The Basics of What is Web Design
When you hire a Denver web design team, what you are hiring them for is to create a website that is viewable and accessible via the internet. A simple definition but one that incorporates so much more. Today’s web design is about going beyond something that’s just functional to create a visually appealing and accurate representation of the company or brand that’s the subject of the website. This means web design also includes the use of web apps like e-commerce functionalities as well as ensuring the website can be accurately and effectively viewed on mobile devices.
The following ultimate guide to website design is going to look at the goals every web designer should have when designing a website as well as some of the key elements every modern web designer should incorporate into a company website.
Goals of Commercial Web Design
There are two goals every website, yes, every website should have:
- To educate visitors about the brand behind the website.
- To convert visitors into somehow investing with the individual, company, nonprofit, etc behind the website.
Another way to think of “investing” is “conversion”. Every good web design should aim to inspire visitors to convert to whatever it is the brand behind the website is selling. But remember, selling doesn’t necessarily need to mean actually selling a physical product or understood service (although it does often include that).
For example, a group of Denver musicians form a band together and dream of being the next big thing. As a band, their own goals are to get fans and make money (and of course, enjoy what they do!). Thus, when they build a website, they need to convert casual visitors into becoming:
- Fans of their music
- Fans who will buy their music
So you see, the website has to sell both an idea (love of the music itself) as well as the actual physical products of a t-shirt or CD. You will also see these types of less-physical conversions in other industries, such as non-profits who need to convert website visitors into volunteers as well as donors.
But because our fictional Denver band will also need to reference the website when looking to book at new venues or events with other bands, the website will need to appeal to more than just the casual music lover. They need the website to likewise convert professional visitors into people willing to invest in their music via gigs and shared bookings.
So, to achieve all three types of conversions, the website will need to adequately fulfill that first goal of properly educating the visitor as well as engaging them and enticing them into the conversion. How? By using the right mix of web design elements.
Incorporating the Right Web Design Elements
The Denver website design team hired to complete our fictional band’s website will incorporate a variety of web design elements that can be separated broadly between visual elements that improve the site’s appearance and functional elements that improve how visitors experience the site. The following will look at key web design elements (some of which are both functional and aesthetic) in both these categories and why they are so important:’
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We think about grids in engineering and architecture design, but they are just as important when it comes to website design. Grids are about proportions and as anyone who has ever taken a basic art history course will now, proportions are a central component of appealing art.
Concepts like the Golden Ratio have been used by artists for thousands of years, and that tradition continue today with graphic artists and web design. Why? Because studies continue to show that the human brain responds best to structure and proportions. Thus, when building a website, it should be built with a grid-based design that keeps this orderly and attractive to visitors.
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Again, orderliness is critical in web design. The Denver website designer mut make it easy for visitors to find what it is they are looking for otherwise they are apt to get frustrated and leave the website entirely. Every website should incorporate a well-executed navigation that gives the visitor confidence that as soon as they hit the website, they will need to get to where they are going.
For those who don’t see this as a relevant or high-priority website design element, one just needs to look at the foibles that happened over the last year with government websites in relation to COVID-19. Older and disabled citizens consistently struggled with these websites primarily due to poor navigation, especially when it came to websites regarding vaccine bookings.
Good navigation elements include:
- Streamlined header navigation that has all the basics.
- Have-it-all footer navigation bar that includes more detailed but less searched for pages and information.
- A search bar and function! Every website that seeks to convert visitors from a broad spectrum of personalities should include some type of search bar. Every person on the internet knows how to type in a search box to find the information they need and to do so quickly. Not including a search function in modern web design will alienate visitors.
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This one is a more obvious one, but it is likewise an essential element of all web design. There absolutely must be color cohesion when creating a website. Not having cohesion or having colors that are mismatched against each other results in a page that looks “loud” and is apt to bounce visitors. In contrast, a website that has cohesive colors that are branded will be more appealing and work to better entice, engage, and ultimately convert visitors.
Other Visual Items
Colors are the start, but they aren’t the end. All effective websites also incorporate a mix of visuals that accurately represent the brand or entity behind the website. A web designer should use visual items that tell a story and make an argument for visitor conversion. For example, a web design might have:
- Illustrations that show the inner workings of a product. These illustrations help to inform the viewer and answer questions they might have on how something works.
- Videos of a product, service, or the brand at work. Back to the band example, that website should incorporate a short video from a recent show or music video. Such a video works to engage the viewer and likewise show exactly who the band is (what music they sing, what their crowds are like, etc.). A nonprofit might include a video of volunteers building a local house to likewise convert visitors to joining in on the fun. Meanwhile, a business website should incorporate a video of their products being sold and used to encourage visitors to become buyers.
- Photographs with meaning. Where you can’t incorporate a video, use photographs.
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All of the above elements can be completed flawlessly but if the website uses bad typography, it is all for naught.
Typography is even more important on websites than it is on print materials. This is because modern websites have to be responsive and have to look good on a variety of devices ranging from old desktop PCs to android phones to iPhones to everything inbetween. Using too many typefaces or non web-safe typefaces makes things look cluttered, confusing, and potentially outright unreadable.
The best web design will have around three different type faces with very clear differences in font weights/size for headers and content sections. No basic website should have more than five different font types.
A Call to Action & Contact, Learn More Options
Finally, a call to action is a must have on every website and on every blog post, article, and web page. After all, what is the point of any website if it isn’t to call the viewers to action? Make it easy for visitors to know how to get to that next step, whether it is to call your company for a quote, buy tickets for the next show, or add a product to the shopping cart.
Our Own Call to Action
And with that final critical element of web design, we want to close out with our own call to action. If you are struggling with building a website or can’t understand why your current website is failing to convert, give our Denver web design team a call and let’s get you the attention your brand deserves!