Design Is More Than Graphics

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

-Steve Jobs

To successfully build a brand online these four elements must come together to create a satisfying user experience. The quality of this experience is the greatest factor in determining whether or not a visitor’s time is productive and well spent while on the site:

Website design is not simply about graphics. Certainly graphic appeal and visual impact are important, but design is much more than “how it looks.” In fact, design should be the driving force behind every aspect of a web project. And the focus for the design must be the experience a user has when visiting the site. A proper design anticipates visitors’ needs, guides them in accomplishing what they want to do, and leaves them feeling well served by the site.

Graphic Design

Developing an engaging theme, creating impact, enhancing the brand and offline marketing goods, illustrating text content, providing consistent, clear navigation, and drawing visitors into the site are all goals of a site’s graphic design.

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Technology Design

Technology elements, including databases, scripts, programs and interactivity, must all be geared towards empowering website visitors. Understanding what visitors need to do, and designing technology that helps them accomplish tasks easily are very important. A visitor can’t buy what they can’t find. And they won’t undertake a process if it’s too difficult or confusing. Likewise, information that is hidden or not easily accessed will be missed. Design is called upon to solve all of these problems.

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Information Design and Usability

The way information is organized is key to a visitor’s experience while on the site. If a site is easy to use visitors will stay longer, learn more, and use more services. A proper navigation design helps visitors understand what is available to them at a glance, and enables them to go to almost any page with just one or two clicks, making them feel comfortable and in control. Once users have a level of confidence in how the site works they are freed to examine the content in depth without being concerned about having to re-orient themselves while in the midst of working on something. How content is organized is an important consideration when designing the site.

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On-site Promotions

Part of helping visitors successfully use a website is to make important site features readily available so they won’t be missed by visitors. This is done outside the navigation using promotions. Consideration for promotional elements include placement, repetition, graphic appeal and prominence. Promotions can be used to call attention to events, services, new content, sale items and much more. Bringing to the forefront items that visitors are likely to be looking for makes the site easier to use, and ensures that the organization’s most important content, products or features won’t be overlooked.

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