The visual design of a web resource is one of the most significant components of any online platform. After all, the effectiveness of promotion, the level of customer loyalty, and the ability to achieve business goals depend on how attractive and memorable, convenient and functional it is. Therefore, they attract professionals with deep knowledge, skills and experience.
All design development stages can be divided into four complexes:
- Preparation – involves collecting and processing information, conducting various studies, discussing requirements and details during a briefing to form a unified concept and determine a plan for further interaction, drawing up technical specifications and an agreement.
- The concept is the creation of the image and further style of the project.
- Layout – all the points specified in the technical specifications are gradually implemented, the result of which should be a completed digital product.
- Completion – testing is carried out, identified errors are corrected, changes are made as necessary, everything is checked again and only after approval the concept is transferred to the developer.
The first stage of creating a website design
Before proceeding directly to the implementation of the task, you need to carefully plan and formalize everything. Everyone influences the quality of the final result stages of creating a website design. But it is during the preparatory phase that the basis for future interaction is laid: the customer provides requirements and wishes, the studio works out the structure, indicates the cost and draws up an agreement.
The entire further process depends on the ability of the parties to come to a common denominator and establish effective communication. Having a step-by-step plan will allow you to avoid misunderstandings and build mutually beneficial cooperation, as a result of which the customer will receive a web resource that meets his expectations and business goals on time, and the contractor will receive a loyal client and payment.
This is the first communication between the client and the contractor, during which all the details are discussed. It can be carried out in the form of a personal meeting, questionnaire, video/audio call, correspondence by mail or messenger. More often brief for website development compiled in the form of a questionnaire that details each step of cooperation and provides answers to many questions.
Thanks to the brief, it is possible to save time and money by avoiding making a large number of edits and countless calls on each issue. After all, the document collects all the necessary information that will definitely be needed later.
What does a standard brief include:
- Key information about the company, field of activity, target audience, competitive environment.
- The purposes for which the web platform is planned (increasing sales or product recognition, improving reputation, attracting partners, transition from offline to online, etc.).
- Budget and time available.
- Distribution of roles – areas of responsibility, rules for approving changes, making amendments are determined.
- Risks – an algorithm of actions in case of unforeseen circumstances is thought through (reduction in funding or deadlines, the impact of force majeure, circumstances, etc.).
- Wishes and restrictions – everything that is allowed or prohibited to be implemented (certain colors, terms, themes, other features).
- Result evaluation – criteria and parameters of the effectiveness and quality of the completed project.
- Organizational aspects are prescribed to ensure the comfort of all participants and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts (suitable hours and days, methods of communication, etc.).
- After discussing all the issues, the participants understand whether the conditions are suitable for them and decide on the possibility of cooperation. If the outcome is positive, based on the brief, a technical specification is drawn up with a detailed description of all steps, costs and deadlines.
Calculation of the cost of work
The price of services can be calculated in several ways: by the number of pages and components, by the number of hours spent by specialists. If calculation of the cost of website design is carried out according to the first algorithm, then they simply take into account the volumes. As a rule, the price of the main page is always much more expensive than the amount that will be asked for drawing a unique graphic design for the internal pages.
If a web studio calculates payment by resource, then the estimate is based on the number of employees and the price of their labor per hour. In this case, the final amount depends on the duration of work on the project, as well as the skill level of the involved team member – prices for junior, middle and senior can differ significantly.
When calculating the amount, be sure to take into account everything what’s included in website design creation. After all, technical specifications can differ greatly: while to draw a small information portal in light colors it is enough to create several backgrounds and buttons, an online store of gadgets will require careful drawing of a logo, many icons and fields, interactives, animation and other things.
Preparation of contract
After all points have been agreed upon, a legal document is signed defining the terms of cooperation. Website development agreement includes: calculation of payment, terms and obligations of the parties, as well as rules for ownership of intellectual property. Relies on a detailed technical specification, clarifies responsibility for changes, ensures confidentiality and provides a mechanism for resolving conflicts. It is desirable that the document be simple and understandable to all persons involved and protect their rights and interests.
Collection of information and materials
This is one of the critical stages, since the outcome will directly depend on the quality of the preparation. After all, each individual website design project includes stages of work, based on research and analysis conducted during the preparatory period.
The customer, for his part, must be as open as possible, able to clearly formulate the goals of interaction and describe the desired result, ready to provide any requested information. After all, the better specialists understand the specifics of the business and the uniqueness of the product, the more successfully they will be able to implement all the information received in design solutions.
Web studio employees, in turn, conduct in-depth analysis and a whole range of research in order to be able to design not only a beautiful and convenient product, but also make it competitive, effective, contributing to the development of the company, building visitor loyalty, attracting new orders and increasing profits.
