Website Design for Business
In many ways, your website is the face of your company. In the case of online businesses, it’s one of the only ways that customers get an impression of what your company is like. When it comes to the website; its the look and feel and the ease of use that customers see first and value highly. And that’s why the website design for your business becomes critical.
Here are some of the most essential things to keep in mind while you are contemplating your website design. Even if you are outsourcing your website design, it’s important for you to have these guidelines in mind so that you can give the right guidance and advice to your web designer.
Guidelines for Website Design
The goal of your website:-
Will your website provide critical information or will it promote your product? Will it be used to sell your product online or process online applications? The goal of your website will decide what kind of website you want to build (eg. would you focus more on the look and feel or functionality and ease of use)
You need to create the ideal customer persona. That is, who is the kind of customer who will visit your website (this can be more than 1). Again, keeping in mind who your ideal customer is will help you and your designer make the right design choices when it comes to font, style, simplicity etc.
Website look and feel:-
What kind of an image are you trying to convey- professional or informal? Do you need to include your logo? Do you need to make your logo colors part of the website? It’s also important to be consistent throughout the website; that is making sure there is a uniformity in themes, colors and layout across all web pages.
It’s important to think this through and make sure your website is able to perform all the functions it’s being designed for. For instance, a website to sell products would have a shopping cart, a website designed to inform users would have a search functionality, a website that needs to get email subscribers would have a sign-up form and so on.
Website content and navigation:-
This is the key to making sure your website is easy to use. Too much content can put off visitors (unless the website is informational). So make sure your content is in small blocks and the message is being conveyed in as few words as possible. Also make sure that your site is easy to navigate, loads quickly and that your user knows how to go to any page at any given point in time. Use industry-wide best practices to ensure your site is easy to navigate.
The right design choices are important to make sure that your website is readable. Light backgrounds, sans-serif fonts, and optimal page widths, make a site readable.
What’s the difference between website design & development?
Website designing is a subset of website development. Web development refers to the overall creation and maintenance of a website including all the elements that are needed to make that happen. Web design, on the other hand, refers to the elements of web development that deal with front-end or client-side design of a website. It includes elements like web graphic design, interface design, user experience design, and search engine optimization.
As a business looking to create or revamp your website, here are some of the skills and techniques you need to know about as far as web design is concerned. You should make sure that designers you hire are well versed in these.
Skills and techniques used in Website Design
Marketing and communication design:-
This refers to the process of creating the website design by understanding 1. the audience to which it caters 2. the purpose for which it is being created. So, a B2B website will be very different from a B2C website. A website selling real estate will be designed differently from one selling music album cover art. And a good web designer will be able to incorporate these differences into the design.
User experience design and interactive design:-
User experience refers to the ease of use while navigating your website. Users have a very short attention span when it comes to navigating the web and the less thinking have to do, and the fewer clicks there are, the more they will love your website. The website design should incorporate global best practices to keep the user experience as simple and painless as possible.
The page layout determines the ease of use of your website. A lot of website uses a fixed width layout which means their layout is fixed and optimized for the screen size where the site is most viewed. Fluid layouts where the layout adapts with the change in screen size have been around for a while but have been slow in adoption. The latest is the responsive design which many new websites are using. There are different design options when it comes to page layout and an expert web designer should be able to give you the right advice on which is best for your site.
Different web browsers accept different typefaces (or font family). So instead of experimenting with a wide range of font families, most good designers stick to a few that are known to be commonly accepted by all browsers.
Whether you choose to use motion graphics to animate your website depends on what the purpose of the site is. Motion graphics are more suited to entertainment-driven websites than informational or educational ones.
It is important for the web designer to meet certain standards when it comes to writing quality code. This includes descriptions for the elements and making sure IDs and classes are identified properly. If the code is haphazard and non standardised it will make changes and handover of the website very difficult. Another important design choice is what kind of website you want to create.
Types of Websites:
From a broad classification, websites can be of two types 1) Static Websites 2) Dynamic Websites
The static website is one where a unique file is stored for every web page. This means that the same content (which is created just once, at the time of page design) is returned everytime a user goes to that page. Such a site requires very little server-side scripting. Which means it is often faster, and cheaper to host.
In this case, the content is coded into the back-end database, and the site uses server-side technology to generate web pages. This often requires a much broader set of skills and is, therefore, more expensive to create.
The kind of site you want to create depends on what you prioritise. If it’s speed and cost, then static is a better option. If, on the other hand, you value flexibility and deeper functionality, then dynamic would be a better choice.
What are the different types of web designs?
This refers to a system of web designing where the design is customised to behave differently depending on if the user is using a laptop, phone, tablet or some other screen size and resolution. Another time of design is mobile first where the designing is done assuming that the website will be used primarily on a smartphone. The latter is cheaper and loads faster so which you choose will depend on what is the predicted distribution of your site usage across different screens.
E-commerce web design:-
This is especially for e-commerce companies and focusses on features like shopping cart, payment gateway integration and user journeys to purchase. It is designed keeping in mind search engine optimisation and online marketing.
CMS (Content Management Systems) based websites:-
These websites are built on top of pre-existing templates (available with Wix, WordPress, etc). These do not require any coding and provide a CMS through which anyone in the team can edit website content, without having any knowledge of HTML and CSS(Cascading Style Sheets).
CMS Based website Vs custom coded website
A CMS based website makes sense if you are looking to build a standard template website (eg. blog, e-commerce) that is built very commonly and if factors like time and cost are important. A custom coded website is preferred if you are building something unique and which would require massive scalability and customizations in future.
A CMS Based website is easy to manage, has a lot of flexibility in design etc(given a huge number of templates available). Around 25% of websites today across the world are built on WordPress including some of the very large websites. It can today run not only blogs but also full-scale e-commerce websites as well. So for any business startup or Medium scaled business, it makes sense to go in for CMS based websites. They are low on cost, low on maintenance(can be maintained by the in-house team with no experience in web development by watching a few video tutorials) and can be developed very quickly( at times in 2-3 days).
A custom coded website is best when your business is large scale and requires a lot of modules to be run simultaneously. Eg website of Amazon, it has a consumer side, a seller side, an operations side, an advertiser module etc. In such cases, you would definitely need a custom coded website.
You would also need a custom coded website if the business requirements are so unique that they cannot be fulfilled by CMS based website even with the addition of plugins.
Website Development Process:
This is where the design team will sit across from the client to decide what design choices should be made for the website. It includes a requirement analysis, information architecture(which diagrams the basic structure, content, and navigation of the site) and decisions on what technology will be used and which resources will be deployed
This is where the designer starts working on the visual aesthetics of the website. Wireframing is the first step which is done on paper or tools like Balsamiq where the basic structure of the website is drawn out. Once wireframes are approved, mockups are created. This is done on tools like Photoshop which gives the client a detailed picture of what the site will look like. After some back and forth, the client signs off on the mockups which are when the development of the site starts.
Here the mockup is sliced up, and the code is created. All elements of the functionality of the site are built in this stage. Rigorous testing happens even as development goes on to make sure the site is functional. From loading the entire framework on bootstrap to creating the skeleton, building templates and features, testing the features and then training the client on individual features; the bulk of the work happens at this stage.
Once all testing is done, and the site has been approved by the client, it is moved from the testing to the production environment. Here again both automated and manual testing is undertaken to make sure that the site is working on all screens and resolutions. If you are looking to create a website for your company, look no further. We will help you design one which is suited completely to your needs and budget. Just follow these steps and get your website in the shortest possible time.