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Web 2.0 Design Guide

In this tutorial, I describe various common graphic design elements in modern web “2.0” design style.

I then attempt to explain why they work (i.e. why they have become common), as well as how, when and where you might use each element in your designs.

It follows on from my Current Style article, and analyses in greater depth the design features of the current “Web 2.0″ design style.

To learn how to design Web2.0 sites yourself, you must read “Save the Pixel – The Art of Simple Web Design”, which is a comprehensive guidebook to the principles and techniques of Web2.0 design.

Summary of Best Web Design Features

The list below is a summary of many of the common features of typical “Web 2.0″ sites.

Clearly, a site doesn’t need to exhibit all these features to work well, and displaying these features doesn’t make a design “2.0” – or good!

I’ve already addressed some of these factors in my introductory Current Style article. Also note my article on Real Web2.0 Design, which explains that the essence of Web2.0 design isn’t surface graphical effects but the discipline of simplicity.

Best Website Design? Disclaimer

Not all these design features are appropriate in all cases. There are always exceptions, and there are lots of bad examples of these features being used wrongly, over-used, or done without sensitivity to the “symphony” of a site’s design.

You can’t just take all these elements, throw them together and make a good web page, any more than you can take some eggs, sugar, flour and throw them together and get a cake.

Making a web page that works requires a lot of sensitivity to the various forces at work. A good design solution is one that balances those (often opposing) forces.

Web 2.0 ?!

I’m using the term “Web 2.0 design” to describe the prevailing style of the best web design I introduced in my current style article.

Many people use the term “Web 2.0″ to describe:

  • a resurgence in the web economy
  • a new level of technological interactivity between web sites and services
  • or social phenomena deriving from new types of online communities and social networks

Many others also use the term in reference to a recent school of best-practice web design. I’m comfortable with using it in that context here.

In sociological terms, movements impact people on many levels: economic, cultural, political, etc. Is skate-punk about entertainment and sport, music and the music industry, fashion, or the breakdown of society?

Best Web Design Features

I’m going to take you through the features of the current wave of the best website designs, dissect the most significant features, explain why each one can be good, and show you how to use them in your own sites.

If I had to sum up “Web 2.0″ design in one word, it would have to be “simplicity”, so that’s where we’ll start.

I’m a great believer in simplicity. I think it’s the way forward for web design.

Today’s simple, bold, elegant page designs deliver more with less:

  • They enable designers to shoot straight for the site’s goals, by guiding the site visitor’s eye through the use of fewer, well-chosen visual elements.
  • They use fewer words but say more, and carefully selected imagery to create the desired feel.
  • They reject the idea that we can’t guess what people want from our sites

1. Simplicity

“Use as few features as are necessary to achieve what you need to achieve”

Web design is simpler than ever, and that’s a good thing.

2.0 design means focused, clean and simple.

That doesn’t necessarily mean minimalist, as I’ll explain later.

I really believe in simplicity. That’s not to say that all websites should be minimal, but that we should use as few features as are necessary to achieve what you need to achieve.

I’ve written elsewhere about Occam’s Razor, which is a principle I use all the time. One way of interpreting it is: Given any two possible solutions to a problem, the simpler one is better.

Here are some examples. Note how unnecessary elements have been stripped out from each. There could be a lot more on each page than there is… but would that make them stronger?

The result is that you have to look at the content. You find yourself interacting with exactly the screen features the designer intended. And you don’t mind – it’s easy, and you get just what you came for.

Here’s a great case in point. Atlas Software help businesses with cloud software solutions. Their website tells you exactly what you need to know, with very little decoration or unnecessary visual information. The content comes through.

More examples of simple design

Mozilla store
Medicon Media

 

Simplebits
Artypapers
Real Meat

Why simplicity is best

  • Web sites have goals and all web pages have purposes.
  • Users’ attention is a finite resource.
  • It’s the designer’s job to help users to find what they want (or to notice what the site wants them to notice)
  • Stuff on the screen attracts the eye. The more stuff there is, the more different things there are to notice, and the less likely a user is to notice the important stuff.
  • So we need to enable certain communication, and we also need to minimise noise. That means we need to find a solution that’s does its stuff with as little as possible. That’s economy, or simplicity.

When & how to make your designs simple

When?

Always!

How?

There are two important aspects to achieving success with simplicity:

  1. Remove unnecessary components, without sacrificing effectiveness.
  2. Try out alternative solutions that achieve the same result more simply.

