Web Design: Practices & its Value for Your Business.
By: Dushyant Kanungo
More often than not, when it comes to website development and design, business owners or people responsible who decide to use the medium to build upon their business, ignore the fact that the website they are planning to set up is actually one of the most prominent properties of their business and it is being built for the visitors, not the managers of the company.
Having stated that, imagining raised eyebrows from everyone reading it, which includes you, I suggest detaching from the current role you might be playing at your office and reading the statement above one more time.
For every website, the visitor is the first and last factor to be considered. Everything comes secondary.
As the old saying goes, Wise people say when they have something to say, foolish people say because they have to say something.
Problem One: When the decision to build a website is taken, the first thing comes to mind is how it will look like and content comes secondary.
Problem Two: The decision comes at a time where it is just a matter of days when a certain deadline for an event or a conference or a product launch is on cards, which leaves the content and quality on back seat. ‘The site must go live tomorrow, no matter if the team works till midnight’, they say.
The importance of a website is more than the wrong reasons like just because we have printed a URL on the print or it is cool to have a website for even a small business or everyone has got one, why not us. This is what makes the internet full of waste data and websites, which practically provide no inputs to an intellectual human being online trying to gain the information or knowledge he/she may be looking for.
So the first thing, have a website, when you actually have something to say. Prepare the content inventory for all the things about your business. Make sure you cover all the factors of business as much as you can think of. Understand that the content inventory you have prepared is the first draft of what will expend many folds over the time and by the hands of professional writer when involved and go live.
Secondly, decide the kind of branding and segment you wish to target, in writing. The objectives of any business are always stays with the business team. The third party you are going to hire for a month may not understand the objectivities of the exercise as you. For them it may be just another client willing to own a website for a business, which is none of their business.
Now, this is the time when you will be moving with the Design agency or the team. Answer all the questions they come up with. It may be time consuming, repetitive, often off the mark and may seem alien but try and answer. If you feel it’s too-tech-for-me ask them to simplify what is that they are asking for.
It is now the time when you will get your first site map and wireframe diagram of the site, designed by their Usability Analyst based on the requirements and information provided by you. This is where the whole scope, target, brand value and future of the investment done by you depend. A close study of matters here will guide the entire project in the right direction. Ask for detailed report and points considered before the designs structure. If it makes sense – fine, if not then move with the inputs which you feel are required. If all reasoned well, we are up for a graphic design.
Meanwhile, based on the site map, tie the loose ends left in the content side. SEO team can now move to create the structure of the project.
To point it in the direction of process, we are 50 percent done here as the scope, design, structure and content are fixed.
This way, not just the creators but the business also gets a better understanding of the website and vice versa. The site learns to speak the language of the business it is designed for. The process which moves from this point onwards is what everyone is aware of. Get the graphic, do the coding, add the functionalities of Web 2.0, add CMS and do the SEO.
A website, with roots deeper into the planning and conceptualization phase, has more meat and stamina to business success than one can imagine. It lasts longer, critical updates come less frequently, features to be developed are pre decided, making it easier to estimate and proves to be cost effective.
FINALLY, a word of caution, many of us just want the site to go live on a given date with whatever is ready. Try to avoid this idea, as it is evident that when the first phase is over and site is live, the interest of everyone backing the project is lost. Well, almost.
Plan the website the way you plan your business. It is not just an add-on to your business, but another business you own.
The author of this article has 8 years of experience in Web Design and activities in the domain and presently works as a Sr. Web Designer at Rishabh Software Pvt. Ltd., Vadodara. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . All views expressed in this article are of the author and may not represent the views of the organization he represents.