Effective Design & Usability: Why Web Design Matters

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The word “design” can have a lot of different connotations, and for people who may not be as close to our industry as others, web design may sound like an afterthought.  For some people, it may mean how to make a website look pretty, once all the functionality has been figured out.  It may be easy for a business-minded person to question why web design matters.  But really, as with any product, design is at the core of a website.  Rather than a superficial feature added for aesthetics’ sake, good design should be seen throughout all aspects of the website, from the site architecture to its user interface, from the administrative side of the content management system to the structure of the photo gallery.  Good design is kind of like the project’s DNA, you can see its pattern turning up throughout.

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You’ve probably visited sites in the past that were frustrating in some way: maybe the navigation wasn’t obvious or structured in a way that didn’t make sense, maybe it wasn’t clear what clicking on an element would do or the element itself was hidden by poor layout, or maybe the hierarchy of how the content was organized just wasn’t intuitive.  Maybe you get frustrated by things we as web designers think are the obvious, best solutions.  What are some of the things that hinder you from having a good experience on a website, or stick out like a sore thumb in the website usability?  Let us know in the comments below.

All of these things are part of web design, and it’s our job to make them work for our clients and their users.  If we didn’t set out from the very beginning, of building a website with a functional, elegant design then the website will never be performing to its full potential.   I’m fortunate enough to work with a great team at Webolutions that understands that great web design goes beyond making something look good.  When we approach a project, the look is developed concurrently with the functionality.  This way, we’re sure not to value form over function, because really the form should be a logical extension of the function, not independent of it.  The design lives under the surface, ensuring a good architecture, makes itself known when it’s necessary to guide you, and retreats when it’s not, so as not to be inhibiting.  In fact, a lot of what we do you won’t even see; maybe we’re finding an elegant code solution to reduce the overhead of a site.  By itself, the change may be indiscernible, but because the change part of a larger overall holistic approach to building great websites, your site will run smoother, faster and better deliver your message.

Of course, having a good looking website is important as well.  In fact, is it time for you to give your site a facelift?  Are you happy with your site architecture, features, and functionality, but think that it could engage your visitors more by having a better look and feel?  Well, we can do that too!  Sometimes it can be less daunting to just change the look of a website instead of rethinking the entire code base.  We’re experienced in working around a variety of different site formats to make changes to either the look or the function, so give us a call to see if we can help you.   Even changing a few elements can have a big impact on user experience and how your visitors interact with your website.  Come in for an evaluation and we can see if your website can benefit from a new look or if it makes more sense to rethink the whole “design”.

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