Finally getting to the design phase with a client is a very exciting time because this is when the web designer’s creativity should come out. All of this is built upon a foundation of brainstorming that should have occurred during the previous phases. So do you have a firm handle on the previous phases? Do you have a plan? Are the client’s purpose, goals, users, tasks, etc. analyzed? Just because we are now designing, doesn’t mean what we discussed in the planning and analysis is out the window!
So, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water! The data that you gathered with the client in those early phases is so crucial! Don’t throw it out! So be sure to draw from the all of information gathered up to this point and finally start to determine the look and feel of the site. Some key considerations when determining a sites design are
- Defining how to organize web page content
- Designing user’s navigation
In terms of designing we need to focus on the content of the site and making that content central to the design. Remember “Content Is King!” Our sites could have really cool images and videos… but if our content isn’t clear and accessible, then our sites fail. Like I said, the site’s content is based on the results of the previous phases, e.g., the purpose & analysis. It is also highly possible that a site design and development team might have to go backwards and re-think the previous phases because of what is found out in the design phase.
Sometimes a site’s design actually restricts what the user is looking for. A good design is clear, concise, and uncluttered. The visuals of a site should enhance the user experience and draw attention to the content and not distract them from it. If you cannot justify using something that creates a more compelling and direct content… then don’t use it! Because it’s cool is not a justification!
Therefore, the target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration here. A site aimed at teenagers, for example, will look much different than one meant for the elderly. In terms of design, think of how to incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of the company on the web site.