“It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
Terre des hommes, 1939

Whenever you’re designing, take it as a discipline consciously to remove all unnecessary visual elements.

Concentrate particularly on areas of the layout that are less relevant to the purpose of a page, because visual activity in these areas will distract attention from the key content and navigation.

Use visual detail – whether lines, words, shapes, colour – to communicate the relevant information, not just to decorate.

Here’s an example of a design that suffers from not enough simplicity.

Yaxay’s interface uses a lot of pixels, but the vast majority of them are decorative, part of the page background. Relatively few pixels are used to user to find or understand information or interact with the site.

Yaxay is busy and ineffective
Yaxay detail

See how much “stuff” there is to look at, and notice how few of the pixels are used to clarify actual navigation, actual content, or actual interactive features.

Edward Tufte is the boss when it comes to the design of information. He uses the terms “data ink” (i.e. detail that enables information transfer) and “non-data ink” (i.e. detail that’s just detail) to describe this phenomenon.

One way Tufte specifically measures the effectiveness of information design (graphs, charts, presentations etc.) is using the ratio of data-ink to non-data-ink. The higher the proportion of data-ink used, the more likely it is that a design is effective.

Taking the Yaxay detail above, there’s a lot of what I call “busyness”, i.e. a lot of edges, tonal changes, colour variations, shapes, lines… a lot of stuff to look at. But, in this detail, the only useful features are:

  1. The site logo, and
  2. the label on the nav button (which reads “art gallery”)

All the rest of the “busyness”: the shapes in the background, the diagonal lines in the interface panel, the grid, the gradients… all this is noise, it’s all “non-data ink”, because it’s not enabling communication.

I’m not against richness, complexity or beauty in web design

Simplicity means:

Use as many pixels as you need, in whatever way you need, to facilitate the communication that needs to happen.

Of course, often what you’re communicating isn’t hard data, but soft information.

Hard data
means facts, like news, stock prices, train times, or how much money is in your bank account…
Soft information
covers the qualitative aspects of communication, like the first impression about the quality of a company, the sense of how approachable a service provider is, and whether you feel a product will be right for you. It can be just as important!

Whether what you’re communicating is hard or soft, your pixels count, so use them consciously and with care.

Take the example below:

Alex Dukal, illustrator

Alex Dukal’s site is rich, interesting and appealing. It uses a range of visual techniques to draw your attention, make you interested and to give you a warm feeling about the quality of Alex’s work.

But it’s also simple, because it uses its pixels/ink/busyness with care and sensitivity. It’s not gratuitous, it’s economical and rich. That’s why it’s in my personal list of best website designs.

Whatever you’re saying, choose wisely where you use your ink/pixels. Use it to communicate, first and foremost. Then, ask whether you can communicate just as effectively with less. If so, do it.

2. Central layout

(More about this on the Current Style page). Basically, the vast majority of sites these days are positioned centrally within the browser window. Relatively few are full-screen (liquid) or left-aligned / fixed-size, compared to a few years ago.

Why a central layout is good

This “2.0” style is simple, bold and honest. Sites that sit straight front & center feel more simple, bold and honest.

Also, because we’re being more economical with our pixels (and content), we’re not as pressurised to cram as much information as possible above the waterline/fold.

We’re using less to say more, so we can be a bit more free and easy with the amount of space used, and pad out our content with lots of lovely white space.

When & how to use a central layout

I’d say, position your site centrally unless there’s a really good reason not to.

You may be wanting to get more creative with the space, or get as much information on-screen as possible (for example with a web app).

Example, QVision Lasik

My design for this Lasik vision correction surgeon in Arizona has a light grey page background, which doesn’t draw the eye, so focus turns to the stronger colours, tones, and shapes in the content itself.

QVision, lasik surgeon Arizona AZ

3. Fewer columns

A few years ago, 3-column sites were the norm, and 4-column sites weren’t uncommon. Today, 2 is more common, and 3 is the mainstream maximum.

Why using fewer columns is good

Less is more. Fewer columns feels simpler, bolder, and more honest. We’re communicating less information more clearly.

There’s also a by-product of the domination of centered layouts. Because we’re not filling the whole screen so much, and not trying to get as much on-screen at any one time, we simply don’t need as many columns of information.

37 Signals' home page

37Signals have always been at the front when it comes to questioning the status quo and coming up with simple answers.

Here, they use 2 columns. This a great case study in simplicity. It lets the message speak, and adds nothing that could get in the way.

Apple Expo

Apple is the other leader in elegant simplicity.

