Does Website Design Matter?
Yes, it does. Here’s Why; First Impressions Matter.
Everything, in life, is judged in the first 3 to 5 seconds including your website. Dressing for success includes your website's appearance, load speed, navigation, with very limited pop-ups, and a clean look.
However, before we get too far ahead of our selves, let's consider when website design starts. Web design is more than pretty pictures, logos, and copy. It is about user experiences or UX. If the user has a good experience, they will return for more of that experience. If they have a terrible experience, they will go to your competitor.
Forget the Flash, pop-ups and fancy animation. Creating a good user experience starts at the wireframe stage.
A wireframe will help work through the hierarchy of your website. A wireframe is the websites’ “blueprint.” At this stage, you are doing quick layouts to figure out how you would like your customers to flow through your site. Boxes will represent the photos, copy, and artwork including branding. Things will change quickly. There will be many notes to take and ideas to share to get the user experience on the right track. The most cost-efficient way to plan a website is wireframe.
User Experience Designers or UX Designers are the professionals that do this for a living. They can craft a user experience that will delight your customers. Their tools are amazing. The UX Designer will layout a simple design using boxes to represent photos, artwork, copy, text, headers, footers along with any other elements needed. They can transfer the plan from the desktop to the phone and any other screen where the information will be displayed. The UX Designer will do the linking between every page or object that needs linking. This traffic flow is critical for the end-user, your potential clients.
The UX Designer will provide a working mock-up of the wireframe to work out all the "kinks." After reviewing the wireframe with their client, there may be many rounds of revisions to get a tight layout.
All of the wireframing work should be completed before color, photo or text are applied. The wireframe is the master plan. All other decisions are made based on this plan. Below are two sites that talk in more detail about UX design.
An article from UXPlanet.org has a list of nine best tools for wireframing. A few of them are you may know if you are a graphic designer, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Indesign.
Others are Fluid UI, FlairBuilder, and Mockplus. One not found on their list is Adobe Xd. Xd is Adobe's answer to the wireframe tool.
UXPlanet.org is all about, yep you guessed it. UX design.
This quote, from the Interaction Design Foundation, reveals a little bit more about UX design and the experienced designer.
“…UX designers don’t just focus on creating products that are usable; we concentrate on other aspects of the user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency, and fun, too.”
If you’re interested in taking classes, the Interaction Design Foundation offers them.
Now that you know web design starts at the wireframe stage make sure you start your plan at the beginning. Get it right with the first impression. Alternatively, if you have a website already, maybe a wireframe layout is an excellent way to map out the better user experience. If this is beyond your capabilities, make sure you hire a professional to do your project. It will be worth the time, effort, and money to provide better user experience.
Now make a great first impression!
Examples of work designed by Wendy Danko at WenKo LLC are in the following short video.
Size does matter | Website Design vs Print Design
There is a difference between web design and print design. A great designer should know the difference and should be thinking about both web and print while working on a project. I can’t count how many times while working on a print project, a file from a website is sent to me. These web files do not work in print. Anything pulled from a website is a low-resolution file. Web files are a resolution of 72. Print files need a resolution of 300. Sometimes I have received files where resolution has been added to an original to make it 300; please do not do this it does not work for print.
An excellent designer should know the difference between the two formats and should keep it in mind when designing artwork. Working in high resolution is a good rule to follow at the beginning of the project. This way, when asked to reduce the size for use on a website, the file can be reduced by copying and saving to the correct file size then you still have the high-resolution file for the printing press.
Size does matter. It is always a good idea to have access to both high and low-resolution data. Avoid paying for artwork twice and always have access to the high-resolution file.
Make sure you hire a designer who understands the difference when it comes to web design and print design.
As a professional graphic designer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Wendy Danko has produced work for many different industries including food (packaging, FSI, recipe booklets and more), childcare (advertising, promotional material, instruction booklets), music stores (logo design, pull-up banners, web consulting, invitations, and more), business to business (brochures, logo, corporate ID, signage, convention booths and more), business to consumer (packaging, menus, point-of-purchase displays, signage, banners, invitations, event booths, and more).