To Design Or Not To Design…Your Own Website (Part 2)

In the previous article we discussed the importance of a professional web design and the value it will add to your business. Being in the industry for close to a decade has taught us that certain principles are essential to design and that theory is as important as practice. Our experience in the industry has helped us to develop a unique and effective approach to each web design project. If you’re still finding your feet in terms of establishing your own unique approach to design, we suggest you keep the following in mind.

Design Starts And Ends With People

Web designers and developers often fall into the habit of screen-to-screen interaction and effective client interaction is often an area where developers and designers fall short. It’s important for any web design and development company no matter its size, to remember that they are dealing with people first and foremost. And this brings us to the first and probably most important part of the design challenge, namely the briefing phase.

Client Briefing And Discovery

This initial part of your development and design process will set the tone for the rest of your project. Schedule your meeting in such a way that you can plan and prep your questions and concerns in advance. Through the briefing and discovery phase you’ll be able to discern your client’s unique expectations, interests and budget limitations. This phase will not only save you time and resources in the future but will also help you eliminate potential misunderstandings.

Research and Benchmarking

After the initial briefing phase you’ll be armed with enough information to steer you in the right direction. It’s important to make detailed notes during the briefing session. Revisiting your notes will enable you to eliminate those web design trends that match your personal taste, but not that of the client.

The benchmarking phase will allow you to gather reference material and design elements that will help you with the actual design. This is also an ideal time to keep track of industry trends and design innovations.

There are a variety of online design galleries and font directories on the web. During the Benchmarking phase you’ll have time to review your clients competition and see what type of web design they’ll be competing with in their specific industry.

Back to the drawing board

Once you’ve communicated your progress to the client, you can start with your initial site-map. The sitemap is a valuable tool in any web design project and will remind you of a very important aspect in web design, namely usability. You design should not only look great but also be efficient and fully functional.

Adding Colour To Your Idea

Creating a colour pallet for your web design is not only fun but also very necessary. The colour and tone of your web design will influence your choice of font and imagery. You’ll be amazed to see how many people actually disagree on choice of colour. Presenting your client with a colour pallet beforehand is another way of making sure everyone is on par with the design and progress of the website. If you look at the following colour pallet you can see the way in which we presented our colours to the client. Your colours should be laid out in a clear and systematic way.

The Magic Of The Grid

The grid in your web design will carry the same weight as time signature in sheet music and without it your design will be incoherent and messy. The grid is vital to our designs and for us the grid will often determine the rest of our design. Despite its rigid nature, the grid will enable you to design something that’s creative, fresh and free within it it’s specified parameters. There are variety of grid-types that you can pick from and the Internet is saturated with information and tutorials on the use of the grid in web design.

The Wireframe: Bring Things Together

Once you have your grid in place, you can start bringing all the other creative elements together on your page. As with cooking, it’s handy to have all your ‘ingredients’ close by while you’re designing you website. Your colour pallet, reference material and briefing notes are important ingredients that together, will determine the success of your design.

Design and Client Feedback

Once you’ve created an initial design, you can present your progress to the client. Through the wireframe, we show our clients what their website will look like and once they’ve approved our design we can start with the actual development of the website.

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