This kind of layout works really, really well. Each time I experience Apple’s simple design, the more convinced I become that its zen approach is the holy grail of design.

This typical Apple layout shows that someone has honestly asked, “How many boxes/columns/lines do we really need?”. Then they’ve boldly edited out unnecessary elements, and the result is undeniably the cleanest, most effective communication.

How to choose your columns

I’d definitely recommend using no more than 3 columns, simply because you should use no more of anything than you need to.

There are always exceptions, so here are a few examples of more than 3 columns used effectively.

Derek Powazek's blog

Derek Powazek’s blog site uses 3 columns for the main section of his blog, but 4 lower down.

The lower section is a kind of pick & mix, where the abundance of columns emphasises the “Take what you like” feel.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon (UK) has two side columns, and products arranged centrally in 3 additional columns.

It works beacuse the purpose of each column is clear from its design. The left col is definitely navigation; the right column is “other stuff”. The products in the middle are clearly tiled and separated by white space, so they don’t overwhelm.

Popurls.com screenshot

Popurls.com contains loads of pick-n-mix information, collating the hot links from other sites like digg and del.icio.us, but it still keeps to 3 columns for the main blocks of text.

Further down, it shows thumbnails of popular images on the photo-sharing site Flickr (and there are Youtube vids later). These are tiled in several columns, which is fine, because it’s a sit-back, scan and pick your experience moment…

And here’s a site that gets it wrong…

All things web 2.0 has 2 much

Here’s All Things Web2.0 using 4 columns: 2 side columns and 2 central columns.

The downside of this layout is that you don’t know where to start looking. Everything is somehow low-priority (partly because of the darkish background).

As we saw, Amazon differentiates the page to this extent, but the design helps you instantly identify what each area of screen real-estate is for, so it’s not confusing.

4. Separate top sections

This means making the top of the screen (the main branding & nav area) distinct from the rest (the main content).

Of course, there’s nothing new about this approach. It’s a good idea, and has been used for ever. But it’s being used more than ever now, and the distinction is often stronger.

See how clear the “page-tops” are in these 6 samples, even at small scale:

Simplebits
Mozilla store
Medicon Media
Curve2
Tony Yoo's Protolize

Why distinct top sections are good

The top section says “Here’s the top of the page”. Sounds obvious, but it feels good to know clearly where the page starts.

It also starts the site/page experience with a strong, bold statement. This is very “2.0”-spirited. I like strong, simple, bold attitude. Definitely best web design practice.

2 of these top-sections contain just branding (Protolize, Mediconmedia), 1 has just navigation (Cross Connector), and the remaining 3 have both.

The weakness of Cross Connector, in my view, is that the logo comes after the nav. I prefer the nav to be high-up, and clear (like e.g. Simple Bits).

When & how to use a distinct top section

On any site, both the main branding and main navigation should be obvious, bold and clear. So it’s a good idea to create a clear space at the top of a web site design that positions the logo and nav boldly.

Always put your logo right up the top of the screen. I’d always recommend putting your main navigation right after it. It’s definitely a good thing to mark the top of the page with a section that marks out the high-level screen features as separate from the main site content.

The top section should be visually distinct from the rest of the page content. The strongest way to differentiate is to use a bold, solid block of different colour or tone, but there are alternatives.

Here are 2 examples where the top section is separated with a solid line, rather than being solid colour itself.

London Pain Consultants
Ex Blogs

And here, the top section contents simply sit boldly outside the main column area.

Aurum Newtech
Steinruck Design

5. Solid areas of screen real-estate

Leading on from the clearly differentiated top area, you’ll notice that lots of sites define the various areas of real-estate boldly and clearly.

Real estate comes in various forms, including:

  • Navigation
  • Background / canvas
  • Main content area
  • Other stuff
  • Callouts / cross-links

It’s possible to design a web page so that these areas are immediately distinct from their neighbours.

The strongest way to do this is using colour.

Medicon Media
Jeremy Boles' blog
Ex Blogs
Curve2

But white space can be just as effective.

The risk with strong colour is that it draws the eye, so it can take attention away from other relevant screen elements. I think that placing clean content on white space creates an easier experience, helping the viewer to feel more relaxed and free to browse.

Apple Expo
Etre

6. Simple nav

Permanent navigation – your global site nav that appears on every page as part of the page template – needs to be clearly identifiable as navigation, and should be easy to interpret, target and select.

