Web design often think about the web design process with a focus on technical matters such as wireframes, code, and content management. But great design isn’t about how you integrate the social media buttons or even slick visuals. Great design is actually about creating a website design that aligns with an overarching strategy.
Well-designed websites offer much more than just aesthetics. They attract visitors and help people understand the product, company, and branding through a variety of indicators, encompassing visuals, text, and interactions. That means every element of your site needs to work towards a defined goal.
But how do you achieve that harmonious synthesis of elements? Through a holistic web design process that takes both form and function into account.
As per Vie Signals, the website design process requires 7 steps which are as follows:
- Deciding Goal
The initial stage is all about understanding how you can help your client.
In this initial stage, the designer needs to identify the end goal of the website design, usually in close collaboration with the client or other stakeholders. Questions to explore and answer in this stage of the design and website development process include:
- Who is the site for?
- What do they expect to find or do there?
- Is this website’s primary aim to inform, to sell (e-commerce, anyone?), or to amuse?
- Does the website need to clearly convey a brand’s core message or is it part of a wider branding strategy with its own unique focus?
- What competitor sites, if any, exist, and how should this site be inspired by/different than, those competitors?
This is the most important part of any web design development process. If these questions aren’t all clearly answered in the brief, the whole project can set off in the wrong direction.
It may be useful to write out one or more clearly identified goals, or a one-paragraph summary of the expected aims. This will help to put the design on the right path. Make sure you understand the website’s target audience and develop a working knowledge of the competition.
- Finding Scope
One of the most common and difficult problems plaguing web design projects is scope creep. The client sets out with one goal in mind, but this gradually expands, evolves, or changes altogether during the design process — and the next thing you know, you’re not only designing and building a website, but also a web app, emails, and push notifications.
This isn’t necessarily a problem for designers, as it can often lead to more work. But if the increased expectations aren’t matched by an increase in budget or timeline, the project can rapidly become utterly unrealistic.
- Site map or Pie Charts Creation
The sitemap provides the foundation for any well-designed website. It helps give web designers a clear idea of the website’s information architecture and explains the relationships between the various pages and content elements.
Building a site without a sitemap is like building a house without a blueprint. And that rarely turns out well.
The next step is to find some design inspiration and build a mockup of the wireframe. Wireframes provide a framework for storing the site’s visual design and content elements and can help identify potential challenges and gaps with the sitemap.
Although a wireframe doesn’t contain any final design elements, it does act as a guide for how the site will ultimately look. It can also act as inspiration for the formatting of various elements. Some designers use slick tools like Balsamiq or Webflow to create their wireframes. I personally like to go back to basics and use the trusty ole paper and pencil.
- Content Making
Once the website framework is done then, you need to create the content for the website. Content serves two essential parts in a website:
Purpose 1: Content drives engagement and action
First, content engages readers and drives them to take the actions necessary to fulfill a site’s goals. This is affected by both the content itself (the writing), and how it’s presented (the typography and structural elements).
Dull, lifeless, and overlong prose rarely keeps visitors’ attention for long. Short, snappy, and intriguing content grabs them and gets them to click through to other pages. Even if your pages need a lot of content — and often, they do — properly “chunking” that content by breaking it up into short paragraphs supplemented by visuals can help it keep a light, engaging feel.
Purpose 2: SEO
Content also boosts a site’s visibility for search engines. The practice of creation and improving the content to rank well in search is known as search engine optimization or SEO.
Getting your keywords and key-phrases right is essential for the success of any website. I always use Google Keyword Planner. This tool shows the search volume for potential target keywords and phrases, so you can hone in on what actual human beings are searching on the web. While search engines are becoming more and cleverer, so should your content strategies. Google Trends is also handy for identifying terms people actually use when they search.
Our design process focuses on designing websites around SEO. Keywords you want to rank for need to be placed in the title tag — the closer to the beginning, the better. Keywords should also appear in the H1 tag, meta description, and body content.
Content that’s well-written, informative, and keyword-rich is more easily picked up by search engines, all of which helps to make the site easier to find.
Typically, your client will produce the bulk of the content, but it’s vital that you supply them with guidance on what keywords and phrases they should include in the text.
- Visual Effects
Finally, it’s time to create the visual style for the site. This part of the design process will often be shaped by existing branding elements, color choices, and logos, as stipulated by the client. But it’s also the stage of the web design process where a good web designer can really shine.
Images are taking on a more significant role in web design now than ever before. Not only do high-quality images give a website a professional look and feel, but they also communicate a message, are mobile-friendly, and help build trust.
The visual design is a way to communicate and appeal to the site’s users. Get it right, and it can determine the site’s success. Get it wrong, and you’re just another web address.
Thoroughly test each page to make sure all links are working and that the website loads properly on all devices and browsers. Errors may be the result of small coding mistakes, and while it is often a pain to find and fix them, it’s better to do it now thnn present a broken site to the public.
Have one last look at the page meta titles and descriptions too. Even the order of the words in the meta title can affect the performance of the page on a search engine. Web flow has an excellent article on the pre-launch process.
Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of the website design process: When everything has been thoroughly tested, and you’re happy with the site, it’s time to launch.
Don’t get too excited, but … we’re nearly there!
Don’t expect this to go perfectly. There may be still some elements that need fixing. Web design is a fluid and ongoing process that requires constant maintenance.
Web design — and really, design in general — is all about finding the right balance between form and function. You need to use the right fonts, colors, and design motifs. But the way people navigate and experience your site is just as important.
Skilled designers should be well versed in this concept and able to create a site that walks the delicate tightrope between the two.
A key thing to remember about the launch stage is that it’s nowhere near the end of the job. The beauty of the web is that it’s never finished. Once the site goes live, you can continually run user testing on new content and features, monitor analytics, and refine your messaging.
The above steps should be kept in mind while creating a website. Vie Signals is your own local website designing company in London, UK serving a better website designing experience. To know more visit www.viesignals.co.uk.