The life of a designer is definitely an interesting one. We get to flex our creative muscles and build beautiful designs that millions of people will see, use, and hopefully appreciate. For many designers, coming up with an amazing design feels like second nature to them. They can whip up something spectacular in a couple of hours. For others, it can sometimes take weeks to come up with a design that they and their clients are satisfied with.
While designs are supposed to look nice and aesthetically appealing to users, true designers know that it needs to be functional. What do I mean by functional? It means that site visitors must be able to navigate through your website easily.
Real web design comes down to finding a balance. As a designer, you need to be able to produce something that is not only visually appealing, but that also works well for the specific website you’re building.
Understanding the Project and Idea
It’s going to be pretty impossible (or at least extremely difficult) for a designer to build a functional web design if they don’t have a proper understanding of what the website is about and its purpose. Unless you know the different features and concepts that the client wants to implement, how would you know what to design?
It’s important for a designer to sit down with their clients and figure out exactly what they are looking to achieve. Ask them questions, dig deep, and make sure you have a good grasp on the concepts they want to implement. It’s the only way to really create a good user experience.
What does the client wish to achieve with their website? Who are their competitors? Perhaps they would want to build a service-based business that emphasises on “making it easier” for their customers to use a service, as compared to their competitor.
If you are able to get all these information before starting design, you would know not to design a complex interface that their customers would have difficulty navigating. You could design something super simplistic that has the proper design elements and navigations in place that will allow power users to access advanced features through some other way.
Know Your Users
If there is one thing you should remember when it comes to user experience design – it is to actually know who you’re designing the website for. You might say that you already know who you’re designing it for, it’s for the client! Well, you’re technically not wrong. However, your client is just one aspect of it. I’d even argue that they are the least important aspect of it in some cases. You’re actually designing the website for your client’s customers and end-users.
Clients of course want you to create an amazing design for their website, and that’sa no-brainer. But what they really want is a website that their “users and
customers” will love and enjoy. Isn’t that the real goal? Is there a client who would want a website design that they are happy with, but then the end users of the website hates it? I’m sure there are some out there, but for most clients they are in it to make money from their investment of hiring people to design and develop the websites for them.
As a designer myself, I admit that sometimes you get caught up in just making sure your design looks pleasing. There is nothing wrong with that as long as your design remains functional as well. Put yourself in the shoes of the users you’re designing it for. Why don’t you try becoming a customer and investigate other websites that are related to your client’s niche. You don’t actually have to buy anything, but just look at the competition and see what some of the user complaints are. See where other designs fail and where you can excel with your new design.
Utilising these methods can really help you as the designer to come up with something that not only looks great, but that your client and their customers will love too. Whether you’re a new web designer, or a seasoned pro – these tips can help you succeed in all areas of your designing career.
At ChillyBin, our designers have years of experience designing amazing websites that not only look great, but are functional to boot. If you have a project that you feel needs some TLC, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.