  • 2.0 design makes global navigation large, bold, clean and obvious.
  • Inline hyperlinks (links within text) are typically clearly differentiated from normal text.
Navigation from TradingEye
Navigation from Cross Connector
Navigation from Mozilla
Navigation from London Pain Consultants
Navigation from Protolize

Why simple navigation is better

Users need to be able to identify navigation, which tells them various important information:

  • Where they are (in the scheme of things)
  • Where else they can go from here
  • And what options they have for doing stuff

Following the principle of simplicity, and general reduction of noise, the best ways to clarify navigation are:

  • Positioning permanent navigation links apart from content
  • Differentiating navigation using colour, tone and shape
  • Making navigation items large and bold
  • Using clear text to make the purpose of each link unambiguous

How to keep your nav simple

Simply remember the key: navigation should be clearly distinguishable from non-navigation.

Just follow the best design practice guidelines above, regarding differentiation through position, colour and clarity.

My article about navigation »

Inline hyperlinks should also stand out sufficiently from the text around them.

Check out these snippets. In each case, you’re in no doubt what’s a link. (Personally, I prefer using blue text (non-underlined) which turns to underlined red on hover…)

7. Bold logos

A clear, bold, strong brand – incorporating attitude, tone of voice, and first impression – is helped by a bold logo.

Here are some (100% scale). Notice that logos are tending to be quite large, in line with the general 2.0 principles.

Collection of strong logos

Why?

Strong, bold logos say “This is who we are.” in a way that we can believe.

When & how?

See my articles on logos and text-based logos.

It’s very hard to say how to create a good logo, but in brief…

Your logo should:

  • work visually in its main context, and any other uses in which it may be used (like flyers or t-shirts?)
  • be recognisable and distinctive
  • represent your brand‘s personality and qualities on first viewing

More info…

8. Bigger text

Lots of the best designed “2.0” web sites have big text, compared to older-style sites.

If you fill the same amount of space with less “stuff”, you have more room.

When you’ve made more room, you can choose to make more important elements bigger than less important elements (if they’re still there).

Making things bigger makes them more noticeable than lesser elements. This effect has been used throughout the history of print design, on headings, title pages and headlines.

Not only does big text stand out, but it’s also more accessible to more people. That’s not just people with visual impairments, but also people looking on LCD screens in sunlight, on their phones, people sitting a little further from the screen, and people just skimming the page. If you think about it, that could be quite a lot of people!

Browse Happy
37 Signals' home page
Mozilla store
Aurum Newtech

When & how to use big text

Big text makes most pages more usable for more people, so it’s a good thing.

Of course, size is relative. You can’t take a normal, busy site, make ALL the text bigger, and make it more usable. That might not work, that might be worse.

For best results, in order to use big text, you have to make room by simplifying and removing unnecessary elements.

You also need to haave a reason to make some text bigger than other text. And the text must be meaningful and useful. There’s no point adding some big text just because it’s oh-so 2.0!

If you need to have a lot of information on a page, and it’s all relatively equal in importance, then maybe you can keep it all small.

9. Bold text introductions

Leading on from the big text theme, many sites lead with strong all-text headline descriptions.

These normally set out the site’s USP, elevator pitch or main message.

They tend to be graphical, rather than regular text. The reason for this is that designers want a lot of control over the page’s visual impact, especially early on in a browsing experience.

Apple.com
37 Signals' home page
Ex Blogs
Cross Connector

When & how to use a bold text intro

Only use one if you’ve got something bold to say. v (If you haven’t got something bold to say, maybe it’s worth having a think about the purpose of your page/site and coming up with somethign worth saying boldly!)

If you have a simple message that you want to be seen first, go ahead and headline it. Make it clear by putting it against a relatively plain background.

10. Strong colours

Bright, strong colours draw the eye. Use them to divide the page into clear sections, and to highlight important elements.

When you have a best-practice simple, stripped-out design, you can use a bit of intense colour to help differentiate areas of real-estate and to draw attention to items you want the visitor to notice.

Treo mobile

The Treo Mobile site uses 3 areas of strong colour to mark out and advertise 3 main areas of the site.

The background colour makes it clear that this isn’t main content, and large, bold title text helps you see quickly what’s in each one, so you can decide whether it interests you.

Colorschemer

Colorschemer sections the page with bands of intense, bright, cheerful colour, set against a more neutral background.

Apple.com home

Apple’s design has always used a great balanced combination of tone (darks), rich effects and colour to draw the eye.

It may be, overall, the best website design there is, in my opinion.

In this image, the intense dark areas and strong colour are used sparingly to pick out important content.

