Guide

Best practice in web design

Main technical issues in web design

Before you create a website, you should consider the technical issues relating to web design, specifically:

  • browser compatibility
  • screen resolutions
  • web technologies
  • internet speed

Browser issues

Web pages should be able to display across different browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome.

When building your site, test your web pages for browser compatibility issues in as many browsers and operating systems as you can. Remember to test on most recent browser versions, as well as the older ones - not all of your visitors may be using up-to-date software.

If you are updating an existing site, use web analytics tools to see what browsers your customers are currently using to access your website.

Screen resolutions

The most common screen resolution size in recent years is 1366x768 pixels, although there is a growing trend towards higher resolutions. If you design your website for a higher resolution, some low-resolution screens may not be able to display all of the content.

It is worth keeping in mind that Google has moved to mobile-first indexing in 2018 and seems to focus on ranking sites based on their mobile experience. When thinking about screen resolutions, consider how your pages will appear when accessed from mobile devices.

If you're designing specifically for mobile, the most common mobile screen resolution size currently seems to be 360 x 640. Read about mobile web design best practices.

Download speeds

Not all internet users have high-speed access, so connection speed should also influence your webpage design. Research suggests that:

  • nearly half of web users expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40 per cent of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load

Too many images or rich media - such as animations or video - will slow down the speed at which your webpage loads. This can result in your customers leaving the site. Since page speed is a ranking factor, slow speeds can also hurt your search ranking.

Try to keep file and image sizes to a minimum. The total size of a webpage should be no more than 40 to 60 kilobytes.

Technology

Some web technologies can prevent users from viewing your site or affect indexing of your website by search engines. These include:

  • HTML frames
  • Javascript
  • Flash
  • AJAX

If using any of these technologies, consider the potential risks to the usability and accessibility of your website. See more on web accessibility issues and learn how to design a user-friendly website.