There are so many things that need to be taken into account when designing a website. Between meeting with clients and managing mockups, what do web designers actually consider when designing? Here’s my top 6 most important factors in website development:
1. Brand Identity
Isn’t brand identity just the colors and font your business chooses to use? Can’t you just pick any color palette? NO!!! Brand identity is so important in nailing down what the focus of your business is and it so gets forgotten when you don’t have a designer involved.
Yes, brand identity does relate to the colors and fonts your business uses but it involves so much more than that! Branding combines the focus of your business with its appropriate visual representation. What does this mean exactly?
Let me give you an example. A business selling a product to help you relax or keep you calm may use hues of blue or pale yellow to embody that calm feeling. When your customer or client looks at your business, how do you want them to feel? On the contrary, a business geared towards being bold and “out there” might use pops of orange to grab their viewers attention.
Your brand identity is a direct reflection of how you want your viewer to interpret you. When your brand identity is well, on brand ;) it’s something that the viewer is often unaware of unless prompted with that “how does this make you feel?” type of question. When the brand identity is poor though, it couldn’t be more noticeable. Think of a children's party entertainment service. They’d probably want their viewer to interpret them as fun, exciting, and engaging. Now what if that childrens party service solely used the color black for their brand. Probably wouldn’t be seen as fun, now would it?
When designing a website, you or your designer keeps your brand identity top of mind to ensure that your digital presence matches the purpose of your business.
2. Target Audience
Target Audience goes hand in hand with your brand identity. Who is your ideal client, customer, viewer, vistier…etc? Is your website in tune with that individual?
Let’s use that children’s entertainment service business again. Who’s the target audience for that business? If you guessed the child, you wouldn’t be half wrong. I think of the child as the secondary audience. Yes, the child is the end goal audience, but who’s that target audience? I’d say the parents! The parents are the one booking the business to entertain their children. For this scenario, the website would need to be attuned to the parents and hone in on why it would be a fun experience for their kids.
With the target audience in mind, designers create content and layouts that resonate with the intended audience.
Duh, how could one NOT think about purpose when it comes to a website? Why would someone visit your website? Is it to make a purchase? Or maybe to book a service? Just a place to find out information? - that's great too!
The purpose of your website impacts the content, branding, layout, and organization of your website. Website’s aren’t just meant to exist, they're meant to convey something to your customers!
4. User Experience
User experience, sometimes referred to as “UX” is how a user interacts with a product or system, in this case, your website. It incorporates ease of use, level of intuitiveness, accessibility, and some other factors.
Designers take this into account using a few methods. On a larger scale project, they may conduct usability tests where they ask participants to navigate through a mockup of your website to learn valuable knowledge about how a non biased participant thinks, acts, and feels about your site. On a smaller scale project, the designer will use their previous knowledge of how to design in a user centered way and put themselves into the shoes of the user.
In a plain and simple phrase, user experience is designing for the user.
5. Visual Experience
Ah, here we go. The last factor that probably everyone thought of right away. Of course, we have the visual appearance and experience of your website. Incorporating those colors and fonts from your brand kit. Laying out pages in the most user friendly way. Incorporating graphics and images in a visually pleasing way.
The visual experience is super important. In fact, about 48% of users think that visual appearance is directly correlated with a businesses credibility. On top of that, impressions are formed within 1/8th of a second and as you can imagine, the visual appearance plays a huge role in forming that impression!
With a great layout and design, the user will want to continue on throughout your website and get to all that great content there!