The Unspoken Rules of Web Design
Web design is everywhere.
Several people don’t notice it, but a web designer has worked on even a mundane feature like a search bar. The sole purpose of a website is to communicate. While several people think that being a website designer can be a fun job (thinking they get to play with colours and designs), it’s no easy feat.
The primary role of web designers is to get the client’s message across through the website they create. To ensure it is communicated effectively, there are several written and unwritten rules they have to follow to the bone.
Here are some of them.
The Client Is Always Right (Even When They’re Not)
– Who are you working for?
– The client.
– Who knows the business better than anyone?
– The client.
Before you start working on a project, leave your ego at the door. The client will always be the judge of whether the web design matched the brief or not. While design can be subjective, the customer will always have a better understanding of the target market. In many cases, customers have years of homework behind a brief they send to the agency.
Understand the Problem First
The customer’s brief or questionnaire is not where you end the discussion. It’s where every discussion should start. Never skip this stage. To understand what the customer truly wants, dig deep into the brief and try to make a mental note of everything you need to remember. If you don’t, you’ll end up revising most of what you’ve worked on.
Moreover, certain elements must be in the brief. Highlight those vague areas and gaps and revert to the client for a clearer description of the issue at hand. You can only come up with an informed, researched, and credible solution with a complete brief.
Don’t try to wing it!
When Confused, Start Over
How often have you decided to carry on with a shoddy design hoping you’ll make it right in the final stages? Sometimes it’s less time-consuming and easier to wipe the canvas clean and start over.
If you’re unable to make a concept work, move on. You’ll never have sufficient time to complete something, but you’ll always have enough time to wipe the slate clean.
Sleep On It
Coming back to the design in the morning with a fresh perspective can make a massive difference. This rule is often unwritten because it sounds like good ole fashioned common sense. Common sense designers sometimes overlook this.
After a night’s sleep, it may feel like you’re looking at the brief for the first time.
Work In Stages
It’s always great to be excessively creative, but without having a process to follow, you’re going to waste a lot of time. According to several industry experts, effective workflow organisation is the backbone of good web design. This practice can help you in more than one way. Not only are you going to be keeping track of project progression, but you’ll also find it easier to quote a price since you’ll know how long a certain process can take.
Make the Website Easy to Navigate
When you’re designing a website, you must ensure that it’s simple to understand. There’s no point in creating a website that isn’t useful for the audience you’re creating it for. The visitor must find a search bar on every web page, and for easy navigation, the text must be easy to read. If the visitor comes to your website with a question like “is SquareSpace good?” ensure the design provides the answer quickly.
The Design Must Be Consistent
The last thing every designer wants is to make the visitor feel like they’re on a new website every time they click on a different page. The colour schemes, the website’s layout, and the fonts need to be consistent.
You don’t want the bounce rate to go up simply because the visitors thought they were on a webpage created by hackers, do you?
Audio and Video Should Not Autoplay
Anyone who used Myspace back in 2000 has to be familiar with this particular problem. But just in case you’re not, let’s ensure you’re on the same page.
Whenever audio or video starts playing on its own, many things can go wrong. The visitor may be wearing headphones with a different volume than their browser, and the video may be an unpleasant surprise for them. It can also be possible that the visitor is viewing a website while their phone is connected to a Bluetooth speaker and all of their colleagues are listening to the video.
However, in both cases, the visitor’s first experience of the website could be of embarrassment or anger, and neither isn’t good. In most cases, they’ll quickly close the tab as soon as they open it, to get rid of the sound. So if you do decide to keep audio or a video on the website, make sure it doesn’t play automatically.
The Navigation Bar Must Be On the Top
The navigation bar is one of the most important features of every website. Every user wants an easy-to-understand and simple way to find what they’re looking for. The more you make them search for something, the less likely they are to look for it.
Place the website’s navigation bar in a predictable and consistent spot, where users expect it to jump to a different page on the website easily.
The Logo Goes On the Top Left
The website needs to have the client’s logo, which is a no-brainer.
The usual spot for a logo is the upper-left corner of the website, and if you don’t do that, there will be problems. Logos can be at the centre or the front of a landing page, but not every visitor will come to your website from the landing page. Even on the landing pages, stick to the top left.
Putting it in the footer can give it low visibility.
For a web designer, the unspoken rules must be evident in all of their projects. These rules can help budding entrepreneurs get more from a web designer than what they paid for.
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