Web design is an important venture, especially in the modern technological world. It entails coming up with a website layout, that appeals to visitors’ use. Web design differs from web development in the sense that it’s more centered on user experience aspects of the website.
Web design embraces many diverse skills and competencies in both web production and maintenance. It seeks to fuse both typography, copywriting, and the layout of a website. This fusion strives to create an interface that features a pleasant aesthetic. The design also has to communicate the function, and facilitate an easy access to web content.
Web Design and Web Development
Web design and web development are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. However, the two have different aspects that require different skills and technical know-how.
Web design dwells a lot on the artistic portion and the website’s usability. It incorporates the use of various web design programs to create a layout for the website. Web development involves taking the website design and bringing it to life. This development aspect also uses programming languages to make a functioning website out of design files.
How to Design a Professional Website
Designing a professional website requires a combination of all the elements of web design. This provides a clear path that guides every aspect of the design towards a common goal. There are many ways to approach this process, depending on both the client and the web designer’s plans.
If it is a business website, you need to consider an approach to a strategic design. This involves the fusion of your organizational goals with every aspect of the design process. You don’t only need to design an interface that is good and usable. It must also help in the accomplishment of the business goals.
There are a few steps to follow before you can successfully design a website. A notable web design in Canada for instance will follow these steps to create sites that work towards a defined goal. The main web design steps include;
Identifying the Goal
This is a collaborative effort between the client and the web designer. The client needs to help the designer identify the end goal of the website design. It is arguably the most crucial step as it seeks to explore many questions. Some of the questions that need to be answered at this initial stage include;
- Who is the target audience, and what do they expect to find on the website?
- What is the primary aim of this website?
- Does the website have a unique focus, or is it part of a broader scope?
When analyzing the website’s target audience, you need to consider several factors. These include the age, gender, location, and lifestyle of the target users. Once equipped with this knowledge, it is easier to communicate the right message in the best way possible.
Failure to answer these questions may set the whole process onto a wrong path. Tools such as competitor analyses, brand attributes, and audience personas come in handy at this phase. However, understanding the website’s target audience and developing a working knowledge of the competition are the two key considerations.
Defining the Scope
Scope definition is a crucial factor when designing a website. It helps set out the timelines for the project completion, and how to handle any arising factors. Some of these factors include the scope creep. This helps to cater for the expansion of goals, the evolution of new ideas, or a complete overhaul of the design process.
A well-outlined scope means any additional changes won’t affect the whole design process. In any case, there should be a window for new ideas that will help achieve great success. Gantt charts offer invaluable help during this process. However, they should provide realistic and flexible timelines for project completion.
Creation of a Sitemap
Designing a good website will require you to have a sitemap and wireframe. It lays the foundation ground by providing an idea of the website’s information architecture. This is where a designer explains the relationship between various web pages and content elements.
A sitemap is a blueprint for the website design. It provides an avenue to seek more design inspiration and also identify potential loopholes. It is important to understand a sitemap need not contain any final design elements. Some tools for site mapping will also help in coming up with the website’s final look.
Written content is one of the most critical aspects of a website. It comes after a roadmap on the website design is already established. The best web designers typically seek to address the following elements when creating content;
Engagement and Action
The sole purpose of web content creation is to initiate engagements that will result in readers taking action. The action, in this case, refers to doing anything that will fulfill the website’s goal.
Engaging content needs to be structured and presented in a way that is interesting to the reader. It should be intriguing enough to grab their attention and make them click through other web pages.
The available content on the website increases its visibility on search engines. The right keywords and phrases help in the rankings, hence the success of the website. SEO tools usually help navigate this phase. Good web designers focus their web design around SEO.
This ensures the content created is informative and rich in keywords. Search engines quickly pick up most of the websites they create. This helps to make the sites easier to find.
Creation of Visuals
Creating a visual style for a website is a crucial factor that needs not to be left out. It usually involves incorporating color, branding elements, and logos that are all influenced by the client’s choice. A good web designer needs to focus on this process as it brings out their expertise and uniqueness.
Most designers understand how significant images are when designing a website. Good visuals give a website a professional look, thus enabling it to communicate a message. They are also known to create trust and confidence in a user seeking to find more about a company.
The creation of appealing visuals is also known to enhance web traffic through clicks and engagements. Visuals also help the site in the following ways;
- They make the web pages look easier to digest by eliminating the cumbersome appearance.
- Visuals also enhance the text anchored messages. Most people visiting the web pages can understand visually relayed messages more than they do with text messages.
However, getting it right with visuals is not a walk in the park. Big and non-optimized visual presentations can also slow down a website’s responsiveness. Well-optimized and high-quality images help save on page load times hence creating a desired appeal to the users.
Testing the Website
This phase comes after the website has all the intended content and visuals. Testing seeks to ascertain if the website is in good shape for its launch. Through testing, there is a thorough check if the web pages are all working. It also helps find out if the added links work.
Testing also helps expose the particular problems that may arise when using the website for the first time. These include errors arising from coding mistakes, slow loading, and its functionality on different browsers. This is also the time to rectify mistakes before presenting an excellent website to the public.
Different web testing tools come in handy at this phase. Other than the above-highlighted factors, the pre-launch phase will also aid you in the final web design process before the actual launch.
The pre-launch phase is almost similar to testing. It is a web design checklist for the many back-and-forths that come with the whole process. The pre-launch process involves;
- Cross-browser appearance, where a website is tested on different browsers to ascertain its appearance. This multi-device testing seeks to ensure the various design elements are well displaying.
- Website functionality testing, where a website is tested to ascertain if it performs as intended. Functionality testing also involves integration and link testing.
- Content editing, where a website is tested if all the content has been updated and approved. A designer also seeks to find if more content can be added to the website.
- Search Engine Optimization-Seeks to find out if the website is well optimized for search engines.
- Analytics-It is vital to set up analytics before a website launch. Analytics helps to track user engagement on the website.
Launching is the final process of web design. It comes after everything after design aspect is in shape, and there’s enough satisfaction to present the website to the public. Launching is not an entirely comfortable process as there could be other issues to fix.
Web design is an entirely endless process. It requires constant running and testing to find out arising problems that may be challenging to the users. The most important factor should be the website’s ability to stand out in general.
Web design can be a daunting task. However, a professional help will help ease the burden and make the process seamless and fulfilling.