Learn what it really means to be a web designer
A web designer considers a client’s website objectives and uses information architecture to determine a website’s information hierarchy. This guides the design process involving several design principles to achieve an aesthetically pleasing web layout and an excellent user experience.
These design principles include:
- Balance: Web designers must create a balanced layout that maximizes the use of large and dark colors with small and light colors. The proportion of these values is imperative to creating a balanced website design.
- Contrast: In color theory, contrasting colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Web design uses contrasting colors, sizes, shapes and textures to pull attention to different areas and encourage the user to take actions on the site.
- Emphasis: Like contrast, emphasis is a design principle that uses highlighting to draw attention to important features or elements of the layout. Emphasis is best used sparsely to draw attention to only critical elements, rather than overloading the user.
- Consistency: Consistency, repetition or rhythm is a vital design principle for positive user experience. Consistency in design principles is used for clean navigation to encourage users to take action and spend more time on your site.
- Unity: Unity is the relationship between the different elements of the layout and the composition. Unity applies to how the human brain processes information visually by sorting it into categories.
Web designers and web developers are often used interchangeably but both web designers and web developers have unique specialties.
Web designers specialize in:
- User experience (UX): A UX web designer’s role is to keep the user engaged with the site. They craft a website that your audience will enjoy because they employ insights from the users’ demographics and needs, often conducting tests to fine-tune the site.
- User interface (UI): A UI web designer improves the way the users interact with elements of your site or its interface. This is done by translating brand ideas and values into a website that’s easy to navigate.
- Visual designer: A visual designer is a blend of both UX and UI. A visual designer works to improve the user journey with coding and creative skills and also solves design issues. Their primary role is to conceptualize the brand’s style and tone.
Web developers specialize in:
- Back-end development: A back-end developer is an expert in programming and complex software languages, such as .Net, PHP and C#. The back end is where the core structure of the website is designed. The work a back-end developer does isn’t always visible to the end-user because it takes place on the web servers and databases. They work to create logical, functional websites.
- Full-stack development: A full-stack developer works across the layers of a website, or stacks. They have the most comprehensive skill set in web development.
WARNING! All websites are not created equal
How do you know whether you need a web designer or a web developer? A designer is needed for jobs like designing a homepage layout, conceptualizing website branding or editing photos and videos. A developer is needed for creating custom functionality, website forms, creating mobile apps and fixing server or hosting issues.
Building a custom website from scratch requires both a developer and a designer. The teamwork ensures that you have a responsive website that functions properly, maximizes SEO, provides excellent user experience and is visually appealing.
When a prospective client searches for you on the internet, they form an instant impression of your business as the page begins to appear. Within seconds, they have an opinion that determines whether they move forward or click away and move on to other businesses.
A great website has the ability to impact your target market in many ways, including:
- Capturing attention.
- Establishing credibility.
- Building trust.
- Engaging users.
- Supporting customers.
- Generating leads.
- Closing sales.
- Increasing your profits.
As a marketing tool, a website is an incredibly valuable investment. Unfortunately, many businesses only work on their website as far as making it serve one or two purposes, instead of a complete strategy.
Like all other aspects of marketing, designing a great website comes down to understanding what the customer wants. From the moment a website begins to load, the user is looking for:
- Simple layouts that are easy to follow.
- Clean pages without irritating pop-up
- Copy that is large enough to read but is not overwhelming.
- Easy-loading pages with a natural flow.
- Vibrant webpages with a modern look.
- Fast load and response times.
If your website is lacking in these areas or it hasn’t been updated for several years, it’s likely not delivering on one or more of these customer expectations.
Websites also need to serve your needs as a business. In addition to what the customer expects, your site should also provide:
- Easy navigation: Websites that present challenges to visitors will likely have a high abandonment rate. Intuitive, streamlined site structure persuades users to take the next step and offers user-friendly features and information along the way.
- Great copy: The website copy should be substantive. It also needs to provide clear call to actions. Call-to-action should have clear directions to encourage the users, rather than making them guess what the next step is.
- The right colors: Colors encourage focus, trust, action, etc. Your site should have the appropriate colors in the appropriate places to move users from one location to the next.
If you’re ready for a new website, M16 Marketing can help. We’re a results-driven firm with a full-service team.