Web Design: Functionality First

By admin | June 13th, 2012

Strategic Design

Hero images, timed autoscrolls, and slides – sounds like I’m at a tech convention, makes me want a drink from the nav bar. Choosing a design for your site that not only fits your company vision but that sells your product/service can seem daunting. There are so many choices, so much jargon, and so many details to consider. As you shop other sites for ideas and a design aesthetic, the choices seem endless. Moreover, you want visitors to leave your site wanting more. Don’t worry – you’ve got to start somewhere, and from a design standpoint, that is not as hard as you think.

Design is very important in setting a tone and branding for business but it shouldn’t overshadow functionality. As the adage goes: Less is more. Think of yourself as a consumer – we are less and less impressed with flashy screens and dense content. It’s more about how easy it is to find the information we’re looking for. Ease of use should drive your design. Don’t let exciting images or sexy graphics deter you from the reason you’re building your site in the first place: to inform the consumer.

When visiting a visually “busy” site, lots of consumers will give up their search because it’s too difficult to decipher content. Remember this in choosing your design. Much like event planning or interior design, decide on a word that emotes your overall feel and communicate your vision with your designer. Revisit this word often as you go through the web building process as to stay focused and cohesive. The fonts will start to flow and the color palette won’t seem to have 2,400 shades of your company’s trademark blue.

Design is something that’s very personal. There’s temptation to ask everyone from the doorman to the CEO: “How does this look?” Try to go with what the research says will connect you with your target audience. If you ask 10 people, 9 will comment on something that could be better and your design will end up pleasing everyone but look like a patchwork quilt that’s been in a house fire.

Lastly, don’t be intimidated by the technology jargon. Ask questions and know that you are deserving of that time from a good designer. There are lots of fancy words and acronyms but it’s nothing you can’t learn, if you so desire. If not- leave that to the experts and, in the meantime, just keep calling it a “colored little bar on the top thingie.”

Let’s recap: 1) Less is more 2) Nevermind Naysayers, Research Prevails 3) Keep Curious 4) Functionality First

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