Skip to Content

Basics of Web Design
HTML5 & CSS3 Third Edition

Chapter 3 – Web Design Basics

As a website visitor, you have probably found that certain websites are appealing and easy to use, while others seem awkward or just plain annoying. What separates the good from the bad? This chapter discusses recommended website design practices. The topics include site organization, site navigation, page design, text design, graphic design, and accessibility considerations. Resource websites and chapter links are listed below.

Design for Your Target Audience

Web Design Best Practices Checklist

Whatever your personal preferences, your web site should be designed to appeal to your target audience — the people who will use your web site. They may be teens, shoppers, college students, young couples, the list goes on and on. All of the criteria listed at the Web Design Best Practices Checklist should be followed with an eye on your target audience.

Beginning web developers often tend to design web sites that look great on their own computers but may not display well on those of their target audience. While there is no substitution for testing on multiple devices with different screen resolutions, you may find BrowserShots and BrowserLab to be helpful. Visit Net Market Share and StatCounter for updated browser and device statistics.


A wireframe is a sketch or blue-print of a web page that depicts the structure (but not the detailed design) of basic page elements such as the logo, navigation, content, and footer.

Depending on the purpose of a particular website, the wireframe may incorporate additional components including pull quotes, news items, and interactive features such as a login or search function.

Wireframes are used as part of the design process to experiment with various page layouts, develop the structure and navigation of the site, and provide a basis for communication between the project members.

Web designers often use "Lorem Ipsum" text as a placeholder for actual text on wireframes. Try out the popular lorem ipsum text generators at and

Wireframe examples: and

Resources & Chapter Links

Compelling, intriguing, draws you in... Visit Sedona

Busy, getting right down to business... BLS


Text Considerations

Choosing Colors

Layout Examples

Free Image Editors

Surveys & Statistics & Tools

Responsive Web Design

Chapter Updates

  • Page 105, #1, f
    Should be: "Describe how the design principles of contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity are applied. Be specific."

  • Page 107, Step 4
    This step should refer to Figures 3.34-3.37 instead of Figures 3.27-3.30.

Questions or Comments

The author would like to hear from you!
Feel free to complete the contact form with your questions or comments.

Book Cover

Review Games

Review activities are available for this chapter. Check your knowledge of chapter terms and concepts.

Web Design Tips

  • Choosing colors for a website can be a difficult task. One method is to use the colors found on the corporate logo or main image of the website.
  • Choosing colors used in a central image usually results in color combinations that are pleasing. By repeating the colors found in the central image on other places in the page, a sense of unity is created.
  • See Chapter 5 for resources to help you choose colors for your website

Design Inspiration offers a Web 2.0 Design Guide. Check out DesignModo's overview of web design trends. Interesting reading!

Here's a collection of sites that showcase new, trendy, and/or inspiring design:

Writing for the Web

Target Audience Examples

Navigation Examples

Design & Usability


Share |