Websites – by now it’s a staple of any successful marketing mix. But there are shades of grey between the black and white of a good or bad website. The difference between “a website” and “the website” is more than just cosmetic. A good website offers simple, positive user experiences (UX) and turns visitors into customers. The criteria for good UX changes from day to day. Which is why you should select your website designer and developer carefully.
Web Design Trends
Using the word trends makes the art and science of a website seem flippant or seasonal. It’s not. The ideal website not only incorporates the latest best practices for user experience and SEO, but looks stunning in all display formats. Mobilegeddon hammered home how important it is for your site to be mobile-friendly. But as web interface technology, like smart phones, tablets and desktops, continues to evolve, so do the requirements for a top notch website.
Web Design Experts
How does one determine which vendor or agency is an expert? Below is a quick guide to evaluating potential vendors. There are many different kinds of agencies and they can deploy a slew of web technologies – but researching your needs and having clearly defined goals for your website will help determine which path to take.
23% of the Internet runs on WordPress. Considering the thousands of available platforms, that’s a huge number. What’s your site running on? Don’t know? Then give us a call.
- Meet and Discuss
Take the time to sit with stakeholders and create a plan. This will save your money and your web designers’ time. This plan will be your roadmap to website design success. To get the website your business needs, you need to ask your company and yourself some serious questions about how it’s going to be used. A reputable designer and developer will encourage and expect this sort of exploration and discussion.
- Talk About Process
Ask your developer about their processes. Understand (at least in layman’s terms) what is really happening. Website design involves three or four disciplines, half of which are artistic and the other half highly technical. To take an idea for a website through to a functioning, well-ranked, user-friendly online experience requires designers, writers and developers.
- Ask About Revisions
Be sure to determine how you will be making changes to the appearance and functionality of the website. When a site is being built, sometimes they don’t behave or appear as expected – this can be because of a miscommunication or a side effect of the viewing technology or a dozen other reasons. Be sure you determine how you will communicate website design changes to your developer.
- Ask About CMS Software
CMS stands for Content Management System. This is a method by which you will modify your new website. There are literally hundreds of different CMS packages – but typically a developer will support one or two different systems. The CMS is important because it’s going to affect your long-term maintenance cost. The CMS is designed so that those of us who are less technical can modify and update websites. WordPress is an example of a CMS.
When your website is created, you’ll need to know who is going to host it, where and what technologies they support as well. This goes hand in hand with the CMS question – who fixes it, when, and how.
- Ask About Scalability
Make sure if your website is likely to grow, that your web developer is aware of and has planned for that. With a modern CMS, growth is easy. But planning for it will make new services and product offerings all the easier to implement.
- Ask about HTTPS
What? You’re probably familiar with HTTP (hyper-text transfer protocol). It’s what computers use to send and display web pages. So what’s the S? The S stands for secure. It’s a little addition that indicates your connection is securely encrypted. It’s protection from bad guys and it’s becoming more and more important. Rumor has it that Google is going to be factoring this into search engine rankings, if they haven’t already…
- Ask about Mobility
The contemporary best practices for web design all suggest that your site design should start from the mobile scale – that is design for the screen size of a hand held device, then scale up to tablet size, then finally a full website. This will reduce the time and effort needed to get your site “mobile ready.” If your web developer isn’t concerned about mobile or hand held units and the traffic they provide, they’re still working from 2003 standards. Think about that.
Website Design vs. Software
It’s important to think of your website as software – because it is. Do you still use a version of Word or Windows or Mac OSX from 2005? Of course not. Your website should be frequently updated to reflect the ongoing changes in web design best practices and the evolving standards of user experience.
The synergy of art and technology required to create a website that will exceed expectations is truly something amazing.