Some believe that web design is not just art, but so much more. More than art, a website must convey the objectives, goals, plans, intents and purposes of an entire body of individuals (or at least one individual) working hard to transform their efforts into some kind of success – usually the highest kind. From this vantage point, web design takes on an over-arching prior agenda: it must have a strategic impetus to boldly go in the direction of progress and prosperity. In other words, it must be more than excellent – on a good number of levels, but which?
Setting goals, engaging the audience and establishing a brand new image are the basic strategic levels from which a website can excel. These are the fundamentals of strategic web design. Without these, a website is left to fend for itself on the rough and ragged nether-shores of the web universe. With them, designers are in charge, focused and willing to take website design beyond art and into the purposeful new territory.
Strategic Web Design
1. Set Objectives
Every web design project should begin with a set of objectives and main goals to provide guidance and direction along the way. Designers who get in over their heads halfway through a project may have a hard time undoing what they’ve started. This is a testament to the importance of starting with a good plan and a few specific goals in mind for every project you take on.
Every plan should begin with at least one goal central to every website: focus on function. Once you determine the function of your website, your first goal should be getting your visitors to clearly understand what your sites primary function. Then, the user interface can use the identified function as a springboard for style and content. For example, the New York Times website functions as a news site, so it’s simple, straightforward style is built around the single goal of delivering information.
New York Times
2. Audience Attention
First of all, who is your audience? Are they old, young, women, men, children? These are beginning questions that must be asked before a website can reach its full potential. Any website should first and foremost attend to its audience, but without being relatively sure who that is, the site runs the risk of neglecting a good opportunity to engage the users who turn up for a visit.
Once you’ve identified your visitors, let them guide your design choices in a way that addresses their needs and desires, but presents the type of style only you, the designer can deliver. In other words, don’t give teenagers neon colors and preschool navigation, but do give green lifestylers natural tones and eco-friendly content. Disney did a great job of making its target audience, kids, feel comfortable on its site.
3. Brand New Image
Creating a look and feel that complements a distinct brand image is another fundamental strategy in web design. No website is without a brand, even personal sites, such as blogs, have a unique way of connecting with an audience – for better or for worse. Make sure your brand image is for the better.
Here are some good example of clear-cut brand images to inspire you.
Beyond art, web design presses forward into the broader territory. Designer must have a basic strategy for doing so. These three tips here can get you going in the right direction.