What Makes a Great Website Design

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  • 9/11/2017

    A great website is an effective website. The only measure of a website that really matters to your organization is its performance.

    Contrary to popular belief, your website's design is not the way it looks. A design is a plan, and a great design is a plan which makes the website as effective as possible. There are many aspects of design, each of which contribute to the website's effectiveness in different ways.

    A great design starts with a comprehensive understanding of the goals and requirements. These goals are ultimately about the organization, but they must be translated into the perspective of the website's audience. Websites are for users. If you sell refrigerators, it is likely that part of your audience wants to efficiently learn about and buy refrigerators. Your design should actively support that behavior.

    Beauty isn't necessarily an end in itself, but most audiences respond positively to it. Professional presentation and a strong brand identity also influences users. These are aspects of visual design. Other aspects of visual design include readability, clarity and some aspects of accessibility.

    At thunder::tech, several aspects of design are handled by our User Experience Design team. Site maps determine the hierarchy of relationships and importance for the website's content. User flows are diagrams that communicate the interactive processes that users are guided through when trying to accomplish a task. Interface design determines the positions and behaviors of elements. Interaction design provides additional clarity for users as to the intentions behind those elements.

    The primary purpose of most websites is to convey content provided by the organization. In order to be effective, a website's content should also be intentionally designed. The discipline of designing content for an optimal user experience is called content strategy. In this phase, everything from the tone of words to the structure of text blocks gets considered.

    Complex websites also require system design, a plan for the technical development. System design is critical to the long-term maintenance of the website because the implementation determines how flexible the website is when adding and changing features. A poorly structured database or haphazardly written code can severely limit the stable lifetime of the website.

    Each of these disciplines is supported by a set of principles from which solid design decisions can be deduced. When they're put together, a great design emerges. While there are too many strategies to explain all of them here, we've written about many. Below is a compiled list of articles that cover some of these topics:

    While having a beautiful website is important, other major players that require loads of attention are site maps, user flows, interface design and interaction design. Think of these items as more of the skeleton and the visual aspects as the skin that covers the bones. When there’s a comprehensive plan in place to build out both aspects, the end results is both visually appealing and functional.

    In other words, a great design is nothing more than a plan for an effective website. The road to getting to that end result though is paved with a lot of choices and decisions. Don’t walk the path alone. If you're looking for great designers to build an effective website, contact thunder::tech.
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