Quality web development and web design can be hard to find if you don’t know what to look for. If you want your organization to grow, business or not, it is imperative in today's world to have a firm and established online presence. Lets face it, look what you are doing RIGHT NOW! Thats right, you are reading an article that you either discovered by searching on your favorite search engine, from a Facebook post, or perhaps just visiting the E-N Computers website.
Let’s not beat a dead horse though, if you are reading this, it is likely you are well aware of these facts. So lets dig into what makes a website, a Quality website. An entire book on quality web design and development could easily be written, so I am going to use a few key categories to "hone in on" for this article. I will call these the five “S’s” of quality web development and web design; they are Search-ability, Speed, Scalability, Sound Content, Social Integration, and Style (in no particular order).
Part I: Website Development and Design Style
What is style when it comes to web development and design? Style, is the overall distinctive appearance and architecture of your website. This includes the aesthetics of course (such as color, pictures, graphics, font, and etc…). However, it also includes certain elements such as layout, navigation, and “genre.” All of these elements, when compiled correctly, provide a powerful style that will create a memorable experience, which is our main goal when it comes to quality style. We will break apart style into three general categories; Branding, Navigation, and Targeted Design.
Quality web development and website design consists of good branding. What is good branding you may ask? Good branding, simply put, is the identifiability of your organization. For example, you may currently be thinking of one of your favorite pairs of shoes right now. Why, the logo I have placed here is a great example of good branding! You know immediately who the organization is, and what they are all about in less than a second of seeing their logo.
Good branding is not only achieved by your website, however, your website should be a foundation for your brand. This means your logo and your design/layout should all be thoughtfully constructed in order to drive your identity into the minds of your visitors. If someone visits your website, and doesn’t remember what you do or who you are the next time they see your logo or hear your name, then your web site has failed in providing good branding.
Branding encompasses all of the different style elements (aesthetics, layout, navigation, and genre). The aesthetics merge with the layout and navigation to portray a specific genre of style to your target audience; this is what makes a lasting impression.
Colors, pictures, layout, forms, EVERYTHING should reflect your brand in some way, shape, or form.
Navigation is not only an element related to style, however, making it easy to navigate the site is largely determined by the style of your site. Have you ever visited a website and seen a sidebar with 20 links, a top navigation bar with 10 links that each have a drop-down with 10 links each within them? Just talking about it is confusing!
Consolidated, simple, and easy navigation is a reflection of a well thought-out design plan for your web site. If visitors get confused and lost just trying to find what they need, they will leave and go to a better website (not necessarily a better organization though!).
Quality style consists of navigation that drives your visitors to your content quickly, without confusion as to where they are on your site. Not losing sight of your branding is important when developing your navigation technique.
Some successful websites utilize no navigation bars at all, they drive content straight down the site all on one page in an effective manner specific to their brand identity.
This is where genre becomes important. If your style does not engage your target audience, your website has failed. Just because you don’t like how it looks or “feels” does not mean it is not a quality and effective design.
I once designed a website for a client who’s organizational goal was to target high-school age boys. He was fifty years old. The design concept was modern, edgy, and highly interactive. He hated it! His idea was to have a clean, monotone website, that was not “distracting.” I replied:
“I will certainly design this site how you want me too, however, if you want it to be successful, this is what you want.”
He went with his own design concept; since then, his website has lost 30% of its traffic it had before the re-design!
The bottom line is know your audience! Design your site for them.. NOT FOR YOU!!!
This is quite simple really; if your web design does not include mobile compatibility, you are losing the majority of your visitors. That's right! More people are accessing the web now on phones and tablets than they are on their home computers. So don't lose out because your website is not easily accessed and navigated on mobile devices.
Quality web development and design style consists of many elements which should all merge together by implementing a careful strategy. If you are considering embarking on developing a website (or re-developing a website) that you wish to be of the highest quality and standards, it is advisable to invest in consulting with a professional web developer and web designer (at a minimum).
Professional consultation can serve to help you identify the best way to implement an effective style for your future website and save you from spending tens of thousands of dollars (or even millions) on ineffective marketing strategies.
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