There is a lot more to the perfect website than making it look ‘pretty’ and it is vital to remember that no matter how good the website development or design agency is, they can never create a perfect site without copious amounts of input from the client.
In essence, both have to work together in the development process to ensure that the resulting design is both visually stunning whilst at the same time meeting the objectives of the business.
This document covers ten ways that will enhance this website development process. Follow them and you can be sure that your site will be the best it possibly can be…
Tip One – Focus on what you see as being a problem and leave the solutions to the web designer
It is always best to let the experts come up with the solution to a problem that you see, rather than trying to come up with the answers yourself.
Don’t think that this concerns just a few parts of the site, it does not. In fact, it covers anything to do with the site, right down to the colours used for the Title tag.
The important thing is to raise the issues you see as problems with the designer and then sit back and let them come up with the solution. They may well come back with something you would never have thought of, something that would have been missed if you had simply stated what you wanted them to do.
Tip Two – Remember it’s all about the users’ needs and your business objectives.
As the business owner, your knowledge of your market place is key. You know what your users need and what’s more, you know what you want the visitors to your site to do (these being the objectives of the business).
With this in mind it is vital that you concentrate on what you need too, whilst leaving the details of the design to the designer.
So, when presented with a design solution, ask yourself two questions: how will my users react and will it they then do what I need them to do, if the site is to meet my businesses objectives?
Tip Three – Don’t just copy your competition
Whilst using your competitors’ (or other) websites as a source of ideas, it is dangerous to blindly copy them in the belief that they have ‘got it right’. For a start, their offering, or ‘perfect customer’ could well be different from yours.
Then there is the matter of just being at the same level as them, when in fact you want to be ahead. This means you and your designer have to come up with something different and innovative.
Tip Four – Realise that it’s not about you…
Design is a very personal thing, but the thing to remember is that it does not matter what you (or for that matter, what the boss, want), instead it is all about the user.
This means instead of asking yourself ‘Do I like the design?’ you have to ask ‘Will our users like it?”
Tip Five – Remember that a camel is a horse designed by a committee
The old saying about too many cooks spoiling the broth is just as relevant to web design as it is to cooking. Too many views simply end up muddying the water.
The trick is to ensure the number of people involved is kept as low as possible, whilst of course including all the ‘voices’ of the business that can really add something to the discussion.
Tip Six – Always ask for the reason behind a view
It is quite common for clients to ask some of their friends or business acquaintances about the designs they are presented with, but if you do, you must make sure you find out what the reason is behind their views.
For instance, if they say they don’t like the colours used, then ask them why. This is important as often there are underlying reasons for their reactions. Only when you know these can you pass them on to the designer, who can then make any appropriate changes.
Tip Seven – Don’t break with the past without good cause
There is always a temptation to break new ground when creating a website, for instance putting the menu at the bottom rather than the top or left hand side. Such innovations are not to be used without a really good reason, as such changes are not likely to be well received by your users, it just being too far from what they have been used too.
In fact, there is a lot of science and psychology behind how sites are built, and it is always better practice to work with them rather than against.
Thus the tip is to really avoid working from hunches or your personal preferences. Instead let the designer use his knowledge to create the design in a manner that they know will work.
Tip Eight- If you have doubts about the design get feedback from others
Sometimes you may find yourself in the position of being unsure about the design, or even the direction in which your site is going. In such cases, test the design / direction by obtaining feedback from a bigger group.
There are many ways to get such feedback, and none of them need to be time consuming or too expensive.
Such testing will either give you confidence in the suggested design, or allow you to back up the fact that changes are needed with some real data.
Tip Nine – Remember that changes can be made
Whilst it is important to remember to get things right with your new site from the outset, you have to realise that unlike printed matter, your site can be changed at any time in the future.
This means that making a design decision isn’t final because you can always make changes in the future.
Tip Ten – When presenting the design to others, remember that context is everything
There is no doubt that you and your designer will have spent hours considering how to approach the matter of the design for your website. This should mean that both are fully conversant with the reasons and context behind any decisions.
The problems start when you present the design to someone who does not have the full background as yourself. So remember to make sure you brief anyone you share the design with about the reasons behind it.