Effective Web Design: First Steps

Effective Web Design

web design | centerlyneWe do a lot of social media stuff at Centerlyne, but that is not the only thing. Building a strong web presence doesn’t only involve being active on social media and evolving with its trends. Our work often begins with building a strong website for our clients. How do we do that? Through effective web design.

Many designers are able to make a website look cool. Fashion over function. This idea may prove successful in most cases, but things are different in the world of web design. According to various user statistics, function takes HUGE precedence over fashion.

Everything that we as web designers do really comes down to the end user. They are ultimately the ones who determine how the website works. Therefore, web designers must always keep the end users’ tendencies in mind when designing a profit-oriented website. In short, the appearance of a website, while important, is not what we focus on. A website can look as cool as James Dean riding a Harley in a leather jacket, but if it doesn’t function correctly, its user base will dry up quicker than MySpace’s.

So, how do we do all of this? How do we ensure that a website will work properly while also making it look good? Again, step one usually involves the end user. What are their habits? What do they look for when searching for information on any given website?

Internet users are not there to read pages and pages of information. Now, I know that by writing this article I might be contradicting that. But having a page of written information is not always a “bad” thing. Users tend to scan over a body of text to get the general idea. We have been doing this since high school. Given this, it is important that if you are planning on writing a long article, make sure that there are solid points that are easy to find. This helps guide readers through the gist of what they are “reading”.

Another trend among all internet users is their (our) means of searching for information. Many websites have a very similar layout. It often looks like this:

Home About Shop Contact Locations Blog

If a user in a small town is looking to buy something off of this website, they are likely not going to click on “locations” because they know that there is not one near them. They are not going to look at the “contact” page because, who cares? They are not going to go in a linear fashion, starting with “home”, then “about”, then “shop” and so on. They will go straight for “shop”. Web users are looking for instant gratification. Knowing this, web designers must figure out the main purpose of the website. Is it to sell stuff? Then make sure the “shop” section is solid. Is it to promote an artist or foundation? Then maybe take out the “shop” section and focus on everything else.

These are only a couple of examples, but they show how we approach a new project. It is important to have a clear idea of what you want your website to do. Why are you creating this website? Is it to sell? To promote? To create a forum? Whatever it is, the approaches to design are very different in each case. Stay tuned for more information on effective web design in the coming weeks by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or by visiting our website.


– Alec England, Columnist, Centerlyne

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