From analyzing the 10 shining grid-based website designs, here are 5 best practices learned in order to create an effective grid-based website design:

* 1. Limit the number of elements – this is forehead-slapping obvious, for sure, but bears repeating: the more elements, the bigger the clutter, so keep it easy for you and your visitors by reducing as much as possible.

* 2. Vary the sizes of each grid – monotony tires the eyes and makes nothing stand out, so include variety in the sizes of the individual grids (not so ones next to each other are varying, but the size of the individual grid boxes for each group of grids).

* 3. Vary the arrangement of grid sections – similar to #2: avoid monotony by having some grids expand vertically, others horizontally, some groups be forming a square, others rectangles, and so forth.

* 4. Don’t have each grid too close together (or too far apart) – the right spacing makes your website highly readable, navigate-able, and scannable, so feel it out when spacing the individual grid squares and grid sections next to each other (or ask others if it’s too close/far if in doubt).

* 5. Have a single big square or rectangle for the featured website element – continuing from #2, have the featured website element—the one you want to draw immediate attention to—big one single big square or rectangle, as this will make it stand out from a grid section that’s a similar size and shape but is broken up by a lot of smaller grid squares.

via 10 Shining Examples of Grid Based Web Design and Best Practices.

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