Planning your website architecture sounds technical, but really, it doesn’t need to be. All you need is a pen and paper and start scribbling down how your website will flow. For those that prefer to do it on a PC, you could use a simple Word document or a spreadsheet, so you can map out the pages and navigation you want included. A more complicated diagram may be required for large scale websites. However, for most businesses, this is overkill. Just make sure you include all the details of the framework and requirements for your website. Mistakes in website creation can be expensive and difficult to fix, so it is vital that you take the time to map out the structure of your site based on your specific needs. You don’t need to know all the technical aspects of how it works, just what the outcome and functionality will be. Leave the technical jargon to your web designer.
Three Elements to Good Web Design
This is where the functional aspects of a web design guide a user through your website.
2. Visual Creativity
This is where the structure is taken, and visual design elements are used to make your website visually appealing and engaging.
This is where the technical guys get hold of the design and make it happen. These include adding elements such as roll-over buttons, animations and any other interactivity or functionality that is required. It is here where the blending of information architecture, visual elements, user experience and content come together.
Effective Web Design Layouts
Make your website functional, dynamic and interactive where possible but never at the expense of simplicity. Apply the Kiss or “Keep it simple stupid” principle. Show your target audience what you want to provide them in a simple, clear way. Let your site grow as your business grows and evolves. Take user feedback seriously, so you can continually enhance the experience of your visitors.
Creating a great design for your business’s website is an extremely important part of the web development process. There are a great number of companies providing cookie-cutter templates, meaning your competitor next door could end up with exactly the same website design as you. The good thing about these templates is they do tend to follow the basic rules of efficient and user-friendly websites. These ground rules of good web design include structured page layouts, clear and dependable architecture, robust imagery, restrained colour palettes and a straightforward call to action.
The problem with using a standard template is your visual branding will be compromised. For the benefit of your brand, it is important to have a consistent look and feel throughout all your offline and online marketing materials. Having said that, if your budget only allows you to go with a template, just be aware of the potential problems and do your best to work around them.
Getting your web design right the first time allows your business to grow and expand the site as needed. It also gives you the flexibility to create a site designed specifically to attract your target market. Over the years, we have found that small businesses which start out with a pre-designed template outgrow it fairly quickly. This is perfectly fine because sometimes you have to take that first step just to get up and running however, if you can afford it, you should have a custom-created design made specifically for your needs.
When you get the above three elements right, your website will represent the value of your brand and potentially become a hub of information for your target market. As we discussed earlier, you should choose your ideal customer and focus your website around attracting that kind of person to your business. When it comes to your target market, it is all about communication and creating a brand experience.
Website Interactivity and the User Experience
A website has an advantage over most other marketing strategies, if it has interactivity. Interactivity is one of the most engaging user experiences you can create online.
You should make sure your web design and user experience is suitable for your target market. For example, a younger, more technical audience can cope with far more interactivity and complexity than an older, non-technical market. Make sure your site is able to satisfy the basic criteria of usability for your target market while creating a personality and user experience that suits your brand.