If you ask people why they visit websites, most will say that content is the primary reason. Content is king, and every web designer wants to present it intuitively. This is why selecting the best layout for your content is crucial to the web design process. Web designers and business owners believe that the layout should be unique and meet the project’s goals. However, if you really think about the websites you visit, you will note that most of them use similar layouts. The similarity is not a coincidence. This is because these classic layouts have three significant advantages;
- They are usable
- Users are familiar with the layouts
- They save money
This article will discuss what a web design layout is and the different layouts to consider for your website.
What is a Website Layout?
We can define a website layout as a pattern that defines your website’s structure. A website layout structures the information for the owner and user. It provides a clear path for navigation within the web pages and puts the vital elements at the front and centre of the website. Layouts define the content hierarchy, which guides users around your website and conveys your intended message.
Why Should You Choose One Layout Over Another?
A functional layout keeps users on the website since it makes information easily accessible and intuitive to find. As such, you should take your time to find the best layout for your audience. Website layout also affects the engagement of your website with users. It determines the amount of time users spend on your website, how many pages they visit, and whether they will revisit your website.
When choosing a website layout, consider the Gestalt law of closure. This law suggests that even when you see an incomplete image, your brains will fill the gap, so you recognise the complete image and recognise the pattern. As a result, you do not have to pay attention to details when selecting a website layout. Instead, focus on the global view of the page, and users will find the meaning of the path. The originality of your website layout will speak for itself, and users will keep a memory of your website.
Top Website Layouts to Consider for Your Website
If you want to select a layout design that will work well for your website, you must get familiar with some of the basics. Below are some of the top website layouts to consider.
This layout presents your content in a single and vertical column. The single-column layout is the simplest and easiest layout for users to navigate. Your visitors will only need to scroll down for more content. Single column layouts are popular among a large number of websites. The mobile revolution has also played a significant role in popularising this layout, as it perfectly fits most mobile screens. Most personal blogs use the single-column layout since it supports minimalistic design principles. The layout is ideal for long-scroll pages, but consider using sticky navigation to avoid the need for your visitors to scroll back to the top of the page to navigate.
Split Screen Layout
A split-screen layout is ideal for a page with two primary pieces of content of equal importance. This website layout allows website owners to display both pieces simultaneously while giving equal consideration. The split-screen layout does not support long-form content since it does not expand well. As such, it is wise to avoid this layout if you have a lot of textual or visual information. If you decide to use the split-screen layout, consider adding user experience animation to make it more dynamic.
When two sides of a layout lack equality, we call that asymmetry. This is a long-time favourite technique in art and has become popular among web designers. However, most people confuse asymmetry with imbalance. The primary objective of this layout is to create a balance when it is undesirable or impossible to use equal weight for two website sections. The layout makes it possible for web designers to create tension and dynamism.
Asymmetry facilitates better scanning behaviour by focusing a user’s attention on individual objects. A web designer changes the width, scale, and colour of each asymmetrical piece of content to keep the visitors visually engaged. An asymmetrical layout is ideal for web owners who wish to create exciting and unexpected layouts. This layout can create an active space that guides users from one element to another if applied correctly. Asymmetrical website layouts are ideal for landing pages since they can engage the reader. You can also use them if your website has less than 25 pages. However, this layout is not practical for every website. It works best for minimalist layouts and uses elements with high colour contrast.
Grid of Cards Layout
The grid of cards layout allows web designers to present heavy information in a digestible manner, and this is why they are excellent for clickable content. For instance, bite-sized previews help visitors find content and dive into details by clicking or tapping the card. The best thing about this layout is that you can manipulate it as much as you wish. Grids vary in sizes, spacing, columns, style, and you can design them to fit any screen.
A grid of cards is ideal for content-heavy websites that display lots of items with equal hierarchy. The best practice when using this layout is to make the entire card clickable and not just some specific parts. This strategy increases user interaction since users will not have to click precisely on a card’s headline to access information.
If you include an image in your card, consider how the image will look on different screens. An image that won’t scale well will create a bad user experience. Also, pay attention to the space between cards because more space will slow the browser.
This layout is probably the most complex. The magazine layout was popularised by newspapers and magazines that struggled with presenting lots of information to readers in an easy-to-follow manner. Print designers use this layout to allow readers to access information quickly, and use a multi-column layout that allows flexibility and prioritises information. It allows web designers to create a complex hierarchy and integrates text and illustrations throughout. The goal here is to allow visitors to scan, read, and understand a page quickly.
Web designers create a visual rhythm with this layout, making it easier for the reader to scan the page and allow them to move from one block to another. Designers also try to stop the blocks from competing for attention. The magazine layout is ideal for publications with a complex hierarchy with large amounts of content.
The box layout contains a larger header-width box and a few smaller boxes that take a portion of the larger box’s screen space. The small boxes can range from two to five, and each box can be a link leading to another page. The box layout is versatile and is ideal for individual portfolio-like websites and e-commerce websites. When creating this layout, web designers connect the boxes to tell a story. The large box showcases products while the smaller ones offer further information.
The sidebar layout consists of a vertical column on the left or right of the page. If you are a website owner, you probably know that navigation is essential for any website. Your menu is the first thing that users look at when they visit your website. Besides the top-side horizontal navigation, you can also keep your menu options insight by placing it in a sidebar. The fixed sidebar layout allows your menu to remain stationary and visible while the rest of the page changes as you scroll. This website layout is ideal for websites with a limited number of navigation options. The sidebar layout can also contain other additions besides the menu, including your social media links, contact information, and anything useful to your visitors.
The F-shaped layout was created based on how users read content on the web. This layout works on the principle that users scan heavy blocks of content in a pattern that looks like the letter F or E. The human eyes scan content starting from the top-right corner of a page, then horizontally, then dropping down to the following line, and repeating this sequence until you find something that catches your attention.
This scanning pattern applies to both desktop and mobile users. The F-shaped layout is ideal for pages that display lots of different options and allow users to scan the content. Designers tend to place the crucial information on the left and right sides of the page, where the user begins and ends the horizontal scan. This is because visitors pause for a split second when they reach the end of the row. This pause allows the author to present content.
Remember that content is king, and the primary goal of your website is to present readers with easily digestible content. Always choose a website layout that makes your content shine. If you feel stuck, read these tips on choosing the best template for your website. You can also contact our experts at Marketing Sweet for advice on the best layout that suits your website.