Achieving the correct balance of visual design and useful content is possibly one of the most difficult elements in the design process. A website must look fantastic if it is to quickly appeal to new readers, while at the same time the design should not obscure the content, which is ultimately what you want your readers to view.
For a business it is vital to make sure that the website matches up with the branding and sends the message you are aiming for. Often a business owner will visualize in their mind how they want their website to look, without considering the message that this will portray to their customers. It is the role of a good designer to ensure that both design and function are supporting the business brand.
Shop front approach
A website is equivalent to a ‘shop front’ and it needs to be enticing. Today, more people are visiting the website of a business before they meet the business owners or visit the premises. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to design a website in such a way that it sells the products and services that you offer.
The way to achieve this is the ‘shop front’ approach. The best retail managers understand the importance of a good window display to entice customers to step inside.
A window display is never designed to portray the business brand or give an indication of how the produce in the shop is organized. It is purely a visual display of only the best products on offer. This is how your homepage should look. When a potential customer arrives at a website for the first time they should immediately be drawn in by the facade that is the homepage.
The visual design of a site must remain professional and be well thought out. Simply displaying images of the best-selling products is not always going to draw customers in. You need to show images that have been professionally crafted to portray a specific message and feeling, one that must remain in alignment with your business branding.
Using professional photographs and images from a stock photo specialist such as Dreamstime is a simple way to turn a rather dull website into a vibrant, fresh and professional site that will help to draw the reader’s eye and improve engagement.
However good the design of a website is, the most important consideration is its functionality. Studies have shown that browsers are very impatient. If a website has a shopping/ordering service, for example, and it is slow to load or is not compatible on the device being used, most people will try an alternative service. A poorly designed site is a good way to lose business.
The most important consideration today is to ensure that a website is both functional and well-designed on all platforms. Today, more people are accessing web content via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets than on desktop PCs. There is a growing generation of internet users who only consume the internet on a mobile device.
The chosen design, therefore, also needs to work on small handheld devices and desktop computers. Imagery must be optimized for fast download and all web design elements need to be well programmed; coding errors and bloat can quickly slow down a website.
Good web design has never been such a challenge. Sites must look great and function well on a wide variety of devices, which is why professional web design services have become a central part of online marketing strategy.