While you can argue that all well-designed sites should look good, not all good looking sites are well-designed. When most people visualize a website that is well-designed, the first picture to come to mind is likely of a visually striking website, full of eye-candy and slick animations.
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While you can argue that all well-designed sites should look good, not all good looking sites are well-designed.
When most people visualize a website that is well-designed, the first picture to come to mind is likely of a visually striking website, full of eye-candy and slick animations. Esthetics no doubt play an important role to the overall design, but there is much more to good design than just what is on the visual surface. Good design starts with understanding the purpose of the website. Out of this core foundation everything else is built. This also means that the same website could be considered well-designed or poorly designed, based solely on the intended purpose of the website.
To properly illustrate what I mean by this, let’s take two example websites: www.kijiji.ca and www.jurassicworld.com. Both of these sites are strikingly different in many ways, one is a directory with lots and lots of text information; the latter, a high-energy entertainment experience where text content takes a back seat to the visuals.
If we tried to redesign kijiji.ca using a fancy video background, and changed the navigation to the unorthodox navigation found on jurassicworld.com, the site may look visually “improved” however for the sites intended purpose, it would fall very short.
I think we’ve established now that good site designed is tied directly to the purpose of the website. With this in mind, let’s explore the wide breadth of factors that contribute to good website design:
1) Content Planning:
They say content is king, and in many ways it is. Virtually every visitor to your website is coming to get some kind of content. Be it in the form of information, a product or even advice. Ensuring your content is structured in such as way that allows people to quickly find what they are looking for is essential.
2) User Experience (UX):
As the title clearly suggests, every person that visits your site has an experience with your site. There are many factors that influence that experience, some you can control, others you can’t. It is important to put yourself in your users shoes to imagine how they might come across your site, and what would they be trying to accomplish while on your site. This will help you to craft the site structure, navigation, and content in such a way that allows the user to get what they want as quickly and painlessly as possible.
There are now more ways than ever for people to access your web content. Desktops, tablets, phones, televisions are all key platforms that need to be carefully considered when designing a website. It is very important that your users get a quality experience regardless of the device they happen to view your site on. Typically this is done with a responsive website, that will modify the position, size, and visibility of content areas depending on the width of the device viewing the content.
This is one of the more often overlooked areas of website design. Every content management system that you build your website on has certain security best practices that when followed, greatly decrease the risk of being hacked. Additionally there are many security measures available to your through your hosting company, such as firewalls, scanners, and off-site 3rd party monitoring of your traffic (such as the service provided by SiteLock).
You can open up the greatest restaurant in town, but if you are situated in a back alley somewhere, you will not get the business your product deserves. In the same way, a website that is not specifically designed to be easily found and indexed by Google and other major search engines, will fail miserably in this crucial area. I will write an article specifically about SEO at a later date, but how this
6) Look / Feel
This is now where we finally get into the esthetics of the site, but even here, the measure of good design is dependent on the purpose of the website. Remember a website is more than a piece of art, it is a functioning interface between your user and the content you are providing.
The takeaway I want to leave you from this is to focus on the purpose for your website’s existence; have it down to a sentence or two. Test yourself by actually telling people the purpose of your website in those few sentences. See if they just “get it” or if they look confused. Once you have the purpose distilled and clear you will save yourself hours of frustration, wondering why your website does not seem to be as effective as you imagined..
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