if it does­n’t exist.

Web Design Process Checklist

web design process checklist

We have pre­pared a sep­a­rate arti­cle with a detailed overview of each step. You can read it here.

2021 Web Design Trends

Here are the most pop­u­lar trends in web­site design. We hope that this list will inspire you and help you approach your web­site design project more creatively.

Use of 3D illustrations

The use of illus­tra­tions in web design con­tin­ues to rise. This year, the focus is more on colour­ful 3D illus­tra­tions rather than 2D.

Use of retro fonts

use of retro fonts - ui trends 2021

Retro fonts are reap­pear­ing in web design, but they are more stylised, bold, colour­ful, and artsy.

Use of dark mode

White back­grounds have been stan­dard to ensure sim­ple and clean web­sites and to max­i­mize the read­abil­i­ty of a web­site, but design­ers are start­ing to add dark mode to var­i­ous apps and web­sites that enhance the con­trast and make the neon colours pop.

Use of mixed media and collages

The com­bi­na­tion of arranged pho­tos, illus­tra­tions, and hand­writ­ing fonts is gain­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty. These col­lages help to com­mu­ni­cate aes­thet­ics and mes­sages bet­ter. This cut-and-paste DIY look can be per­fect for cre­at­ing port­fo­lio websites.


For anoth­er year, min­i­mal­ism con­tin­ues to be one of the most pre­ferred meth­ods of design. The use of sim­ple shapes, unclut­tered images, less text, and a lot of emp­ty space is the recipe for a clean and min­i­mal look.

website trends 2021 - minimalism

And there you have it, the recipe for suc­cess­ful web design

In con­clu­sion, think of your web design as the inter­net face of your busi­ness. When some­one walks into the store, they expect to be greet­ed by a friend­ly per­son. A mod­ern and rel­e­vant web­site will give you just that. Take advan­tage of that and look to stand out from the competition.

It’s always excit­ing to work on design on your own but if you need pro­fes­sion­al advice and assis­tance in design­ing and devel­op­ing beau­ti­ful and func­tion­al web­sites, feel free to con­tact us.

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      To order the service package you’ve chosen, please fill in the form and we’ll get in touch with you soon.