Design: Emotion or Science?
In a world where content is king, and small business owners have filled the internet with sites designed by their 12 year-old nephews, website design has suffered. So to uphold the virtues of good design, I’ve come up with a few thoughts to help you navigate through it.
The first thing to consider when designing a website is space. Yes, that’s right, empty space. But empty space doesn’t mean just nothing. Empty space in its right place (small rhyme there), can visually strengthen the content you do have. Using space in design is important to bring focus to the right areas of your site. Don’t be afraid of space, it is a faithful, albeit neglected friend of good web design.
With any business site, it’s also important to honestly reflect your company and what you can actually deliver right now. If your site gives the impression that you are ten times bigger and better than what you actually can deliver, you will set yourself up for longer-term failure. The online consumer is becoming more and more intelligent, and they have immeasurable power to affect the opinions of others.
A good rule of thumb is not to jump too far ahead of yourself. Make your website design reflect where you want to be in two years time. Styles change over time, often having a shelf life of no more than two years. Make sure your site design changes with the times, keep it looking current.
One of the common mistakes made by people redesigning a business website is to get feedback on the design from all the wrong people. Friends, relatives and pets make good companions, but often the wrong choices regarding what is and isn’t appropriate for your business website. Make an effort to get feedback from people relevant to the business.
Ask yourself questions like: Who is my target market? Will this design appeal to them? Good brand recognition and marketing opportunities can come from getting some of your good clients together for their feedback in some kind of fun focus group forum.
Design is often touted as a subjective thing. Remember though, that design is not necessarily art. It has a mission to accomplish and it is a whole lot more technical than often perceived.
Good design will elicit an emotional response, but the process of good design is enhanced when business owners are willing to sacrifice certain emotional attachments.