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he United States is currently in the longest economic expansion in its history and the current state of the global economy is particularly good for those of us in web development. Budding entrepreneurs are trying their luck at creating their own unicorns – a startup company valued at over $1 billion – bringing a steady stream of business to web developers who are needed to fulfill the growing demand for an effective online presence. In this article, we’ll outline the basic design requirements that a startup needs to get the ball rolling.

Colour Palette: Three Rules

  1. Instantly attention-grabbing
  2. On-brand
  3. Supports your brand message

Pixelhouse and Designhubz are two award-winning Dubai-based startups that operate in different industries with different goals, messages and clientele. Immediately plain to see is their opposing colour palettes, which accurately reflect the uniqueness of their individual brands.

  • Designhubz went with a more minimalist theme, selecting white and blue as their primary colours;
  • Pixelhouse went for a more bold option, selecting black, yellow and white as their primary colours.

Both sets of primary colours reflect the colours of their respective logos – supporting the on-brand nature of the desired palette. Despite the contrasting colour selection of each brand, it’s fair to say that both fulfill the requirement of being attention-grabbing.

Clear and Concise Information

A startup business will be at a disadvantage compared to their larger, more established competitors. Being less well known and with a much smaller client list means the information available on the website needs to be crystal-clear – leaving no room for any ambiguity.

Having a smaller budget means careful and deliberate procurement of information and images – both of which need to be of the highest possible quality, reflecting the current state of the business.

Display your Worth

There’s unfortunately no simple trick to gaining massive amounts of customers. If one did exist, the startup failure rate would have defaulted to 0%, happy days for budding entrepreneurs! Back in the real world, attracting customers comes from the result of a series of cumulative efforts – including the need to clearly show your website visitors how your business can benefit them. It may seem obvious, but startups don’t have the luxury of relying solely on their brand power to gain customers.

Use Whitespace

Whitespace is the blank space that is used in a design. It doesn’t literally mean that the empty space is white – it can be any colour – as long as there is unmarked space between the layouts, paragraphs and the various UI elements etc. Whitespace is used for improved comprehension, to increase the visitor’s focus and attention, to create breathing space amongst the design elements and to fit a specific branding and design tone.

Apple is famous for its heavy use of whitespace; creating a consistently minimalist design that appears high quality.

Compelling Call-To-Action

You know we’re dealing with marginal gains when the change of a button’s design can eventually lead to incremental improvements to your business. Your CTA should be designed in a way that makes the visitor feel an urge so strong that they’re almost compelled to click on it. See Huemor’s clever use of a launch button with the words ‘DO NOT PRESS’. Of course we’re going to click it!

Built for Conversion

To sum up the five steps: slick, aesthetic-centred design techniques with a focus on conversion should be at the centre of a startup website. The importance of a website that looks and feels good can’t be understated enough in the digital age. Stand out from the crowd by being memorable, visual and user friendly.


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