It’s quick and easy to get your website up and running with these tools. Whilst it’s possible for anyone to become a webmaster in a matter of hours, the integral process of web design and their outcomes, is often overlooked.
Whether you’re thinking about designing a new site or redesigning an existing one, the process of creating a design is the product of these processes:
In the Beginning
When a client approaches us for a website, they have a decent idea of what they want. It’s our job as designers to collaborate with the client and encourage ideas, so we can cultivate a list of requirements for the design. This not only includes their requirements based on their objectives, but also heavily geared towards to requirements of their users or the users they want to target. The outcome from this collaboration is referred to often throughout the process of design.
Mapping the User Experience
Before embarking on a design, it’s time to focus on creating a user experience that meets our client’s objectives. During this time, we focus on creating:
- User personas: we identify users and their requirements and create personas which help us step into their shoes whilst going through the user journey, and
- User journeys: we map out where our user would go, their thought processes while navigating through the site and how we can solve any problems they may encounter
During this phase, it’s important to note any impairments the users may have and how we can implement changes in the design. This is called accessibility.
Accessibility may place constraints on the design, but it should never be a reason to you’re your design boring! Instead, it should be used to further push the problem-solving process and create a design that is accessible for your users.
No two problems in any project are ever the same, so we must be agile in order to come up with the best solution for our users. At times, the solution may need to be changed when the solution encounters a problem. It is a non-linear, fluid and ever-changing process.
Some of the outcomes of this phase are research documents, wireframes, user personas, storyboards and a site structure flow chart. And this is just the planning stage!
Putting the Pieces Together
Once we’ve got our user experience sorted, we move on to putting everything together and creating layouts; putting all the elements together and laying them out.
However, it’s a lot more complex than simply laying out elements on the page. It involves usability and planning in regards to how the website will look and be used when viewed on different platforms, how a user with impairments will interact to certain elements and how to optimise their experience, and how to best ensure that a user will meet certain objectives, whilst ensuring visual cohesion throughout the entire design.
During this phase, we create web design concepts for the site’s homepage and an internal page at the very least. These concepts incorporate visual elements of design such as photography, colours, negative space and typography and used for different elements including buttons, navigation and forms.
There are various roles and responsibilities that go into bringing the website design to life. From front end developers to interaction designers to back end developers, they are responsible for bringing motion to the design.
The design of a website is an elaborate process that I’ve attempted to cover in this blog post. For the perfectionist, it could be a never-ending process as there is always a better way. That should always be the focus when creating a design.