Colour is also a great medium for communicating brand values

Real Meat

Here, the colour isn’t bright, but it is strong, partly because of the amount of green used.

This design uses green to communicate the values of “quality” and “health”.

Note: site design doesn’t match this image!

Gear for girls

This site sells outdoor clothes exclusively for females, and the soft colours reinforce the chosen brand personality.

Be careful to use intense colour on or around high-value features

Giddy Kippa

A nice, effective page design is compromised by the use of large areas of intense colour outside the main page area.

The result is that the eye is drawn away from the real content.

Aurum Newtech

The Aurum Newtech site risks the same effect, but the colour is just pale enough to keep the content noticeable.

Also, the big, bold and well-spaced content elements help draw attention away from the “attractive” background.

Remember to use sparingly

If you’re using strong colours to attract the eye, it only works if there’s lots of area that isn’t strongly coloured.

If everything is trying to attract the eye, then the eye just gets confused, and the site will feel confusing and chaotic.

11. Rich surfaces

Most 2.0-style sites use subtle 3D effects, sparingly, to enhance the qualitative feel of the design.

We all know that these little touches just feel nice, but we may not know why.

Realistic surface effects (like drop-shadows, gradients and reflections) help make a visual interface feel more real, solid and “finished”.

They may also remind us of certain tactile or aesthetic qualities of real-world objects, such as water droplets, shiny plastic buttons, and marble floors. Making stuff look solid and real can make it look “touchable”, which is likely to appeal.

apple best web design good web design surface surface design web example of best web design surface texture web design

When & how to use rich surfaces

The golden rule here is to use with care, and not to overdo it.

As I explain in the tutorial on 3D Effects, these effects should not be applied to everything.

Like any of these techniques, a rich surface may add value to your design when used sensitively and appropriately.

If your navigation/icon/logo/layout sucks fundamentally, you can’t polish your way out. Get the fundamentals right first.

It can also be important to maintain a consistent light-source. Although this can get more complex with the illusion of back-lit diffusion in buttons etc., you still know whether an overall design feels consistent.

3D effects can also make elements seem to stand out from the page, but only if the rest of the page is relatively flat.

Avoid trying to make your entire design 3D-realistic because:

  • It’s more work
  • It will increase the overall size of the page assets
  • And you don’t need to. 3D effects use lots of different pixels, and different pixels should be used deliberately to draw the visitor’s attention to key content elements, or to enhance “soft” informational aspects. A little goes a long way.

12. Gradients

Sometimes it seems the best Web 2.0 design has more gradients than the Alps! (although this trend is diminishing over time).

Why Gradients are so Useful in Best Web Design

Gradients soften areas that would otherwise be flat colour/tone.

Artypapers

They can create the illusion of a non-flat surface, used to good effect on Alex Dukal’s portfolio.

Aurum homepage

Gradients can be used to fade a colour into a lighter or darker tone, which can help create mood.

Artypapers

In page backgrounds, they may also create an illusion of distance.

A common gradient combo is blue-to-white, which evokes the effect of aerial perspective, creating the sense that the background fades away towards the horizon.

They are commonly used at the very top of page backgrounds, where they help denote the boundary of the viewable area.

Colorschemer Alex Dukal, illustrator

They’re also an integral part of drop-shadows, and the inner-glows and specular highlights you see on glass- or plastic-style buttons.

Note that gradients usually work best when juxtaposed with areas of flat colour or tone.

Curve2

On the Curve2 homepage, the gradients are more effective because each one is positioned adjacent to a flat white or grey section.

It’s common to find gradients enhancing the base colour (using mix effects like color-burn or overlay in Photoshop), which create subtly different hues.

Here, the highlighted green colour is warmer and friendlier than the darker base colour. The overall effect is both softer and richer.

13. Reflections

The illusion of reflection is one of the most common applications on gradients.

These commonly come in 2 kinds:

  • Highlights caused by light reflecting on shiny surfaces
  • That shiny table effect!

Specular highlights

Realistic effects of water droplets, glass beads, shiny plastic buttons etc. have been very popular over the past couple of years.

I don’t know where the trends started, but Apple’s web site must have been one of the most influential, preceding their Aqua interface look & feel.

Here are some examples:

The classic Apple.com shiny plastic tabs, still in use today.

These use highlights caused by a light source above the tabs, combined with an inner, diffuse glow that creates the plastic effect.

These tabs, from one of my recent redesigns, have a polished (from the strong white highlight) carbon-fibre appearance. The carbon effect comes from the warm diagonal-stroke pattern from the icon’s glow.

