For five weeks now, we’ve been leading up to the part about designing your site where we get to actually design your site. The wait is over!
Previously, we addressed these questions:
- Do I need a website?
- What are my goals?
- What sort of content will my site have?
- What exact content will my site have?
- How will my site be structured?
Once we get to this stage, the design process should go fairly quickly. The big structural decisions were made in the information architecture phase, and now what’s left is to apply the facade. Consistent branding is key here, so you’ll want your look and feel to mirror your company’s logo (assuming you have one). If you don’t have a logo, you’ll want to get one designed; it makes your business look so much more credible.
We’ve recently looked at the latest popular design style, so we won’t spend too much time on it here. We could also write an entire discourse on why to avoid flashing colors, animated GIFs, and so on, but most people these days are (hopefully) savvy enough to avoid those.
As in the wireframe stage, the visual design stage is one where the client will not have a lot of responsibility, and the bulk of the work will be on the Web shop that’s rendering services. Client input will be solicited generally in two places: choosing from 2-3 initial design mockups, and then final revisions to the chosen design after it’s been built out.
It’s important to keep in mind at this stage that the site needs to be about the visitor and serving them best, not necessarily about the business owner’s personal preferences. “I don’t like red” is a perfectly valid feeling for the site owner to have; but, if the goal is to portray the business as exciting and bold, red might be the best strategic choice.
Rely on your designer’s expertise in this arena. The best designers out there will listen to your input, weigh your opinions versus their objective experience, and work with you to come up with a visual feel that both makes you happy and communicates well with your audience.
Once the design is finalized, it’s time to actually build and code the site! Stay tuned for that exciting chapter.