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Website design

sketch of this site's portfolio page
Sketch used in creating design for this site's portfolio page.

Website design matters

Research has demonstrated that visitors use a website’s appearance as a factor when deciding whether or not to trust it. That means that how your website look is very important. Even if your site works well, it may fail to bring in customers if they don’t like how it looks. Or, worse, having a dated site may lead to clients questioning the legitimacy of the website itself. That’s why we devote significant time to getting website design right. In all our designs, we strive to create intuitive sites that work well and look great.  

Current but custom website design

During the design phase, we work with our clients to create a modern and user-friendly site. A part of how users consider the appearance of a site is whether or not its style matches current trends. An outdated site may lead visitors to question if the information on it is still accurate and otherwise question the site’s usefulness. To avoid these issues, we work to stay up-to-date on design trends so that our site designs match current styles.

Of course, within trends we also consider our clients’ audiences and how they will view various trends. Ripped jeans have their place and are officially cool again, but that doesn’t mean they’re appropriate for a conservative office. Similarly, brutalist websites can grab attention and stand out, but they won’t convey the right mood and feeling for many businesses. When designing websites, we balance current trends with how our client’s audience will perceive a design. We also think about longevity — some trends are simply trends that won’t last. Others are improvements over existing systems and worth adopting.

Client input is critical

Our website design process typically begins with a meeting to clarify and confirm the client’s needs and desired aesthetic. The design meeting usually focuses on what the client likes and does not like about their current site and what they want in their new site. With the client’s input and any available analytics, we identify the most important aspects of their site. This lets us highlight and draw attention to those areas in the new design. We recognize that aesthetic preferences vary by individual, which is why we put in the time to learn what our clients like and don’t. To help guide us, we usually ask clients to share a few sites they like the look and feel of. These examples tend to provide loads of information that would be challenging to explain through words.

Google Analytics review

Depending on the project, we sometimes take one additional step before actually mocking up a website: we conduct a review of the client’s Google Analytics account. This can provide us useful insights, like which pages are the most popular and what devices visitors use frequently. This information further informs our design process and helps us to focus on the most popular pages and devices. 

Finding your style

Once we have a solid understanding of what a client wants and what aspects of the site our design needs to highlight, we start designing. We kick things off with a few homepage mockups. The client then chooses their favorite of homepage. From there, we’ll go through a few rounds of edits as we refine and finalize the design, giving the client an opportunity to provide input at each step. Based on the chosen homepage, we build out the rest of the subpages for the site. If you’re interested in learning more about our process, our main designer provides additional details in his blog post.

Prototype where needed

Once our clients approve a design, we may create a rough prototype with a few clickable areas. This can serve as a final check before development starts. We sometimes also ask a few of the client’s users to review the prototype so they can identify any pain points we overlooked. Spending this additional time testing and prototyping before development can help identify problems at a time when we can more easily correct them. This can ultimately save time by reducing the need to redo time-consuming development work. Whether or not we create a prototype will depend on budget and if we have some reason for concern about the usability of certain aspects of the design.

If you’re interested in starting a project with us, or want to learn more about how we handle design, please reach out in the form below.

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