One of the most important elements of our web design work is making certain that we determine our clients’ design style at the beginning of the design process. If we miss the boat on this, then we waste time, money, energy and inspiration.
Since the design element of our work is very important to us, we’ve fine-tuned our methods and have become pretty good at determining our clients’ design style from the outset.
Our new clients are given a questionnaire, asking them to think about various design elements. Here are a few things we like clients to consider:
- Content-focused or graphic-focused? Do you want your visitors to focus more on the content of your site, or do you want them to be inspired by the feeling the design offers? Content-focused sites might apply to news or heavy blogging sites. Graphic-focused sites might be better suited for sites offering an experience, such as travel, religious sites, certain products, clothing and venues. What do you think will best suit your purpose?
- Minimalist or elaborate? Do you like a clean, white background, with a few stand-out graphics and clean, readable fonts? Do you like lots of white space and clean lines? Or do you like plenty of texture, layering, and color blends in your design? Would you like your site to have several different areas of interest or interaction? Does a collage look appeal to you? Keep in mind that BOTH styles can be equally informative.
- Take a look at your brand. If you have a set logo, that is unalterable, that might help you determine your style, especially if you have invested time and money with a marketing professional to brand your business. You can use your branding look and feel to help lead the design of your site. Is your logo clean and sharp, or more artistic? Is it something you want to feature prominently on your site? If so, your logo may be the place to start.
- Are you developing a relationship or pushing a call to action? What is your site about? Do you want to draw visitors in and have them return again and again? Or are you trying to have your visitor make a commitment, make a purchase, sign-up or give feedback? Maybe you want to do both. Either way, this is an important aspect of design, since a call-to-action element usually needs to be fairly prominent on the homepage and secondary pages on a site. If you are more focused on developing a relationship with your visitors, then you want to highlight your website’s personality, your ‘connectiveness’ (blog interaction, social media, categories of content). Simply said, you want your visitors to find a home to come back to.
- What sites do you HATE? Sometimes working backward is the easiest way. If you find it hard to put into words what you like, try finding 3-5 sites that you hate and explain why. You might discover very quickly a theme in your ‘dislikes’ that translates quite easily into what you do like.
Doing a little bit of homework beforehand can make your web development experience much more rewarding. From my experience, clients who know what they like and don’t like, and are confident in those opinions are the most enjoyable to work with. It is our job, as the web designer/developer to help you ask yourself the right questions. And maybe to ask more questions after that. We want YOUR input, because we want you to be thrilled with the end result!
Copyright 2012 Lauren Gulde