All About Design
Ok, we’ve determined what your website is going to accomplish. Now let’s look at the design phase! This phase tends to be the difficult one, since “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, right? The tendency is to evaluate a design based on personal preferences, which is rather problematic when multiple opinions are involved. But there is a better way!
Rather than evaluating based on personal preference/emotion, it’s important, even at this stage, to stay focused on the function of the website, and how the design furthers or hinders the end goal of the website. Let’s take a look at a few tips for evaluating a design:
- News Alert: I don’t care if you like your website(and neither should you)!
- What I do care about is whether your visitors like it! It’s easy to want a design that meets your personal preferences, and miss the purpose of the site. A site must look great, but visitors don’t come to your site just to look at the design(except perhaps family and friends!) They want to find some info, and move on with their busy life. Think of the design as the first impression, and the function as the follow-through. Without both, your site will never reach its full potential. When we put that well-organized information into a great design, then you’ve got a site with some real potential!
- Less text is usually better!
- Yes, search engines need text to understand your site, but they don’t need volumes of text that no one, including you, would ever want to sit down and read! The general rule of thumb for websites is to write your content, and then cut at least half of it. Reducing ‘wordiness’ clarifies your point. Write for your visitors, and the search engines will follow!
- A great design is greater than the sum of it’s parts.
- It’s easy to look at a design, and see something that isn’t quite to your liking. Remember that the entire design works together as a whole, and when changes are made, it affects the entire look and feel of the site. The first instinct is to ask for changes like “Make this font bigger”, “Make that button brighter”, etc. The better option is to tell me what’s wrong, not how to fix it. Explain that “This font is difficult to read”, “This button doesn’t stand out enough”, etc. Designers have so many tools and techniques in their arsenal, besides just making something brighter and bigger! Unfortunately, I’ve found that usually when a client asks for specific design changes, they end up with exactly what they asked for, but not what they actually wanted! Telling me what you don’t like, rather than how to fix it, gives me the freedom to make changes that don’t ruin the aesthetic of the design. You’ll end up with a stunning design, that you love, rather than a patched up site that’s lost it’s appeal!