At the risk of simply stating the obvious, web designers design websites.
However, even a brief surf round the web shows that not all websites are the same (or as effective) and, by implication, not all web designers create websites in the same way. Whether websites are good, bad or indifferent, web designers have a huge responsibility for the ultimate success (or failure) of any website.
How Do Web Designers Design Websites?
The first thing that a professional web designer should try to do is to understand the client's exact requirements. Entering a few basic search terms for a client into a search engine should give an indication of the current state of the client's web presence and might trigger some obvious questions that the web designer should ask the client.
The client's answers to the following questions can be helpful to the web designer:
- Is a new website required or does an existing website need to be redeveloped?
- Is an e-commerce website or an information only site required?
- What products or services does the company or organisation provide?
- What is the client's target audience?
- Does the client have demographic information about the target audience?
- What information is to be provided via the website?
- How does the client use logos and branding?
- What competition does the client face from other websites?
- How will the website be updated and maintained?
Web Design Software
Although interactive web design software is available online, particularly for creating blogs, the available templates are usually quite restrictive and often lead to the creation of websites with a similar look and feel. Most web designers avoid this approach because the resulting websites tend to be very stereotyped.
Benefits of Bespoke Website Design
The overall layout and navigability of a website is absolutely critical to its success. Research has shown that if a user doesn't find what they're looking for on a website within four mouse clicks, then they'll look elsewhere. Therefore, it is essential for the web designer to get the basic structure of the website right. Aesthetically pleasing images and fancy colour schemes count for nothing, if users can't find their way around the website. In addition, a good web designer will always create a website that is easy to update and expand.
"To begin at the beginning ..."
The most important page on any website is the home page.
Any web designer who forgets this basic fact is likely to come to grief. A website's home page is the starting point for most visits to a website and indicates to users what the website has to offer. The web designer should include a meaningful title or one sentence tagline on the home page explaining what the website is all about. The home page should make clear the important items that the website contains and how the website can be easily navigated. Most web designers consider that for a website home page, 'less is more'. What this means is that the website user should be presented with a clear uncluttered view of what is available, without distraction from excessive detail and whizzy graphics.
Choosing a Web Designer
Like other forms of design, web design is a combination of taste and functionality. Looking at websites that the designer has created previously is always a good starting point. However, it is also important for the client to communicate directly with the web designer; the web designer will need to interpret the client's requirements because in the end it will be the client's website, so the client must be entirely happy with the final result.