Understanding Today’s Web Design
For most organizations, their website is their most valuable marketing tool. This is why we approach websites from a design and a business perspective. We dedicate ample up-front time to learn, plan, and discover. This allows us to make the design and development time more productive, and the end result more impactful.
The Internet isn’t simply on your computer screen anymore. It’s also on your phone, your tablet, and in the next few years, who knows what other new platforms! When you visit a modern webpage, its design should take our multi-platform world into account and morph to ideally match the size and shape of the screen you’re viewing it on. This is called “responsive design,” and it’s becoming more and more common. Now, visitors expect your site to auto-shift to a mobile-optimized version. Using a responsive design will allow your visitors to have a more effective experience.
Defining Your Goals AnD OBjectIvEs
Building an online presence is a complicated and detailed process combining marketing, creativity, and technology. Most companies have websites, but often times they are unsure why they have a website or what value it adds. Their “website” becomes a thing they think they should have, like a business card or fax number. With specific goals and objectives and a means to measure the success rate, you can put your website to work for you.
In order to build a successful online presence it is important to know what purpose your website is going to serve and for whom. Answering the following questions will help you to define the purpose of your website:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the primary purpose of your website? Are you trying to build a relationship, make a sale (ecommerce) or provide information (brochure)?
- What is the key focal point of your website? Online customers have a 30 second attention span.
- What is the key message, image, or action you want to get across? What is going to draw visitors in?
The answers to these questions will help you to determine the focus and direction of your website, its functionality, design, and determinants for success.
DESiGNiNG YOUR WEBSiTE
Armed with an understanding of your target audience, you are now equipped to design a website that will meet your goals. “Web Design” is a term thrown around a lot and can have several different meanings depending on the context. In the process of designing a website, it is important to make sure the end results are in line with your goals and objectives and follow your online marketing plan. Web design is more than just designing the graphical representation of a webpage, it is also designing:
- The logical flow of pages and information
- The site-wide hierarchy
- Site navigation menus and system
- The look and feel of the user interface
Some key pieces of information to consider when deciding how you want your website designed include:
Appeal to your target audience
What images, colors, words engage your ideal customers? How much time do they have? Does your message need to be quick and to the point or should it be in depth and informational?
How easy is it to navigate your website? Will people be able to find everything they are looking for quickly and easily? Is it easy to navigate from one section to another? Is the navigation system consistent and persistent?
Look & Feel
- Color – Do the colors work well together? Do they convey the right impressions? Are they over powering? Are they easy to read?
- Imagery– Are the images clear, crisp, and compelling?
- Layout– is the page centered to draw your eye in? Is the amount of white space used correctly? Is the text readable? Are the correct fonts used and is their sizing correct?
- Focal point – The key focal point should stand out. Are there other design elements competing for your customers attention?
- Consistency – Are all the design elements consistent across the web pages?
- Content/Copy- Is the text well written? Will your target audience be able to understand the text?