Design is a funny word, referring to many different interrelated concepts all at once without any correlation between them. Web design is a much different thing than landscape design but a lot of the aesthetic choices made at every level of those two fields come from a common source. Aesthetics combines the expertise of many different things and waters them down into a single thing: visual and auditory coherency.

How do you get your thing into the top level of well-designed things? It depends a lot on the specifics of that field, but specifically for programs that allow you to organize things, there are some common principles you can follow closely. Of course, I’m using “things” here to mean just about anything you can see, since you can find aspects of design and organization in just about anything. So, let’s break apart aesthetic and organizational design to find some commonalities anyone can follow.

Clean and Sleek

A lot of people consistently underestimate how much a user interface in just about anything can improve the whole experience. In general, you should strive to have as little UI as possible that serves no purpose other than to be for the user. Menus are a classic example of this, and with enough subcategories of a subject, your screen can quickly be clogged by subheadings that serve very little purpose. Separate those subheadings into different hub pages in the case of a website and you have improved the usability.

But, in general, menus aren’t a terrible idea for user interface design. Opening a thing and seeing the ability to narrow your search into definite categories can be a huge help. It should go equally without saying that you should properly organize these categories. For instance, if you want to use an applicant tracking system for a recruiting agency, it should be simple to click a menu and find a profile page of sorts for specific aspects of that person. This sort of hub-based design can be employed easily anywhere.

Minimize Movement

Since web design as a subject has moved so far along, it can be hard to remember that bells and whistles aren’t always ideal. For most websites, seeing a ton of moving parts, even during the hovering of a user cursor, can be a decent turnoff. It is easy to overwhelm the senses, and this is one case where things moving can make any useful website turn into a mess. This isn’t an engineering project, moving parts aren’t something you need.

But, that being said, you may find yourself wanting some level of fanciness applied to a design subject. Don’t forget the basics, and if you don’t know HTML and CSS and are doing the heavy lifting, you may want to consider learning those as well as javascript.

Empty Space is Fine

If you’re working on a commercial site or commercial anything, it can be hard to justify a white space. If you’re designing a lawn, it can seem strange to have any lawn at the end since isn’t it your job to design that space? But, trust me, empty space is essential. The eye is constantly looking for focal points, so it’s no surprise that in a big empty field the one thing that will stand out is the fountain in the center. If you want that fountain to be noticed, add some lawn, in other words.

That principle applies to all sorts of strange interconnected things from web design to painting, and you can visit this site to see a great blog post that illustrates this kind of change using plenty of screenshot examples: Don’t get the worst possible wrong idea here, this doesn’t mean information density is a bad thing. It just means that you should always be ready to prioritize what does and does not matter in anything.

This is something you can apply to any field, including the field of studying the earth from any perspective. Some places need to be left empty. If your planet is covered in cities, though it may need areas outside that, it may not be the best to develop those areas. Leave some empty, and the goodness in all of it shines through even the darkest smog cloud. If you’re working through a recruiting agency, designing a bridge, or coding a website, don’t forget that every decision you make concerning the aesthetics of a particular thing will be noticed by those that come after.

It doesn’t need to be your boss noticing aesthetic problems for them to become an issue. In many places, this is your best-case scenario. If a space looks cluttered, it can be filled with gold bars and still look bad, after all.