More nice shiny plastic. Notice how the reflections fall off at the edge of the shape, which create the illusion of rounded edges.

Similar effect on a square shape looks like a badge.

The non-horizontal angle creates a sense of dynamism.

This shiny button from cafepress.com uses a rounded reflection that suggests a wide light source coming off a rounded surface.

This button from web hosts Mediatemple has a more diffuse reflection, suggesting a matt glass finish.

That shiny table effect!

One of the best website design features, pioneered by Apple again (I’m sure). This is a really nice effect which is so prevalent now, it’s in danger of being overused, now starting to look tired and is falling out of favour with designers.

Remember, of course, that web designers are usually more sensitive to these things, so even if we’re getting turned off by it, the general public may still think it’s cool for some time to come.

The standard Apple look. Greyed-out and fading on a white base.

On a coloured background

Fading out to either side (my one this, not published yet)

More extreme angle, and a rich layered effect reflecting the colour of the solid object

Here’s how to do it (from photoshoplab.com) »

14. Cute icons

Icons play an important role in Web 2.0 design. Today we use fewer, better icons that carry more meaning.

Icons can be useful when they’re easily recognisable and carry a clear meaning. In lots of other cases, a simple word is more effective.

In the old days, icons were sometimes overused. It seemed that everyone wanted an icon for every navigation link or tab. Now, we use clear text more extensively, and are less ready to litter a page with icons.

Where 2.0 designers do employ icons, they are reserved for higher-value spots, where .

Simpler, more spacious designs demand less attention and allow for a richer icons.

Some examples, demonstrating various attributes.

Simple and clean

Cute and quirky

Do not necessarily have to feature tiny hills!

37 Signals Overture

Richly detailed

Creatively inspired by Mac OSX. See Enhanced Labs for a great showcase.

15. Star flashes

These are the star-shaped labels that you see stuck on web pages, alerting you to something important.

They work by evoking price stickers in low-cost stores. For this reason, they suit the start-up ethic of many 2.0 sites, but for the same reason may cheapen other sites.

They can really work well, but of course should only be used to draw attention to something important.

I’d recommend only using one on a page (at most!).

Another style that’s seeming over-used, and will probably run its course over the next year.

Also see…

Yes! You Can Design Like a Pro…

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben is the creator of Web Design From Scratch. He started writing articles about web design to kill time on a long train commute, and is now one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written three books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.

budomate - 4 years ago

yes, really useful article, thanks for that!

Sahil - 4 years ago

Absolutely brilliant.

I will definitely apply these principles and try to improve my own startup website (www.phonecurry.com) – because design is the one thing it is seriously lacking :(

But I am trying to figure out my way and your article has been very helpful!

Chris Ryan - 4 years ago

I much enjoyed this as a 2.0 primer. Thanks!!!

jayson - 4 years ago

Very useful Thanks alot…

Muhammad Salman - 4 years ago

nice and helpful article.

cfollymacher - 4 years ago

Very impressed with the depth of this article. Thank you very, very much for doing this.

Israel - 4 years ago

Loved it. I’m a hopeful webdesigner and developer, constantly looking to improve. Style is probably my biggest struggle.

This was a great guide and I can’t wait to work on another website to try to put some of it to use!

meow - 4 years ago

Not a fan of big fonts.
Big letters like the ones on your mainpage require eye movement to take in the whole world and I tend to ignore text, that is too big x_X

Henrik - web designer in Perth - 4 years ago

I am definitely a fan of two column web designs for business websites where the key, for most of my clients, is to give maximum focus to the key message(s)…the lefthand column being prime here and the righthand column used for lesser content. Three column designs are fine for more magazine style blog-based sites.

Oh, and I’m huge a lover of white space in design – one of the easiest ways to achieve simplicity and focus IMO.

Jim - 4 years ago

This is a very well prepared article and guide. I appreciate your time and effort to create this piece. It has been a very good third party reference for our clients who waffle on decisions.
Thanks!

Dee - 4 years ago

I was sent here by a designer to clarify Web 2.0

This is a fantastic article which clearly defines the main points of a Web2.0 style.

It will be put to good use on my new site.

Daniel - 2Soft - 4 years ago

Congratulations for your article! I’ll recommend to all my web designers to read it!

Tks!

Cyrill - 4 years ago

You really given some right points! thanks a lot for this article. I’ll recommend to all my teammates!

Abhijit Soman - 4 years ago

The basics are crystal clear thanks a lot.

