Various Types of Website Designs and Their Primary Functions
Updated March 10, 2023
Impressive website design can help improve various aspects of companies, including increasing customer outreach, sales and revenue. If you're hoping to develop an attractive and effective website, it can be beneficial to understand which types of designs are best suited for your company or business. In this article, we discuss what web design is and give you lists of popular website designs and layouts.
What is web design?
Web design is the act of designing and developing a website for the internet. Though creating a website requires additional skills and resources, such as software coding and developing, the design aspect often focuses on the user interface and experience. The user experience can include the website's appearance, functionality, layout and content. Web designers work to find the most effective way to display information on a website, so users find it engaging and helpful. To accomplish this, web designers will often use different web designs and layouts depending on the site's intended function and use.
Read more: Learn About Being a Web Designer
Types of website design
Here is a list of different website designs and when it's best to use each one:
Single page designs are websites that convey all of their information on a single webpage. The single page can be as long as the designer wants, allowing users to scroll down in order to see all the information. When developing the design, many companies and organizations use a linear journey or narrative to create a flow to the information being relayed to visitors.
This type of design can be very versatile because it has many unique uses. For example, it can be used to sell products, telling the company's story as the page progresses, or it can be used for artists to share their story and portfolio.
Related: What Is Usability?
A static website is a website with little to no user interaction, and the design is generally consistent on all platforms. Most often, the website is created using basic code, such as HTML or CSS, and has a set number of webpages, which can help generate a low-cost for the site's creation. Because of its simple model and limited ability to interact with visitors, static websites are generally used to relay information, instead of sell goods and services.
A responsive website design changes its layout and display of information depending on the size of the browser. Whether the website is being viewed on a mobile device, or a computer browser, the webpage can manipulate itself, by wrapping text and scaling images, to fill any size screen with the most pertinent information. This type of design is beneficial to many websites and organizations because it can allow users to browse through information and products on different devices more easily.
A liquid website design behaves similarly to a responsive design, except it doesn't manipulate the layout of the page depending on the size of the screen. The design itself shrinks or stretches the entire webpage to fit the size of the chosen window, which can be helpful for webpages that don't want to sacrifice information depending on the size of the browser. However, this can also cause the design to have very small, or warped text when viewing it on screens that are too small or too large.
A fixed design allows designers to create a website that doesn't change no matter the size of the window or screen. The site uses a strict resolution and will open to those exact measurements whether the user is viewing it on a mobile device or computer monitor. The strict resolution can help designers create a specific website layout which they know will stay consistent on every browsing device. However, this can also create some hassle for users on smaller screens because it might require more effort on their part to scroll around the page and find the information they need.
Types of website layouts
Here is a list of different website layouts and which sites benefit the most from them:
The f-shape layout creates a website design that follows the general viewing pattern of the site's visitors. Scientific studies have found that website users often view and move their eyes across a webpage creating an F or E shape. Webpages that design their layout to match those instinctive eye movements can help capture visitors' attention more naturally. These types of layouts are most common for websites that display a lot of options for users to choose from, such as news websites and search engines, allowing users to scan the options quickly and make a decision.
The z-shape layout is very similar to the f-shape layout, except it targets a different group of individuals. Scientific studies have shown that individuals from western cultures use a z shape with their eyes more often than an f shape to navigate the pages of different websites. Z-shape layouts are often most effective for websites that have a singular goal, such as having consumers sign up for a service or purchase a product. Creating a button that navigates users to the next step of company interaction and placing it along the z-shape path can help increase customer outreach and revenue.
Grid of cards layout
A grid of cards layout displays information in a grid system that users or website visitors can easily manipulate by adjusting the size of the browser window or screen. Some of the most common sites that use a grid of cards layout are video streaming websites that display image previews for their different video options. They display each of the previews as cards in a grid system, and the number of visible video options changes based on the size of the screen.
A grid layout is great for websites, like video streaming services, that display a lot of options and information of equal value, which can help users find what they're looking for more easily.
The boxes layout uses one larger box as a website's header, which displays an image and two smaller boxes underneath that provide additional images or information for users. Each box gives the user important or engaging information about the company's or website's purpose and links the user to other dynamic webpages they can explore to find more helpful information. Because the boxes can prominently display images, artists often use this layout to show their portfolio and businesses use it to display featured products.
A split screen layout divides a website into two sections that users can choose to explore. This layout works well for companies and organizations that have two pieces of content that are equally important to their business and consumers. For example, a clothing company that sells women's and men's clothing might use the split screen layout to advertise their products. Having both options on the front webpage can allow users to pick which one they're looking for quickly and continue exploring the site.
The fixed sidebar layout places a stationary menu of options for users on the left or right side of the webpage. This sidebar menu provides visitors with quick and helpful navigation choices, allowing them to explore the website more easily. The fixed sidebar layout often works best with websites that have a limited number of webpages to choose from, such as businesses that sell one major product. For example, if a company that sold watches used a fixed sidebar, some of their menu options could include: about us, online store and contact us.
The magazine layout uses a design that resembles printed publications. This design displays a lot of information to visitors by using a system of columns and grids to help individuals navigate the webpage more easily. The magazine layout is often used by publication companies to resemble how their product might look in its printed form, which can help create a fun and engaging format for users, motivating them to continue reading and exploring.
Asymmetrical layouts ensure that the webpage promotes an uneven design, meaning one half of the page is often larger than the other. Companies and organizations often use this layout to create an aesthetically pleasing webpage while directing users to a certain area of the site.
For example, a business might use the larger section of the website to display an image or company slogan, while using the smaller side to encourage users to fill out their contact information to learn about special sales and promotions. The smaller section often attracts the visitor's attention, encouraging them to engage with the website or company. Because of its ability to entice users, the asymmetrical layout is often used on a website's homepage.
The featured image layout places a prominent and large image at the top of the webpage to attract users. Most often, the featured image is a picture of a popular product that a company or business is selling. Companies that sell aesthetically pleasing products often use this type of layout to immediately attract visitors' attention and encourage them to make a purchase. For example, a company that sells computers might use a featured image layout to display their computers' design and style.
The curated visuals layout uses illustrated images to promote a product or service. Companies and organizations often use this layout to display a certain emotion they want users to feel when they use the webpage. This type of advertising strategy can help consumers feels motivated to interact with the company and possibly purchase their goods and services. Most often, businesses or companies with a complicated service that's difficult to sell might use curated visuals to help ease the experience and relay necessary information to users.
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