While you may think good design means something looks great, in truth there is much more to design than just how it looks.
On top of looking good, it needs to perform, convert and sometimes wow audiences. In the end, it must fulfill its purpose. If it doesn’t, then how good it looks simply doesn’t matter.
However you can’t measure good design in just one way. Some users will care more about how aesthetically appealing your site is without giving a second thought on how easy it is to use. Others will focus more on what your site says while ignoring all of your design efforts altogether and still others will simply focus on how easy it is to use your site. They don’t care if its pretty or ugly as long as they can figure out how to navigate and use it quickly.
In the end, you want to take elements from all these different groups and blend them together to create a winning design that will wow your customers and convince them you are the company that they want to do business with from this day forward.
In the end good design is about solving problems and making these solutions look the best they possibly can in the process. As web designers, you have to be concerned with much more than just pretty layouts.
You must consider how the navigation will function, what typography choices you will make that will make everything clear and easy to read and how to make all the information that needs to be shown appear on the screen ready to be consumed by users.
While there are more problems than the ones above that must be considered, all of the problems can be solved without making something absolutely gorgeous in the process. Solving these problems will often begin to open the door to aesthetically pleasing design even if it isn’t a work of art as of yet. Still, it is an excellent place to start as you transform your website into something that could be considered a work of art.
From these beginnings, you can now take the aesthetic design to an entirely new level bringing something that is largely utilitarian and simply functional into something that is beautiful and gorgeous that could evoke an emotional response from your audience while at the same time keeping much of the functional foundation to also provide an excellent user experience.
But Aesthetics Are Important Too
While some people prefer high usability over looks citing sites such as Craigslist as an example of a site that doesn’t look that great but is wildly successful, you should never dismiss the importance of good aesthetic design.
Studies have shown that emotions can play a key role in a user experience when visiting a website. Websites that feature a pleasant visual design and take advantage of some of the latest advancements in website technology will find that its visitors are often more relaxed and that will then lead them to judge your site more credible and easier to use. Remember, you only have one chance to make a great first impression, and in the case of the web, a first impression could be your only chance to win over a new customer or lose them forever.
Great looking aesthetics can also tell people a lot about your brand and company. If you take the time to make everything look its very best online, it will demonstrate to your visitors that you care about what you are doing and you believe in the company and how you do business.
It is also important in any good aesthetic design to create something that is unique. All too often on the web you will find site after site that looks and feels much like the others. Remember, just because you may sell the same thing as another company, doesn’t mean you are exactly like them. Your business is unique and not like any other business they have seen before, and you need to show them exactly how different you are through the design of your site.
That doesn’t mean that your site can’t share any similarities with other sites. It doesn’t have to be completely unique. There is a reason that most sites have their navigation menus layed out in a horizontal bar near the top of the site with a vertical menu with a list of links in every menu. The reason is they work and provide an efficient yet pleasing way to display all the links users can visit at your site.
Good Design Sells
One thing that the web has given consumers across the world is more choices. Consumers can visit multiple websites and find the same products for sale at very competitive prices. So how do you make your company stand out above the rest?
Sometimes, the difference between a consumer buying from you or another company could all come down to perception. How your company is perceived can play a decisive role in whether or not you make the sale or you don’t.
Good design can make the products you are selling seem more attractive and higher quality and can help users perceive your company as trustworthy, professional and worthy of receiving some of their hard earned money. It is well known that price isn’t the only thing that drives consumers spending habits. In fact, much of this can depend on how reliable and trustworthy they believe you are.
Usability Makes Good Design
It doesn’t matter how good something looks or how effectively it communicates to people what its all about if, in the end, it is difficult for someone to use. With competition so high on the internet, users simply don’t have the patience to try to navigate a difficult to use interface on a website. Instead, they will simply leave that website in search of something is easier and more pleasant to use.
Many companies rely on their web presence in order to achieve their business goals. In these cases, their website is their main avenue of interfacing with their clients and potential customers. A website that is easy to use most often are rated highly in user satisfaction which then can translate into more sales for that company. In contrast, a company site that is difficult or even frustrating to use will see its revenues fall quickly as users seek out a better experience elsewhere.
Now that you understand the three unique perspectives surrounding good design, it is much easier to paint a clearer picture of what you need to actually accomplish with your design goals for your company’s website.
Your site must look great with a significant amount of time and energy devoted to making your products and site look the best they possibly can, it must be effective letting customers know exactly what you are all about while at the same time bringing new customers to your business, and it must feature an easy to use design that is functional, giving your visitors a simple way to navigate your site and choose to be your customer.
While the lines between these three distinct perspectives are not always clear, as marketers, designers and consumers all have different ideas about what each of these mean and how they are implemented, it is still worthwhile to consider all three when redesigning your company’s website.
Great design is that which successfully melds these three unique perspectives on design to create something that looks amazing and attracts a users attention while quickly communicating exactly what it is about to the user and being easy enough to use that a user will then take action simply based on the design that they have seen and experienced.