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on Wednesday, 06 September 2017

Does design matter when creating a website?

Recently I read a post by a famous designer claiming that "Good design is ephemeral" at first I felt annoyed and his point of view gave me food for thought. While a part of me wouldn't like to admit it, I realise that his point was true.

So in our visual world how critical can the design of a website be?

Taking a tour in the web I came across so many articles about design trends. Design trends are influenced by many different branches such as media, technology, usability - even from the fashion industry. So those trends follow a familiar road. They emerge slowly, gradually making their way into all design branches for like, a couple of years, and then disappear slowly again.

Current influences

In 2017 the main influence remains Google's Material Design, that suffers a few changes but still feels familiar from previous years. Between trends, you will find semi-flat design, a lot of 3D, animation and logo animation, geometric shapes and patterns, tiny design details, colour transitions, split content, landing pages and forms, hidden navigation and big bold typography. Although those things will make your website appear up-to-date and you’ll delight users with a design that inspires, engages, and excites them, they are not the only things that should matter to you or your company. A good website design is a lot more than that.

Fundamental lessons

Back in my student years, I remember our teachers trying hard to teach us a fundamental rule:

"All design is human-centered and solves a problem. If it’s not human-centered and doesn’t solve a problem, then it’s not design. And if it's not design, it’s art"

I guess this basic rule can apply in many different fields of design, even to the web nowadays. The design will always matter when creating a website, but design is not just the appearance of it. Putting the user always at the center, a great website not only has the visible design aspect, but also many features and functions which are designed to meet the needs of the user - which often go unseen.

Love at first sight, or long term respect?

While your website's visuals will create a love at first sight, things like working well on any device regardless of location, having an intuitive navigation system, good layout hierarchy, and fast loading are some of the things that will create a stable relationship.

So, blending all those things together, your awesome website has followed a long path to get to where it is now. Your designer has gone from thinking about your company's needs to that of your visitors. To do that they have carried out a lot of research, finding inspiration but also learning about your competitors. They built personas, created wireframes, mockups and then prototypes to move from conceptual ideas to visual reality. The baton then passes to the developer and then to testing until we finish up with a great website.

Why is good design important?

It’s no secret that technology has dramatically changed our experience of the world over a short period of time. While the web is changing quickly and trends even faster a functional website will not kill design in the altar of innovation.

Design shapes how people access information, communicate with one another, participate in activities and perform tasks, and this is why it has to be carefully created and tested. It is playing a critical role in the success of your business, and remember, great design can build a bridge to new visitors and customers.



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