Customer materials and information
The following information is provided:
- Everything about the company: name, founding date, address, contacts, field of activity, sales geography, Internet resources, achievements, awards.
- Brand features: advantages, production specifics, values and philosophy, mission, tone of voice, slogan.
- Parameters of the target audience: it is desirable to obtain a detailed portrait of a potential client, indicating age, gender, place of residence, income level, social status, hobbies and interests, needs and pains. If there are any statistical or analytical studies, they are also requested.
- Products or services: characteristics, descriptions, pros and cons, price segment.
- Unique selling proposition: what is the benefit of contacting the company, what makes it stand out among hundreds of the same ones.
- Market trends: development paths, preferences of target audience, ideas of partners.
- Long-term and short-term plans.
If the brand already has it, it is used in web development. We are talking about a unique set of design elements (logo, color palette, typography and general appearance of graphics) that makes a brand or product recognizable, emphasizing its individuality and values.
Thanks to the corporate style consistent in all graphic materials, the business begins to be associated with certain colors, images, and messages. Corporate style in website design complements printing and visuals of groups/pages in different communication channels, creates a cohesive image, consolidates a positive impression and distinguishes it from competing companies.
Niche and competitor research
At this stage, competitors’ web sites are analyzed to identify stable trends, successful design ideas and common mistakes. Attention is paid to both recently emerging “players” in the field, who were able to achieve success in a short time, and to reputable brands that have long and stubbornly held the title of niche leaders. It is important to understand what unites them and allows them to attract new visitors and maintain the loyalty of regular customers.
Niche research helps to understand the needs of the market and the pain points of the target audience, analyze consumer behavior, find current trends and points of contact with visitors. Provides a more accurate understanding of the dynamics of market development for correct positioning and visual design, taking into account the characteristics of the target audience.
Selection of design references
A reference is an example for inspiration. This is something that can be relied upon as an acceptable outcome. Before that, how to design a website, the network collects variants of already launched projects, which in one way or another correspond to what should turn out in the end.
Collecting references makes it possible to find good ideas, study new trends, help you understand what to start from, what direction to move in, as well as eliminate unacceptable trends and more accurately determine the details. Having a ready-made example in front of your eyes, it is easier to discuss the project and agree on specific points, synchronize goals and convey wishes.
The customer can select references by showing the designers what he wants to get and which sites he likes best. A web studio employee can also look for successful sites, showing examples from his own portfolio or network. Studying similar projects also helps in situations where you want to test the viability of an invented concept.
Prototyping is a layout that demonstrates the structure and appearance of a web project with a schematic display of the main elements and simulation of user interaction with the functionality. Prototyping allows you to present an idea and evaluate usability, find and fix bugs before full design, saving a lot of money and time.
The prototype is designed in graphic editors or special programs; it may differ in clickability and detail. Thanks to it, you can easily test the solution without significant investments, quickly make edits, refine vulnerable areas, and only after that start programming and layout.
Problems that prototyping solves:
- Identifying bugs – and fixing them at minimal cost, as opposed to the situation when changes are made to already written code and programs.
- Searching for the best ideas is a chance to test several ideas, choosing the most successful one.
- Usability assessment – to check whether it is comfortable to deal with the functional part, whether everything is clear, whether it is possible to go to the specified section or perform an action in a couple of clicks.
This is any information presented in different formats (text, photo, video or audio), on the main page, pages with descriptions, in separate fields, blocks in order to attract and retain visitors.
Dealing with the fact what is website content, you need to know the fundamental criteria that it must meet:
- SEO optimization – all materials must be clearly structured and meet the requirements of search engines, which generate results and raise high-quality, useful and formatted articles to the TOP.
- Literacy – the absence of spelling, grammatical, stylistic, punctuation and other errors.
- Credibility – is responsible for the benefit of the content for the visitor and the level of trust.
- Informativeness – the more interesting and “catchy” the content is, the more people will come and return.
- Relevance – compliance of the content with the realities of the surrounding world and current trends.
- Uniqueness – affects SEO and traffic, distinguishes it from competitors.
- Originality – planning the main design stages and when ordering content from specialists, many follow template algorithms, forgetting that the modern market requires non-standard solutions and creativity. There are up to two billion web resources in the world. But only those that are worked on by talented performers who know how to look for exclusive solutions become successful.
The final goal of the designer is to make the resource efficient and fulfill all assigned tasks. After all website design is created to close specific issues that are clearly stated in the technical specifications and become the basis for developers. This could be informing about a new promotional offer (landing pages) or increasing sales by adding an online channel (online store).
How to build a website design and what the result depends on:
- Following the basic principles – a harmonious combination of shades and fonts, correct composition and division of space, mandatory consideration of behavioral factors and psychological characteristics of human perception of visuals.
