Designers may produce outstanding arty concepts for web but how that translates to the end user is always a grey area. One of the main problems with design is that of course like pretty much everything else in the world, it is subjective. A client can be turned off from a site if for example they detest the colour purple. It can be as simple as that. You will never win over everyone but you can do you best to at least please the majority.
Designing sites to tick all the boxes is becoming a far more difficult process, mainly because some people like their sites to be full of interesting images, some prefer video heavy sites, and there are users who even prefer the interactivity of flash. The same goes for the client too, it’s always important to find their likes and dislikes when taking on a job.
Design has its place, it is the instant impact, it is the handshake between you and your customers when they visit your site, a firm strong confident handshake is said to give a good impression, try to make your web site give a similar confident identifiable impression too, the design will effectively take the user on a journey across the page and then the across the site.
Some simple and basic ideas to apply for when producing a effective design can be very basic;
- Contrasting yet complimentary colour combinations
- Space around important elements such as logos and headings
- Bright, clear and relevant images
- Text on white or light if possible, stick with the conventions
- Structured layout with sections and boxes of information
However sometimes different or adventurous can be good, breaking conventions can win over your visitors, something different targeted at your audience might make or break the instant visual success of your web site. I always recommend going with instincts for your target audience, if your web site is for a rock band, maybe make it edgy, if it is for a recruitment company make it more corporate and commercial. Play in to people’s expectations, it then lets you work on the real solid gold of a web site, its content.
Content is king, even as a designer I can fully admit that, as the design draws you in initially, the content will do the convincing. Well written, informative detail about products and services will always go further than the look of the web site, after all, the customers are buying your service or product and not the web site itself.
Getting the balance right
The design leads the content and the content will also lead the design, the balance can be sometimes difficult to achieve, but in reality if your web site is clean, clear and concise in all aspects it should be at a standard good enough to impress and be an asset to your business. A busy and possibly risky layout will confuse and has more chance of turning customers away.
When we create web sites we like to make it all ‘Clean Clear and Concise’, it’s a formula we have developed and seen great growth and reviews of the sites we create are often very positive. If there is need to venture off the path, great care is taken in how the design will affect the content, and vice versa. Design should still not be taken lightly, but content will always be king!