Strategic web design fuses every aspect of the design process with the goals of a company/organization. It is not a platform for the creation of visual pleasing artwork. When designing a website, you are not simply creating an interface that is user-friendly and attractive, but you are creating a platform that is able to accomplish the goals of your business or organization. With that in mind, the implementation of nubile techniques and fresh ideas should be focused and intelligent. Upon the completion of the website, your client should be in possession of an additional too for their revenue generating arsenal, not simply a virtual art gallery. The following will assist you with strategic thinking as it pertains to web design.
Implementing Strategic Web Design
Before beginning to work on client’s website, it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of the goals of your client’s business or organization. The following needs to be answered before any work commences:
- Are you needed to redesign a site or create a new one from scratch?
- What is the primary purpose of the website?
- Do I have a clear understanding of the product or service provided by the client?
- What is the time frame that the client needs the project completed?
A clear direction is essential for the design to have a viable purpose. The above needs to be discussed thoroughly with the client in order to ensure their satisfaction as well as their goals being properly met.
Identifying the appropriate audience of a business or organization is essential in regards to determining the proper design course for a website. Technical competency, age, profession and gender are a few of the demographic types that can influence the [smaller] details (fonts, etc.) of your web design for a client.
Websites with a younger targeted audience should be more technically savvy, where as those geared towards an older audience should be more based in usability as opposed to technicality.
Determine the Brand Image
It is extremely important for a designer to deeply consider the image that should be conveyed in regards to the brand that the site is intended to represent. Many web designers make the mistake of coveting and swiftly implementing the latest trends that results in a counterproductive brand image being presented to the general public that results in decreased sales and revenue for their clients.
Just because something is the latest in the realm of web design does not mean that it is appropriate for your client’s brand. When designing a website strategically, it is important to focus on the goals for the brand and not the most recent trends.
Make Designs Goal Driven
Once you have determined the target audience, the proper brand image and goals have been established, it is time to create decisions regarding design that will sync with your design strategy. Regardless of the goals, the strategy of the web design should always remain as follows: to give focus and shape to all of the design elements so that they may meet the goals of the client.
This also applies to strategies pertaining to audience and brand; an aesthetic should be designed that best fits the two. Keep in mind that new visitors to a website, generally, remain for a few seconds. When attempting to capture their attention and business in a brief amount of time, the following should be implemented:
- Illustrate the function(s) of the company’s service or product with the use of diagrams and large imagery
- Display screenshots of the application. Consumers like to know what they are getting before investing money. This also allows for trust to be established quickly.
- Give consumers a guided tour of how the product or service will be a benefit to them. This is a great opportunity to utilize videos that will be engaging to the discerning consumer.
- Have a sign-up link that is accessible from every page of the site. Do not force new visitors to back track or search for how to sign up for the product, newsletters and more. Make access as easy and user friendly as possible.
After the design is complete, it is important to measure the success of the goals that it was intended to fulfill. It is during this process that alterations may need to be made and/or you will learn what works best for certain brands and their industries.
Look for the commonality in uses that arise and work diligently and swiftly to manage and remedy them.
Use Small Steps for Continuous Improvement
Once you have published the website, keep in mind that it is not your final draft. As a matter of fact, there may never be a final version of the website. The very nature of a website allows for the introduction of improvements at any given time (as needed). Should a mistake be found, it can be correctly swiftly since the website sit on your server.
Additionally, to ensure that a site is able to be effective in its functionality, improvements and updates can be gradually introduced over time. With the use of your measurements, issues can be corrected with ease and swiftness.
It is imperative to the process that you keep in mind that strategic web design is not the creation of a work of art. The goal is not to construct a virtual Picasso for a client. The purpose is to design a platform that will fulfil a specific purpose. Granted, it can be quite simple to lose track of goals resulting in a finished project that is aesthetically pleasing and relatively useless to the client and their goals.
In order to avoid the traps that tend to be more beauty oriented versus functional, one should thinking earnestly about each deign decision made. Ask yourself is the decision will assist in the achievement of the goals. If the answer is no (or is unknown) avoid making the decision. A client is not as concerned about bells and whistles and pretty as your would lie to believe. The client is a business person, therefore is solely concerned about their bottom line. They are requesting your services in order to increase their revenue stream as their audience is increased.