When I Design,
I begin the job by asking questions and collecting information. Everyone worth half their salt does. But if the right questions aren’t asked, or if they’re left unanswered, the project is immediately doomed to failure.
No project should begin design without first defining the following:
- What is a success? In other words, what actions would you like your visitors to take as the result of visiting your site?
- Who is your audience? Although it is important to break your web visitors down into demographic groups, it is equally important to speak to them as individuals.
- How are you better than your competition? Whatever it is that makes your customers prefer you should be highlighted to those who don’t yet know you.
- Do you have any existing marketing materials, or plans to create them? If so, think about how you can use your website as a segue to customer conversion. In addition to being a better received call to action, doing so will help you track your other methods of promotion.
- Does a logo and/or precedent of aesthetic presentation already exist for your organization? As with the marketing materials, it’s important that every branch connect back to the core of your business – it’s roots.
Follow the Information and Keep it Simple.
One of the worst and most common web design mistakes is proceeding with an idea because it’s “really cool”, but not really all that targeted toward the goals defined by the project’s specs. Similarly, a brilliantly creative website that doesn’t resemble anything that’s ever been done before is only going to do one thing: confuse the people who wanted to become your client.
Capitalized fonts, bold red words and repetition are all often ugly, but they work. Textless navigation, animated introductions, and graphically heavy websites can look beautiful, but they rarely deliver what the client is looking for.
Make a Promise.
Most importantly, your website should make an implicit or explicit promise to solve a need. And if you can bring your visitors closer to that solution with every second they grant you, wasting not a single moment of their time, then you’ve got a successful website.