There are web designers and graphic designers who believe the design process should focus on content management, code, and wireframes.
A superior design is not just about integrating slick visuals and social media buttons.
Excellent websites are created with an overarching strategy alignment.
Well-designed sites offer more than aesthetics.
They are meant to attract visitors and help them understand the branding, company, and product through various indicators that encompass interactions, texts, and visuals—and enjoy the user experience.
Every element needs to work toward a definite goal.
That is achieved by a harmonious element synthesis that uses a holistic website design process that focuses on form and function. Here are 7 Steps For Website Design that will assist in the design process.
1. Identify the Goals of the Website Design
Time and money can be saved by focusing on two questions at the beginning of a web project and keeping them in mind for the progression.
- What purpose does the site serve for users and visitors?
- What purpose does the website serve for the company or organization?
Balancing the needs of both the organization and the users makes for a usable, useful site that saves time and money while helping people do things in a better manner. Be clear about what is to be achieved. Typical answers to the question are:
- Building a forum or community
- Business support
- Educating and informing
- Reducing help requests
2. Define the Scope of the Project
There is nothing worse than poor user experience.
Therefore, define the services to be provided. Be detailed and direct in the language.
Make it clear how the client will be billed, whether it is an hourly rate or a set price for an entire project. An example scope might be stated as building and launching five web pages that include:
- About Us
Give a deadline when the pages will be complete. Needed content from the client not provided by the date will require an extension in the timeline. Each page can have three design revision requests.
Additional revisions will cost a specific fee. Detail work that falls outside the contract such as excessive revisions and billing for ‘extra’ services.
Any added page will extend the timeline one week for the same rate, such as $500 per page, charged for the initially contracted work.
3. Creating the Sitemap, Wireframe, and Website Layout
It is logical to draw up a sitemap before designing a wireframe.
There is no reason that both cannot be done in tandem. Doing so will save time and produce a better result.
Both the sitemap and wireframe offer the same information in two different perspectives.
- Saving time
- The wireframe helps add or subtract pages on the sitemap as the design progresses
- Collaboration on the basic design occurs in the first instance.
The approach can be employed for every stage of the site. The process is discussed and finished page by page. The wireframe is a sitemap visual representation, not a replacement.
The sitemap is a helpful reference during the process of developing the website.
4. Developing Content
The best websites put the visitors first. The design should provide information in an organized, interesting fashion.
The site makes it easy for users to complete the action they want whether it is contacting someone for more information, subscribing to a newsletter, or buying a product.
Visitors are not looking for clever and cute.
They won’t take time to decipher the meaning. They want to know how their problem will be solved. Items that make a website successful include:
- Clear navigation
- Conversational English
- Avoidance of industry jargon
- Relevant information
- No hype
- To-the-point home page summary
- Unique optimized landing pages that are topic specific
- Pictures that tell a story
- Trust-building content
- Up-to-date website
- Straightforward layout
- Easy for visitors to contact website owners
- Simple forms
- Call to action on nearly all pages
- As close to perfect as possible
5. Visual Elements
The visual design of a site focuses on aesthetics and its related material by a strategic implementation of fonts, colors, images, and other elements.
A successful visual design enhances the function and content of a web page by building interest and trust in the brand.
The essential elements, combined to create a visual design, include:
- Color palette
The following principles are applied to bring the elements together in a manner that makes sense.
- Overall clear design
Applying design principles becomes more natural as a designer starts pulling a concept and page together.
6. Testing the Website Design
It is vital to test sites that are produced.
The design is subjective. Not everyone likes the same design. Sometimes, the difference in taste leads to an argument between the designer and client. Testing is the only way to resolve the dispute.
The tests to use, include the A/B Test, Semantic Differential Survey, or Competitor Reaction
In the first two, users are asked to pick one of two designs or rate a site for characteristics such as
Users also give feedback for Competitor Reaction by choosing whether the site designed or competitors represent the keywords listed above.
7. The last step is Launching Your New Site
When the graphic designer believes all the kinks have been ironed out, it is time to launch the site. Neither panic nor celebrate at the initial visitor reaction. The reactions will settle down when visitors become familiar with the user interface.
Measure success by the rate of conversion. Make needed changes based on testing results. Ask some test participants for feedback.
Sometimes a little extra tweaking is necessary.
At the end of the process, the website will have a high conversion rate, achieve the business goals, and satisfy the client.
Nearly all web designers attest that much of the work is repetitive. The same tasks are completed with some variation for each project. Having a detailed design and development process speeds up the job and helps clients understand the role of the designer.
Developing a process for the design of websites allows the developer to organize their thoughts, speed up the timeline, and spur business growth.
Break each section into resources and tasks to be used as a project’s roadmap. Use a website design process checklist.