Designing a website is something that we all assume is relatively simple. After all, it’s only a matter of positioning images in the right place, adding a bit of text and then creating blog posts, videos or a few boxes here or there to populate the site and turn it into the best thing since sliced bread right?
If only! Web design is one of the most complicated and time consuming jobs in industries based around computing and websites, and for the likes of visormedia.co.uk who specialise in the designing of websites for professional and recreational customers, it can be the kind of thing that never looks like being finished because of a variety of factors including the customer’s goals and demands changing or their budget.
Trends in web design, like fashion, come and go. What might look amazing in 2014 could look tired and boring as early as the end of 2015 – that’s how quickly online trends change as people’s tastes and demands are affected by their own interests, industry developments and technology as a whole changing. As such web designers are always learning – with every project they work on – and there is no ‘complete web designer.’
This means that there are mistakes that everyone working in the industry makes and in some cases there are no ways of preventing them from happening. What works for some, doesn’t work for others and what makes one customer happy will infuriate another – it’s all about perception and personal taste and just one person being put off by the design of a website can have a negative impact on the site or business as a whole with people opting to go elsewhere to a site they can find their way around or one they think looks more professional or trustworthy.
The user experience is just one example of a mistake which many web designers make but have little or no overall control over. Navigating around the site should be quick and simple, allowing people who visit the site to quickly access the information or product they’re looking for and to make a decision based upon that (whether it’s to email for more information, to make a purchase or to cite the section of the site when they quote their findings in a report for example).
Placing a menu section at the top of the page – or somewhere instantly visible – is the only real way that designers can make this happen, as often it is down to user error or a lack of online experience which lets them down in their search (unless they genuinely can’t find what they’re looking for of course). By trying to be too elaborate with the site design and giving the customer exactly what they ask for no matter how complex, you often risk spoiling the user experience and even if it is what you’ve been asked for, it will always be the fault of the designer unfortunately so try your hardest to find a happy medium between design and usability wherever possible.
The images are also vital. When users visit a site and hope to make a purchase or a decision, they want to see high quality images that are unique and reflective of the item or business; not a stock image taken off the web somewhere. If you want people to buy your products, photograph them professionally and ensure that these images are the ones you use on the site. It’s a bit like a try-before-you-buy system with people unable to physically see the product over the Internet like they could in a high street store. Sell it to them with the images you use and be sure to push for them to be taken before you make the site live.
A final consideration is to remove any out-of-date content from the site. If the customer is asking for a custom-made Christmas theme for example, be sure to remove it at the end of the festive period to show that the site is being regularly updated. The same should go with promotional banners advertising a competition – there is nothing more infuriating than seeing a contest you’d like to enter only to click it and be told that it closed weeks or even months ago.