Every WordPress developer would have their crack team of battle-tested designers and front-end wizards in an ideal world, allowing them to focus on the code they care about.
If you work on your own and choose WordPress as your platform of choice, most clients will regard you as a one-man army. You’ll be asked to make design decisions that you may not be comfortable with regularly.
Whether you like it or not, design is an integral part of any web development project. It doesn’t matter how elegant your code is if your layout makes users cringe.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the design best practices that you can utilize as a developer to improve your design skills and broaden your marketable expertise.
1. Keep Up With the Latest Design Trends.
It’s really common and quite evident. Many people avoid making extra attempts to comprehend key contemporary trends despite this. Individuals frequently rely on their unconscious knowledge of current events, which they gather through their regular browsing habits.
Because this isn’t Vogue, we won’t spend thousands of words delving into the ins and outs of every contemporary design trend. Under ordinary web browsing, you’re probably already intuitively aware of what’s hot.
It is, nevertheless, well worth your time to make the extra effort to research significant trends to keep current.
These days, parallax scrolling is at the top of the “Most Used” list: a fundamental yet practical motion design approach in which foreground graphics move quicker than those in the background.
This has a striking effect, is simple to execute, and adds depth and aesthetic appeal to the website design. This technique is frequently used to make headlines stand out and lure people in.
2. Make Responsive Design a Top Priority
To improve user experience, your website must be compatible with all screen sizes, platforms, orientations, and devices. Responsive web design services can help you accomplish this.
Mobile phones account for around half of all internet traffic worldwide. As a result, your website must work flawlessly across various devices.
True, it may take hours of testing and tweaking, but if you neglect this design element, you could lose over a third of your business.
You can also utilize a responsive WordPress theme if you’re short on time. They will save you time, improve the aesthetics of your websites, and provide you with an SEO edge because mobile-friendly websites rank higher on Google. Your website must be search engine friendly, so there are SEO WordPress Plugins available to improve ranking and traffic.
3. Use White Space to Your Advantage
Make use of white spaces to your advantage. If your website looks like an old newspaper with a lot of text, it can be a nightmare for your users. Aesthetics must sometimes take precedence over efficiency.
Your users will be naturally drawn to the information you want them to view if you use white spaces on your website. White spaces will make your pages look more elegant and readable, in addition to accentuating a specific region of your website.
Add these practices to your priority list, and your website will look much more professional right away.
4. Ensure Easy Accessibility.
Make your material easily accessible to improve the user experience. This is especially true for companies looking for techniques to lower website bounce rates and encourage users to stay longer on the site.
It is your obligation as a website designer to structure the website so that it appears more appealing. Poor design, low-quality material, and a lack of search options should all be avoided.
Everything should be easily navigable and clearly labeled. Your website’s design should allow users to quickly determine whether or not it offers all of the information they require.
5. Emphasis on Typography
The use of fonts and typography in website design is essential. As a result, Open-Sans and Times New Roman or Arial aren’t the only fonts you’ll encounter on the internet.
There are currently an infinite number of fonts accessible. The days of developers being held back by a shortage of fonts are long gone. Now it’s up to you to decide how much time you’re ready to devote to finding the ideal match.
Your typeface should draw attention to your text and blend well with the rest of your design. Combining multiple fonts is an art, and it’s a decision that should be made after much deliberation.
6. Make the Forms As Simple As Possible.
Filling out forms is a chore that no one enjoys. They’re a pain to deal with, whether online or offline. However, there’s no avoiding them in web design; they’re the primary means users interact with your site: registrations loss password recoveries, contact pages, submissions, and so on.
Investing a little more time and effort into making your forms naturally usable, welcoming, and well-presented instantly improves the overall design profile of your pages.
As a developer, you have a minor advantage here as well. Many designers are naturally wary of the technical aspects of creating forms, but it should be effortless compared to other issues you face regularly.
7. Create User-Friendly 404 Pages.
Every website eventually crashes or goes down, even if only briefly. While this is understandable, regular users may see it as an indication that your website is untrustworthy, so why not spend a bit extra effort creating a unique error page to reassure them?
Anything looks better than a white page with a default server error message. A well-designed error page reassures visitors, giving the sense that everything is under control and that things will soon return to normal.
Several excellent WordPress plugins can assist you in quickly creating a custom 404 page.
8. Understand That Small Details Matter.
We’ve covered fundamental design trends, responsiveness, accessibility, utilizing white space, typography, forms, and 404-page designs so far. Still, we’re only scratching the surface of all the components you may consider in terms of upping your design game.
If you recall nothing else from this post, consider that design is all about the details. These minor features don’t add up too much when considered individually.
Still, when layered on top of one another, they produce a unified whole that people instinctively recognize as good design.
9. Follow WordPress’s Coding Guidelines.
WordPress has a thriving development community that has worked tirelessly to make it the success it is today.
These programmers have honed their skills via trial and error and have created coding standards to assure maximum success and security.
As you hone your WordPress skills more, doing so will set you up for success.
10. Flexibility and Reliability
Make sure your code is adaptable enough to be changed in the future. This entails using relative URL routes whenever possible and allowing for future expansion.
This means that if your URL changes, you won’t have to modify all of the code that refers to it. Furthermore, ensuring that your code and information are structured in an accessible manner allows you to improve on this accessibility afterward.
Your code should adhere to WordPress standards and your own team’s criteria for excellence, in addition to being simple to understand. Code that is structured consistently is reliable.
That implies treating comparable actions in your code similarly, based on your team’s decisions. It also entails using equivalent file and function naming standards.
Make sure the manner you call classes, functions, and hooks aligns with WordPress core for the highest stability and assurance that your code won’t break when WordPress upgrades.
11. Template Organization
Understanding the template hierarchy is also vital while building for WordPress. When creating a page or post, the theme template hierarchy will assist you in determining which template WordPress will use.
WordPress looks through its default template hierarchy to choose the template to use for each post.
WordPress will look for a file with the same name as the template. If there are multiple files with the same name as the template, the first one in the template hierarchy will be used.
12. Spaces and Separation
While specific spacing selections in code are functionally identical to others, they can significantly impact readability. The WordPress PHP Coding Standards provide a consistent manner to space your PHP code with that in mind.
When it comes to spacing, there are a few general guidelines to follow: After commas, there are spaces. There are spaces after the beginning and before the closing parenthesis unless otherwise specified.
If it’s a $variable, just include spaces around array entries. After your code, remove any spaces. It is advisable not to use a PHP closing tag.
More spacing guidelines can be found in the guide mentioned above! Coding following these standardized standards will ensure that your code is high quality and easy to understand.
All of the points we’ve mentioned lay the foundation for excellent design combined with great content. Using them will significantly improve the appearance and experience of any sites you’re working on.
Using the strategies we’ve described to add basic design literacy to your developer competence will not only please your end-users. Still, it will also significantly boost your marketability as a developer.
Do you have any recommendations for a developer learning design skills? Please let us know in the comments section.