Web Design Inspiration – The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Web design inspiration does not have to come from sites that users spend lots of time on. Google is the most popular website in the world. However, that does not mean people spend lots of time on the site. Often, they search for what they want, and then leave the site once they find it.

It is nice if users spend lots of time on your site, but it is not bad if they do not. As long as they find what they want, they will come back when they need to find something else that you offer.

Twitter is another very popular site. Look at the screenshot of their front page.

web design inspiration from twitter
Twitter quickly informs users what they can do.

You can see it is very simple. There are only about 20 words that tell the users, ‘this is what we offer, now go and get it’. Pinterest and Tumblr are other web design examples that fit into this mold of simplicity. The image background conveys something about the site, and the text is very direct.

For service oriented sites, it’s a good idea to layout exactly what you have to offer. Trip Advisor is an award-winning site, because it puts the user experience first. It is laid out very simply. The front page assumes the user wants to travel, and shows a search bar asking the user where they want to go.

The Beauty of Bootstrap Themes

Skype and PayPal are web design examples that run on bootstrap templates. They show a big image, and directly convey to user how to use the site. In the case of Skype, a video demonstrates how to use the site, and it does so without disrupting the user experience, but rather enhancing it.

Bootstrap is a composition of CSS3 styling that helps you get everything right for your site. Bootstrap themes help the users get the information they want in a clean and simple format, and they respond to different screen sizes for a responsive website user experience.

Check out this site for free Bootstrap themes and templates for a jolt of web design inspiration 

Web Design Inspiration from Bad Examples

It is possible to get inspiration from bad web design examples. Sometimes a web page puts forth a good concept, but the end product is a horribly designed website. This could present an opportunity to reuse the concept, but improve the design.

Consider this news website shown below. There are many elements that work against having a good user experience.

Bolen Report
Poor web design translates to a poor user experience.
  • The headlines are all different colors.
  • The text is too small for the reader to scan.
  • The links in the sidebar are various colors.
  • Overall, the color scheme is inconsistent.
  • The column headings are inconsistent.
  • There is too much content for one page.

Below is another example of bad site design. Just looking at the page could give you a headache, and cause your eyes to cross.

Bad Web Design Example
This site looks like the back page advert section of a low-budget magazine.

You should also be aware of site designs that employ a deceptive, dark pattern approach. These are sites that draw the user in, but make it very difficult for the user to know exactly what the site has to offer. These sites use web design practices intended to trick, or confuse the user. There is a website dedicated to exposing dark pattern websites

In summary, when it comes to web design, the following are some best practice guidelines:

  • User experience comes first.
  • Keep it simple. Give users what they want, quickly.
  • Be consistent with how your site works.
  • Do not pad your website with filler content and images.

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