By Max Chohan
The website design process
There are no sudden or quick fixes for your company's website requirements, as website design has to grow naturally through a step-wise process that requires a great deal of research, planning and focus on details. Unfortunately, the convenience provided by cheap website templates combined with inadequate budgets and limited availability of time, planning and research are usually ignored. The result is a website similar to a house built without an architect's plan.
The website planning process
To get a website that looks good and is efficient, you should follow these tips:
Create a profile for your potential clients: Include the brands they like, where they buy and even the cars they drive. This will help you get into your potential clients' shoes and define visual benchmarks.
Create a map for the users' journey: Write down how the usual customer reaches your website, what you would like them to do after they reach there, the information you want them to get and their preferred action before leaving. This map will enable you to plan an appropriate site map.
Information design: Write an objective for every webpage you have selected based on the site map. Include the message, the information to be displayed and the call-to-action. You will now be able to see how one page is connected to the next. Connecting the dots, you will create a user journey or logical flow.
Wire frames: You can now start detailed planning for each page.
Other important elements you need to research are your options for creative direction, for the way the website should look and feel, the brand values you wish to portray and the appropriate online atmosphere for your website. Visit other websites to see what you like or dislike about them. Also look for the elements that add efficiency to their processes. It is important to establish whether your users will access your website through mobile phones, laptops or desk tops.
Once your research, planning and creative brief are ready, your website designer can start working. The detailed information you have provided will enable them to consider all vital elements, rather than focusing only on making the website look pretty. You are literally putting your business into their hands, which is why it is very important to choose a professional website designer so that you get the services you are paying for.
What forms part of the website design
The elements that influence your web design is the layout, iconography, typography, graphics and colours. Your website designer will consider each of these. In the next phase, the designer will focus on the aesthetics; the textures and artistic finesse to make each element attractive and consistent, adding character through design elements.
The challenging part for the designer is that they cannot control how the website gets used or viewed. If the site is built using jQuery, HTML and CSS, they will have to consider roll-over states, animated frames or scrolling.
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