- April 24, 2020
A lot of people have no idea what goes into website design and development. Even web designers think that the focus should be on technical matters such as code, wireframes, and extravagant designs. This is partly true, but great design doesn’t require extravagant visuals and animations. Great design and development is a process of website creation that aligns with your overarching strategy in order to achieve the goals of your website.
The best-designed websites involve much more than aesthetics. Sure, they all look wonderful but this is matched with good products, branding, and strong company identity. The core part of the development and design should focus on the key areas of your company. Use great design to emphasize the best parts of your website. Using this type of approach means that every element of your site can work towards a defined goal. Following these steps can ensure that your website combines all of these elements for maximum effectiveness.
Working closely with the client to identify the end goal for the website. This involves asking the standard important questions. These include: Who is the website for? What do they expect it to do? What is the primary function (Catalogue, eCommerce, or Information) of the website? Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, however, it is important to have a clear idea of how the end product website is supposed to be.
A very common issue in development and design is the project scope. The scope will usually change either slightly or massively during multiple stages of the process. An expanding scope is great for a business or designer but only when the increased expectations are matched. If the client wants to add on features such as web app and push notifications that were not previously agreed on it should be matched with an increase in timeline or budget.
Set out a realistic timeline with all achievables laid out. A Gannt chart is great for this. Combining your Gannt chart with a clear contract will yield the best outcome. As a result, it will help set boundaries and attainable timelines. Furthermore, it will improve focus on the upcoming goals without the risk of being sidetracked by expanding scope.
Wireframes and Sitemap
During this stage, the developers will create the foundation for the website. The sitemap will layout the relationships between the major areas of the website. This is a good representation of understanding the usability of the website in the future. It is a key part of designing a streamlined and user-friendly site. It allows an understanding of the inner structure of the website. A sitemap gives an overview of the inner structure but does not describe its user interface.
Wireframes provide a framework for the visual design and content elements. These are helpful to identify possible challenges and gaps in the sitemap. Wireframes are a guide to keeping the website together to prevent it from becoming disjointed.
Content Creation and Assembly
Once pages are designed and created it is important to start populating them. Content engages readers and drives them to take the actions necessary to fulfill a site’s goals. This is affected by both the content itself (the writing), and how it’s presented (the typography and structural elements).
Content also boosts a site’s visibility for search engines. The practice of creation and improving content to rank well in search is known as search engine optimization or SEO. This is one of the key areas for website design and development.
Getting your keywords and key-phrases right is essential for the success of any website. Use Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest. This tool shows the search volume for potential target keywords and phrases, so you can hone in on what actual human beings are searching on the web. Typically, your client will produce the bulk of the content, but it’s vital that you supply them with guidance on what keywords and phrases they should include in the text.
Finally, it’s time to create a visual style for the site. This part of the design process will often be shaped by existing branding elements, colour choices, and logos, as stipulated by the client. But it’s also the stage of the web design process where a good web designer can really shine.
Images are taking on a more significant role in web design now than ever before. Not only do high-quality images give a website a professional look and feel, but they also communicate a message, are mobile-friendly, and build trust. The biggest factor is that including images will increase click-through-rates and conversions.
The visual design is a way to communicate and appeal to the site’s users. Get it right, and it can determine the site’s success. Get it wrong, and you’re just another web address.
Testing & Launch
Thoroughly test each page to make sure all links are working and that the website loads properly on all devices and browsers. Errors may be the result of small coding mistakes, and while it is often a pain to find and fix them, it’s better to do it now than present a broken site to the public. Other tools such as ScreamingFrog is extremely useful for testing your site.
Once testing is complete it is time to launch. Don’t expect this to go perfectly. There may be still some elements that need fixing. Web design is a fluid and ongoing process that requires constant maintenance.
Web design is all about finding the right balance between form and function. You need to use the right fonts, colors, and design motifs. But the way people navigate and experience your site is just as important. Skilled designers should be well versed in this concept and able to create a site that walks the delicate tightrope between the two.