design processThere’s the old expression that you probably heard your parents say at least once or twice: “If everybody was jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?” Certain design trends and programs become very popular and suddenly seem to be everywhere. A few years ago, when Apple started using the faded reflection under their images, soon it seemed every website was using the same reflective shadow effect. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping up with trends to look modern, you shouldn’t let staying current interfere with the user experience. Knowing what you want will help you understand what you really need.

The same can happen with platforms as well. There are thousands of websites running on WordPress with a slider, blog and an rss feed. You might feel that if every site looks like that, your site has to have the same features to compete. But does it fit the goal of your site? Or is it only distracting from the vital information your visitors are looking for?

A blog is a great way to drive traffic to a website. If you’re reading this, that proves my point. If you sell dust collectors, do you need a blog? Probably not. If you get away from the purpose of your site, selling dust collectors for example, you’ll have a website that fails.

I believe a client should get what they want with any project. But part of my job to also guide them by reminding them that it’s mainly about giving the visitor what they want as well. Visitors to your site are looking for information. And while sliders may add visual interest, if it’s only images that don’t add to the user’s experience, it may only take up space that could have otherwise been used more efficiently.

Design is not only about the look of a website. Design has to be both form and function. The goal of strong design should be to solve problems. Here’s a few thoughts from designers on their definition of good design.

Finding the right graphic designer for your project can be a challenge. There are some designers out there that are willing to give you all the elements you want. The question is, do you really need them? The more you understand what is vital to a visitor or a potential customer, the more focused the design will be and the better you’ll be able to communicate your message.