Web Design Knowledge Base
One of our areas here at Wow Internet is web design and we take great pride in all of our work. Design itself is arguably the most important aspects of any website because this is really the shop window of your online business. A common mistake that companies make, however, is thinking that web design is all about aesthetics and not looking at design from the view of the user and search engines (which is extremely important).
When designing a new website, you should be looking at creating the best possible 'user experience' for visitors to the website. This user experience is made up of several different factors; structure, aesthetics, usability and functionality:
An integral part of a successful website is its' structure as this provides a backbone to the entire system and can really dictate how easily the site can be modified at later dates, how information is represented to the end user and how the search engines will consume the different pages and data on the site.
When building your website structure, you should have clearly defined areas on each page that are used for specific data consistently through the website, for example, having a header area on each product page that contains an image gallery of the individual product. If you had the product image gallery in different places across the different pages then this can cause confusion to the end user and provide a poor overall experience, however, keeping consistency not only helps the user to find information easier but it also helps search engines to find data easier on the website which will improve the website's search engine optimisation (SEO).
The look of your website is what can really dictate your brand image and consistency plays a critical role here. Ensuring that you have synergy among all your online and offline materials is essential, therefore your website should fit with all of your other branding in order to avoid confusing customers. As well as this, each different page on the website should keep a familiar theme (just like with the site structure), however each different section of the website should be clearly distinguishable from the next.
If you have created a website that perfectly matches all of your branding, attracts visitors and is a joy to look at then it would all be a huge waste of time if the end user cannot navigate around the website correctly. It is not uncommon at all for this to happen and the best way to overcome this issue is to look at design from the perspective of a new user. Keep navigation routes simple and don’t have more than two main navigation bars on the webpage as this can confuse users. It should be clear within the first few moments of accessing the website exactly where you have to click to get to another section of the website, and if this is not the case then it can result in the website having a high bounce rate.
One problem that many web designs often have the frustration of facing (ourselves included!) is designing a site that is compatible on all sorts of different media and browsers. With the increased popularity of mobile internet and the wider use of different web browsers (not to mention the ever-present stubbornness of Microsoft Internet Explorer) then the website design must be cross compatible.
Simplicity is often he key to success and it is all too often that even major companies with huge marketing budgets will overcomplicate their website in order to make it as feature-rich as possible when in reality all it does is create confusion and overcrowding. If you look across all of the website designs that we have created then you will see that we hold these core values throughout all of them and that usability plays a major part in our design strategy.
Deciding what kind of functionality the website will have is a very dynamic process and this can be changed several times during the lifespan of the site, however, it is imperative that the key functionalities are decided on well in advance. By this we mean features such as a way in which users can contact the firm through the website, an online product catalogue, a blog, an online forum, media gallery, etc. Once the functions of the website have been decided they must then fit in with the structure, aesthetics and usability of the site.