Sudath - 4 years ago

That is really good article for web designers
thanks

Latitudes - 4 years ago

Fantastic article! Im a junior web designer, and i have learned many things of web design from this article.

Thank you

lemonfresh:design - 4 years ago

WOW!! What an informative article.. Thanks for the time spent writing it.

Lisa - 4 years ago

Very nicely written article. Provides all the minute details about web 2.0 designs. I myself am a hardcore fan of these designs. Have bookmarked your site. Keep up the good work.

fredo - 4 years ago

I’m trying to build my first website. This is a great website for helping me ensure my website looks as professional as possible – especially the style tips. Thanks!

Gamblino - 4 years ago

Great article! Really useful summary that will be very helpful, much appreciated.

AssuranceWeb - 4 years ago

It will really help a lot giving us readers more great facts to keep and where we can use it as reference.I actually looking for a site like this, and glad having and reading this post.

Jenni - 4 years ago

found this to be a practical, engaging article. And more comprehensive that i expected. Thanks

KC - 4 years ago

Aside from couple of typos, very good and straight to the point article. Thank you.

Mel - 4 years ago

Very helpful, I am designing a webpage as one of the core components of my study, and this is a great guide for what to do, and what not to do to make your webpage look professional. Thanks :)

Titus - 4 years ago

Really interesting and helpful article. I have read it carefully, make sure no parts of it missing. Thanks…

freebiejeebies - 4 years ago

Thanks that’s a great article, will bookmark this!

Vertu Phone - 4 years ago

found this to be a practical, engaging article. And more comprehensive that i expected. Thanks

Luxury Phone - 4 years ago

Really useful summary that will be very helpful, much appreciated.

Nokia Vertu - 4 years ago

This is a great website for helping me ensure my website looks as professional as possible

legal service - 4 years ago

Thanks a lot! We will use this guide in our future redesigned site.

Mohammad Raihan Mazumder - 4 years ago

What is the WEB 2.0??

ID - 4 years ago

Now this is a very good theme to discuss. It has got milions of people wich interact with the main idea of this topic, web design. Thanks a lot.

shansin - 4 years ago

Loved it. I

John - 4 years ago

In depth Article love to read it from start to finish.
Thanks..

Ask Questions - 4 years ago

interesting. i have a been a reader for some time now and despite providing solutions to people of all sectors, your website inspires me alot. information is highly information. thanks for sharing.
Regards
Sarah

    Gary - last year

    Thank you Lynn, You are the first to post a review here, and we are plaeesd to hear that you remain impressed by the quality of our work so long after we performed the cleaning!Jim Stallings (owner)

Lily - 3 years ago

Wow! I have learned so much from this article. Worth of keeping. Thanks for this

Bhavani Shankar - 3 years ago

Thanks for the useful information. Also, I can get some information regarding VRML with latest web standered.

Pandora Harper - 3 years ago

This is a really terrific post. I’m training a web developer who has been out of the loop for a while. While I know what Web 2.0 means from a style point of view, this kind of topic needs visual cues, and I sent him the URL of this post as soon as I saw it.

Plenty of those here, along with some very well written details about the various points being made.

Very nice!

Kimo - 3 years ago

Great article, very useful. Thx a lot !

Srini - 3 years ago

Wealth of information in this article, thanks a lot.

Anton Thorn - 3 years ago

What date was this posted on?

P.S. I like it! :)

    ben - 3 years ago

    Anton, I think it could have been December 2006.

Website Guy Perth - 3 years ago

I really like that you have provided a range of good ideas and tips for budding web designers. I like your book, save the pixel. as soon as I can find a spare moment I will download it.

Thomas - 3 years ago

Great article, even if it is 5+ years old.

Jeff - 3 years ago

wonderful and informative article and really useful examples

hanabi - 3 years ago

Amazing post!
I found many useful & creative icons for my web project.
I bookmarked this article for another reading. Thank for your great work
regard

mehfuz - 3 years ago

what is the latest web design guide ??
when did web 2.0 design guide published ??

    Jimmy Hughes - 3 years ago

    This article was posted in 2006. However, I think it’s still relevant. We’re not planning a follow-up article just yet.

Shemeka Weick - 3 years ago

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

Dharmanto Aji - 3 years ago

Color is color…whatever we said about color..it is very different. We should say that color is not only what we said but also what other people said. Different culture is different color. All about colors you said above are not the same as we said, in East Culture. Especially, We Indonesia,…love colors. The full colors of website are loved.