- Attention management – it should be noted that the resource has only 2-3 seconds to form a first impression on the user and the desire to stay here and not move on. A professional designer can not only make a product “catchy” and informative, but also capable of creating a desire to read/look further, move to other blocks, and participate in interactions.
- Highlighting CTA elements using graphic techniques – to unobtrusively lead the buyer to perform the target action (click on the “buy” button or call a phone number, for example).
There are a huge number of directions and each of them can be an ideal choice for a particular site. User preferences change over time: something becomes trendy, something becomes irrelevant. But when choosing, you should focus more on the parameters of the resource being designed and the target audience than on fashion trends.
What are the different styles of online projects:
- Classic – with simple and straight lines, calm shades, standard fonts, a template grid of blocks. It is distinguished by accuracy and rigor, suitable for serious topics.
- Apple style – many see it literally, citing as an example the visual of the corporation’s resource, which is characterized by minimalism, strict hierarchy, clarity, emphasis on the product and cutting off everything unnecessary.
- Minimalism – few spectacular details, a lot of free space, emphasis on individual points, monochrome or 2-3 colors, clarity and sophistication in every line.
- Hand-drawn – looks exclusive and unusual, is the result of the work of an illustrator and is expensive, often with handwritten headings.
- Informational is a standard visual for news agencies and news publications, which perfectly performs its functions and can be suitable for corporate blogs and business cards.
- Metro – with a card structure and a clear grid of content arrangement in space, functional and easily adaptable for mobile devices.
- Vintage is elegant and chic, but strict and decorative. With frames, monograms, patterns, black and white photos, muted tones and sophisticated textures.
- Polygonal – futuristic and creative, built on the basis of geometric shapes and simplification, overlaying backgrounds and images for depth and volume.
- Eco – in natural colors, with straight lines and pleasant backgrounds, translucent images and readable text. They leave a pleasant aftertaste with imperceptible interactivity, logic, and decorativeness.
- Grunge is creative and extravagant, sometimes careless and bold, in dark shades and complex textures, shocking and catchy.
- Flat – with simple two-dimensional illustrations, without complex 3D graphics and shadows, gradients. Neatness, simplicity, classic design, and a grid with a minimum of columns.
- Retro – visual with antique effects, banners and appropriate typography, in pastel colors.
- High-tech – in a cold black and white palette, with metal textures, broken geometric lines, drawings, diagrams.
- Brutalism – uses bright saturated colors, non-standard shapes, an abundance of animation, and a lack of logic in construction. All this may even look repulsive at times, but it always stands out and is well remembered.
- Festival – focuses on entertainment and eclecticism, many visualizations and WOW effects, brightness and colorfulness. Often used to advertise individual events, activities, offers.
Ui ux website design
The development of the visual design of the resource is carried out by User Interface and User Experience designers. UI UX design – these are two sides of the same process, combining visual and functionality.
UI (User Interface) focuses on the external: icons, color palette, header and everything that a person sees. UX (User Experience) is focused on meeting the needs of the user by optimizing navigation, convenience, and logical organization of internal architecture. This is one of the most important stages of website design creation, on which the effectiveness of “communication” between the user and the functionality depends.
It is carried out using Figma – an online editor that allows you to design the internal architecture and appearance of the interface for subsequent programming using CSS and HTML. Figma provides tools for designing layouts, arranging elements, and setting styles, making it a popular tool for designers and front-end developers.
Having gone through everything main stages of working on web design, it is important to correctly layout the final product. The main advantages of Figma are easy export of ready-made layouts in any format, convenient functionality for team collaboration, tools for interactivity and visualization, a large selection of tools for vector graphics, drawing, and the implementation of the most daring ideas.
We are talking about checking all components for correctness, performance, convenience, and absence of bugs:
- Functionality – correct launch of all functions, forms, links, search, adding/deleting, content verification.
- Usability – in order to feel whether navigation is comfortable, evaluate the impression created on the user, and identify unnecessary and missing elements.
- Interface – adaptability, compliance with standards, rules (heading length, translation accuracy, cross-browser compatibility).
- Loading speed and security, local specific tests.
Transferring the project to the client or developers
Clear and understandable communication between the employer and the contractor is important in any stage of quality design. This aspect is also important when transferring a digital product. The Contractor provides all files in a convenient format, guaranteeing the availability of resources and source data. The layout must be completely ready for implementation, each step and component must be clearly recorded.
This is not just a PSD file or a rendered picture, but a set of a lot of details in different formats (fonts, logo, favicon, colors, buttons, etc.), with rendering of the behavior of individual components when interacting with them, pop-ups, etc., explanatory note and style guide.