How should companies formalise a strategy for web design? Your thoughts?
When going through the business strategy, and developing the Web strategy off the back of this.
What are the main criteria areas companies routinely stick to when designing their website?
There are two elements - one is trends and the other is understanding who you are trying to communicate with. You should develop, even if it is minimal, a communication plan for the company. From this plan, you need to create a timeline for growing the audience, and the content you will need to generate, including social media if you plan to go that route. Also, who will edit and publish the content and on what schedule.
Today, most websites have gone minimalist and tablet friendly which is highly vertical and using responsive designs, meaning the screen can shrink and the elements figure out where to go. Most new designs are using parallax animation approaches, and this is easily done in Word Press, .Net or other themes. You should go to ThemeForest and find a theme (Search for parallax themes) that comes close to your brand and communication plan. Then you can hire a UI/UX person to design it, or if you have the talent, sketch it yourself. You can hire a myriad of local talents and offshore (ODESK and Elance). You should only do a fix price contract with these sources, but you must have a design to implement or first you need to hire a designer to mock it up in photoshop, etc... The only way to tell if the designer is good is to check references, and other work. If you hire an agency through ODESK/Elance they have a money back guarantee.
I loved that your question was how, not why? The answers will be determined by a number of variables including: size, type, product, budget and strategic plan to name a few.
Howdy Andrew. Rather than developing a Web Design strategy, you may want to consider developing a Digital (mobile & internet) Marketing Strategy (DMS) of which the web design is a part of.
In my opinion, your DMS includes (image) branding development which is not just a logo as well as branding consistency including social media. This will also include the website goal. Is the goal to make the phone ring? possibly, Get visitors to click to purchase a product of offer? Is it for lead generation? Is it all of the above?
When I take on a new client and ask: "what is the goal of the website" a large majority of them say to "provide information." If you're a government agency that may be true, but in most cases, you want to attract visitors and convert them to clients of your product or service. Most businesses are not purveyors of information as that model does not provide enough new clients, revenue or ROI to support the activity.
The website is only "one of the moving parts" of a company's internet visibility and digital marketing strategy.
Here are a few design basics, assuming the branding is completed:
Visitors should be able to find whatever they're looking for with 2 clicks or a site search.
A complementary, separate mobile site should be developed with a m.yourdomain.com or yourdomain.mobi extension which are recognized by search engines, by default as mobile sites, ranking above mobile optimized sites.
If no mobile site is included, site design should be responsive to automatically provide excellent rendering on mobile devices even though search engine ranking will suffer.
An integrated blog is preferred so all social media forwarding engagements will link back to the website, where you control the message and presentation.
Hope this helps Andrew. Have a fun and profitable day!
The first question we would ask our clients is that, who are your target audience and what is their personality type? Are they businessmen, youth, teachers, etc. Each target audience looks for information in a different way. This would help us to decide how the designs should be placed on the website to make it more user-friendly.
Secondly, we would like to know the specialty of their website, product or service. What are the elements they want to highlight the most? Simple and minimal designs are the key to success these days. So, we frame some inviting headlines which can catch users’ attention in microseconds.
Thirdly, we would include action buttons at the right place for getting more conversions in a less time from the users. These three things we concentrate the most. We also follow all the other mechanism suggested by other users in this page.
Website is your an online shop. Contents, Look n feel & your work samples speak about you to your visited customer. Keep those things simple and descent. It should not be overselling and confusing.
(For an ex. -- Just think how you behave and talk to your customer when they visit to your physically presented shop. You give answers for their queries & share views to fulfill their purpose to visit your shop. That makes them feel good & Satisfied. Website is your digital shop. Your purpose to give feel good factor to your visitors and make them satisfied without your continuous presence.)
So, your website should be in descent look, Easy to render, Easy to use, simple & required contents, Present your service in proper manner.
Also, make sure -- Not your all customer are technical. So, design it in that way. The navigation should be easier.
Once, you are ready with your site. You need to promote it. There are many ways like SEO, Social Networking, Email etc. You need to use interactive sources as many as you can.
It's good to include a website in your marketing strategy. The website is the center of your online presence. All other forms of digital marketing build around it.
1. The purpose?
This can be one of more of the following: lead generation, online sales, branding or customer relationship/support.
2. The above will determine the content to put on the website, the budget and technologies to be used.
3. I would like to point out that it's only after knowing your market and assessing the above that it becomes necessary to decide whether you need the following or not
- Responsive Design (mobile)
- Social Media Marketing
- User Experience centered design
- Landing Pages and Call to Actions
- Content Marketing
Of course many of the answers given are correct already, so I am not going to repeat them, but there is something that I did not see anyone mention yet. They focused on the "what" but you can not really completely separate it from the "how". Hence my recommendation to add to the answers below:
Believe it or not, the stock standard SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) is a good guide in how to actually manage the process of designing/developing the site.
Good evenininc, ya'lls.
Interesting topic, not having a formal training in web design, But still have used several different company templates for basic structure.
I would seriously suggest, sitting down with your design team, giving each member a assignment to start off. 1st and of course foremost, is choosing your relative niche, your main reason for building your site. Then let each member bring into your next meeting there suggested website templates, surprisingly I have always found two or three suggestions, using a common basic design. There are variations of course, but where each member shows the main content area, will drive your design to specific parameters.
Whether you use a right, centered or left configuration or a basic two column design. Then there are single page designs, in which each page is a specific idea only. But remember the more pages you install the more liked a customer will leave and not come back.
Keep things simple and uncluttered. Always leave one side for your internal widgets, and navigation commands. As to your content this is your sales strategy area, your sales copy will indicate how you wish to engage your audience/ clientele. Basically, your input to your design team, will drive your teams efforts, and main thrust. Content can be tricky, so don't feel you will get exactly what you are looking for the first few drafts. I even
suggest after your drafts appeal to you and your team, find a sales copywriter to punch up your page (s) content.. Easy enough to find, by going to ffiver.com, inexpensive results. then your final choices will most likely come down to a stagnant or active site. That is just text, or actual moving material. You should definitely allow your design team to cast off their inhibitions, go for the classy but informative. The LAST items I found are actually the easiest, decisions on colors, Type styles, Backgrounds and graphics. You must set goals, and ensure they are easily reached. Your timing can be critical, to keep you team focused.
When talking strategy one should usually speak to SMART or DUMB objectives, goals, with check-in milestones.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely or Time. DUMB is Doable, Understandable, Measurable, and Beneficial.
When starting a website strategy ask yourself what is the purpose of the website? Which business objective is it tied to?
We recently talked to a client who listed a goal of 140 million visitors in 4 months. While this is certainly a goal it isn't attainable or realistic.
Strategy is matching the objectives of a project to the tasks that will enable those objectives to be reached.
This is just high level overview, not an encompassing description of how companies should strategize their website design.
There are lots of great suggestions here. As others have commented, understand what information and functionality will best serve your customer. Before you get to the platform, SEO, performance, prototypes (any serious technical work) it's always best to do some low tech sketches or wireframe mockups of each page before every writing a single line of code. These are easy and cheap to change and gather a lot of useful feedback. It will save a lot of time and money in the long run and you will end up with a better product. And remember, a good website is a living solution that should evolve.