Taylor Cheney - 3 years ago

BEN! Wow, small world! I’m looking to design a new site for the Al Gore Research Center and stumbled across your article. Gotta say – I’m impressed!

Hope all has been well with you, and we’re still waiting on you to drop by …

seema - 3 years ago

Can anyone demonstrate how to build application using web2.0?I am new to web2.0..

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Seema. This article talks about the stylistic side. The development of a Web2.0 application is a massive topic that we can’t possibly touch on here.

holmangregDR - 3 years ago

Hi a novice to http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com and loving it so far! I’m a CMO(Chief Advertising Officer) . Don’t know of a post in this but I’m trying to find organization that will
grow our organization on the internet like how forums get visitors in huge nubmers. I think its incredible on how a lot of members and visitors
these forums get. Any suggestions of firms that you’ve employed would be great.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi. The simple answer is – write great content. Share stuff that other people aren’t sharing, give it away freely, communicate with spirit and passion, and you’ll get a following. Be jealous with your knowledge, and you’ll find less success.

premkumar - 3 years ago

very useful thanks a lot

Alan Bowman - 3 years ago

Great article, very useful. We are about to re-vamp our company web site and get it out of the dark ages. I now have something to use to keep as a benchmark when the designer gets busy!

Cuthbert - 3 years ago

Just now I came across the web for exactly these types of information. Appreciate to your posting that seek has got to end at this time. You wrote the post in a easy to understand way. With this, I added your blog sites among my personal favorites! Kind regards!

MNVOH - 3 years ago

Thanks good tutorial. I’ll definitely implement ‘em all.

Dora - 3 years ago

I was offended by the picture to the right with the caption “is everything you know about the web wrong.”
I don’t know if it’s an ad or if it’s a link to another site. It’s unprofessional and it detracts from your entire site.
I strongly suggest taking it off!
I don’t plan on returning to your website unless you do!
Thanks!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Dora. Try clicking on it. It’s putting a question to you about web design. I know it’s challenging, it’s meant to be because that gets attention and interest.

Web Design - 3 years ago

The author focuses on what really drives the current design trend rather than specific graphic tricks. good one

Damian Bond - a couple of years ago

I never knew what people meant by web 2.0 until I read this article. The funny thing is just yesterday I was talking to my designer about the kind of site that I needed to develop for a client and it was web 2.0 that I was requesting.
Thanks so much for this article.

    Reuel - a couple of years ago

    I’m in the same boat people talk about web 2.0 around me and I have no idea what they’re talking about. This article really help me understand what it is, and looking back I did a lot of them (I’m still a student btw).

Mithun Paul - a couple of years ago

Great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nasser alhammad - a couple of years ago

Hi

Great article ,I am studying Web 2.0 now ,so,this information will really help me so much .I regret because I did not find it from the beginning of semester but , it doesn’t matter , it will be useful for the rest of the semester .

EzInsider - a couple of years ago

Hi Ben – thanks for a great article. It inspired me to take the chainsaw to my previous site design and design it around some of the principles you discuss in this article. Great to see informative and educational material like this that get right to the point. Thanks again.

    jewel - a couple of years ago

    Now this is a very good theme to discuss. It has got milions of people wich interact with the main idea of this topic, web design. Thanks a lot.

jewel wan - a couple of years ago

Very helpful, I am designing a webpage as one of the core components of my study, and this is a great guide for what to do, and what not to do to make your webpage look professional. Thanks

vinaya - a couple of years ago

useful website. we can create good we layouts after reading this & can avoid mistakes also.

Preston - last year

Very useful information…too bad I had not found this before getting the update on our web site…

I will send this link to our web designer…perhaps he can learn something and better his skills.

Fransisca Kelter - last year

hi there, in some cases when I first check out this web page I get instantly redirected to some other page which seems very strange. You might want to have a look at why this is going on! Thanks

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Hmm.. Do you have any specific examples?

Ramana - last year

excellent rules…it is very useful for me

Thanks

Subir Ghosh - last year

This article is about seven years old. Wouldn’t you like to rewrite it?

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Well I’m onto much bigger things. Also, the search traffic for “Web 2.0 design” has declined dramatically in the last 7 years. It’s not a topic so many people are interested in.

sean - last year

Regardless of the age of this article, It still proves quite useful. It feels quite comprehensive. That is a really big accomplishment if you ask me. Thanks for the article.

Ian - last year

Great tips I think all great design should be based around being simple clean and easy to use

Monica - last year

Thank you for the article. It was informative.

andy - last year

Detail tips. I like it a lot.

Comments are closed