Websites are largely categorized as static or interactive. Static websites are typically built to advertise or market a product or a company. Interactive websites are more participatory in nature and allow users to perform certain defined actions - like filling up a registration form or perform a fund transfer in a bank account. Usually the user is guided and navigated through the pages of the site to ensure minimal errors and retries.
Website designs are guided by certain design principles. These principles have evolved with the evolution of the internet-connected-device – progressing from plain old desktops to fancy mobile gadgets, which the present generation cannot do without. The underlying principles however have remained the same and the fundamental dictum the web designer should go by, is presentation.
Any web designer is expected to understand the purpose of the site and cater to the primary audience. They could be teenagers attempting to play a song from their favorite radio station on their mobile, or a corporate official attempting to read through a sales graph on an iPad. The design should be funky and catchy for the first, and sober with more weight given to the content, for the second.
The designer is also expected to understand the customer’s preferences, and if possible, interact with them to come up with the best design suited to the customer. A very colorful website could be a major source of irritation for a customer, but the same could make another customer quite bright and cheery.
The home page or landing page, which is the first page that the viewer is directed to, is called the lead capture page. It can capture the attention of a viewer or repel the viewer and hence design time is mostly spent on this page. It would be prudent on the part of the web designer to have 3 - 4 designs available for the site owner to choose from. This page is a representation of the personality of the owner(s) and hence forms a crucial part of the design.
Content, graphics, and videos should be evenly distributed. Changes to conventions are permissible provided they don’t place challenges to the viewer. The designer can experiment with graphics or navigation style, as long as the user is pleasantly taken through the website. Surprises will not be appreciated by an official wondering what went wrong with his previous month’s sales. It could be, however, welcomed by a person attempting to book a table at his favorite restaurant. Hence context is once again key.
An awareness of the technology used to develop the website, its limitations, and design capabilities, would help the designer to channelize his run of imagination, preventing rework that would happen if the design becomes un-implementable.
Web designing is an enticing topic for those inclined towards the arts and the sciences. Jakob Nielson – called the king of Usability Engineering, has written many articles on this subject. A research on his guidelines can be quite enlightening to the designer.
With the onslaught of internet enabled gadgets of different sizes and resolutions, the designer has to be able to maximize the visual footprint in the minimal area available. If the website design is able to impress the audience, be intuitive, and ensure that the message it intended to convey is clearly communicated, within the average browsing time of an average viewer, the designer has succeeded in his mission.
Brianne is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and design. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on Android PDF Reader attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on interior design software.