Web Design in 2023: Aesthetics vs. Performance

Web Design in 2023: Aesthetics vs. Performance

What makes a great web design in 2023? Is it all about aesthetics and beauty, or is it more about performance!?

The short answer is that a good web design resides in an area in between. At the end of the day, users want a good experience on your site, but not at the expense of their time and often internet data…

Users want their content loaded fast & they’re not invested in waiting tens of seconds just so your website can load properly.

This makes the only way to win at web design in 2023 is to balance the needle between aesthetics and performance (with a little bias towards performance..!).

And I am not talking about balancing aesthetics and performance just because I feel like it. According to a study about web design aesthetics, both the aesthetic and performance factors are important for web design considerations.

So, let's look at each of these factors in detail to create a perfectly balanced web design:

5 key elements to make an aesthetically pleasing site

What makes a website aesthetically pleasing to visitors? Here's a list of 5 key elements that will help you make a good-looking site:

1. Colors

As humans, we have associated certain feelings and emotions with colors, as color psychology tells us. So, be sure to use the right colors on your site to deliver a good user experience & to influence the visitors.

For example, the red color attracts visitors' attention toward a certain area of your site and creates a sense of urgency. That’s ‘cause it’s associated with danger, stop, and other cultural assignments. On the other hand, use cool colors (blue & green) to induce a calming effect; again, those colors are found in calming natural landscapes and views.

The use of colors shouldn't only be limited to evoking a certain feeling or emotion in the visitors... The overall color combination of different site elements should be picked to make it look good.

For example, the green and yellow colors look good when used separately. But when they are used together, it can make your site look unprofessional.

Some of the other poor color combinations to avoid are:

  • Orange & Brown
  • Green & Red
  • Yellow & Purple
  • Navy & Black
  • Purple & Red
  • Green & Yellow

2. Alignment

All the different elements on your site should be consistently aligned and balanced.

When discussing alignment, you may automatically assume that it is limited to the alignment of text & images. In reality, it means the alignment of your entire web design blocks and all the elements that fall into it.

This doesn’t just improve the visual appeal of your design & make it easy for visitors to scan through the pages but also sends sound signals to Google’s crawlers about your overall consistency levels.

Overall, it also contributes to a seamless navigation experience, as everything appears balanced & doesn't interrupt the flow.

For example, if your landing page's headline and other elements are center-aligned, then it makes to also center-align any submission form.

Similarly, adding two images side by side with different sizes will also not look balanced. On the other hand, using the same image size will help your web design look much better.

3. Structured content

The content on your site should be appropriately structured to improve the visitors' flow and make it easy to find information.

The easiest way to achieve this is to include headings and sub-headings (hierarchy) in your content (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.). Usually, the H1 is reserved for the heading, while the H2s and the H3s are used for sub-headings. Similarly, the critical information could be highlighted with a different background color or bold text.

And if you are discussing a complex subject, you can use bullet points and include a glossary.

4. White Space

Don't be in the race to fill out every white space on your website. When we discuss white space, it doesn't just mean white-colored space... It is just a term to describe empty space between different site elements.

By including white space between site elements, you can retain your visitor's attention without overwhelming them. In addition, it achieves a calming effect without trying to cover every pixel on your site.

A site that doesn't correctly employ white space can make it difficult for visitors to focus on the critical message.

In short, you should consider white space an essential commodity in your web design!

5. Images

Use images on your site to make the content more visually appealing & to attract the visitor's attention. There's a reason why 67% of B2B marketers relied on the use of infographics... It is just easy to digest information for the visitor & can make it fun to read information rather than plain boring text.

So, try to add spark to your site via diagrams, photography, illustrations, and stunning background images. For example, the WWF website includes wildlife pictures throughout its homepage to convey its message & it just looks fantastic.

5 key Elements to improve website performance

Now let's take a closer look at how you can improve the performance of your site without compromising the good looks:

1. Use browser caching

Take advantage of browser caching on your site to cut down the page loading time. And when the page loading time is reduced, it will automatically improve the page speed!

Here's a little example to understand how browser caching works:

When a visitor opens a website, the browser downloads all the contents needed to display it to them. This includes the images, videos, CSS, scripts, etc. Now, when the same visitor opens your site again, the browser requests all of these resources again.

But when browser caching is used, the website resources are only requested once. And when the visitor opens your site the next time, the browser doesn't request any additional information as it’s already stored in the browser’s cache. This makes the website load fast & thus improves the performance.

2. GZIP Compression

Besides enabling the browser cache (on the client side), another way to improve performance is to enable compression on the server side.

GZIP compression is used to compress all the website resources on the server side. The compressed resources are sent to the browser when the visitor opens your site. These resources are then uncompressed by the client's browser & the website is loaded.

GZIP compression on its own can be used to decrease the size of a website. And when coupled with browser caching, it leads to a significant performance improvement.

3. Reduce HTTP requests

Sending more HTTP requests means an increase in the site loading time. This can lead to a drop in your site's performance & affects the user experience.

Accordingly, another way to improve your site's performance is to reduce the number of HTTP requests on your website. This practice involves a comprehensive audit of your site resources to determine which requests can be skipped.

When working on reducing the HTTP requests, try to look at the CSS, pictures, videos, and scripts. Many times, there are also various plugins on your site that are not needed.

By removing these plugins, you can achieve your goal of enhanced performance.

4. Use CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Out of all the tips mentioned above, using CDN is the easiest way to improve your site's performance. The term "CDN" stands for Content Delivery Network, a distributed servers network used to deliver content to visitors.

Let's say that a visitor from Germany wants to access your site that is hosted in the USA. In this case, a CDN network will use one of its servers in Germany to send the website's resources to the user quickly. This leads to decreased loading time and therefore, a significant increase in performance.

5. Use less Javascript

The use of JavaScript on websites has increased significantly over the years. But JS can still be used to add functionality to websites & is even used to make full-fledged web applications.

However, we also can't deny the fact that too many JS scripts on your site can also increase page loading times. At times, it can even make the website unresponsive if the visitor's system isn't powerful enough. Accordingly, another easy yet powerful method to improve your site's performance is to use less JavaScript!

Deciding whether to go for a website with a creative web design or rather a website with fast speed and great performance...

To sum it up

There's no need to join a particular thought camp when it comes to the website's aesthetic vs. performance. In fact, you can try to balance both of these to deliver a truly amazing user experience (UX).

We have already mentioned various pointers through which you can achieve optimal performance without compromising on good looks!

If that still seems a bit challenging for you or you just don’t have a team to take care of the technical side of your business… feel free to shoot us an email or contact us, and we’re good to go!

Written by

Hamid NOUASRIAJune 21, 2023

I am the CEO and founder of Overmentality. I am a professional business and technical blogs writer and on-page SEO specialist. I hold a degree in Culture Studies and Media Literacy from the English Humanities and Art Department. And I am interested in Digital Marketing, Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and pets of course!

You can reach me via email hair: hamiid@overmentality.com

Or find me on my LinkedIn Profile.


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