Fundamentals – Website Design

Proficiency at design is often overlooked as a requirement for a development partner. Regardless of the purpose, or the technology that drives it, the way your website makes your users feel will predict your success.

No detail is above scrutiny within the proper scope and budget.

People are pretty immune to a sales pitch these days. Users know cool when they see it. Count on you’re audience being finicky, and discerning. If you’re not in the demographic you’re trying to appeal to, make sure you choose a developer who knows how to get into the hearts of that group.

Think of a website as an atmosphere. How does it make you feel? How does a commercial make you look at a product differently? How does a great movie affect you?

In order to accurately convey the way you want your website to look and feel to your developer, consider finding online references. Try to look for common themes in websites that appeal to you. Identify links both inside and outside of your specific business genre.

Don’t expect your developer to copy, or to emulate. If they do their job well, they will combine your references with their own instincts for how your site should look. The design they will create might remind you of several things, but will be a new creation all its own.

On revisions
Avoid making specific recommendations to your developer for changes. If they’re good, they likely have a reason why things are the way they are. That one thing you want to change will have a drastic effect on all of the rest of the items on the page. You know what you like, and you can determine what you like. If you have selected your developer well, they know what your audience likes, which may be a different thing. If you’re sure that your instincts are right, try communicating with your developer based upon concepts, feelings, and tone. Challenge your developer to meet your criteria of how the website should “feel.”

Avoid over-arcing or specific statements like:

  • what if it was blue?
  • Can we make this font bigger?
  • Can you make the logo stand out more?

Try instead:

  • Why does this color appeal to our demographic?
  • Do you think these fonts are legible for all of our users?
  • I’m concerned our corporate identity is not prominent enough in this design.

You will have a happier, more creative team and a better end product if you allow your developers to problem solve.

Things to say to a developer
* I want my website to feel: (modern, sophisticated, friendly, etc.)
* How would you describe the correct atmosphere for this site?
* Do any other sites or projects come to mind that are similar to the way you imagine this site?


>”Less is more.”
-Mies van der Rohe,

>”Form follows function.”
-Louis Henri Sullivan,


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