If you’re not a web designer, how do you know if your website is well-designed? Let’s take a look…
Design, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, is “a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made”.
WHAT IT’S NOT
No matter how skilled, talented, or experienced— a web designer cannot possibly produce a good plan or drawing (i.e., a good solution), until he, and his client, have identified and prioritized the problems he is being hired to solve.
Otherwise, your website may be attractive to you and/or the designer, and yet, fail to satisfy the real needs of those who matter most— your customers! Even though it may look like it, that is not good web design!
WHAT IT IS
Good web design is visually attractive, but it also makes websites easier to use. Good web design supports a company’s strategic objectives and success metrics— and, it delivers a return on your investment.
Good web design clearly differentiates products and services; delivers highly-targeted, engaging content that both search engines and humans devour; and it builds a visually consistent, more recognizable brand across all marketing channels.
WHY IT’S SO ELUSIVE
Many web designers begin the design process by focusing on aesthetics rather than gaining a full understanding of a client’s strategic objectives. These strategic objectives should be the guiding light (i.e., the logic) for every recommendation a designer makes.
It’s simply not enough to like a designer’s portfolio when making a hiring decision— you have to understand and appreciate his process (the part you don’t see and may not want to know about).
WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW
It’s true— good web design typically requires a larger initial investment and more patience than bad web design. You need to know why your designer chose to guide your visitors’ eyes to your most important calls to action, or why he recommends a more progressive design for your target audience. You’ll need to review site maps; co-author a strategy brief; help create and analyze user personas; review wireframes; and more. And it doesn’t end there… you’ll need to continuously monitor the health of your website and make incremental design improvements along the way.
But if failure isn’t an option for your website, neither is bad web design!