Where to begin with website design
Your new website
We offer an end-to end responsive website design service, examining your online presence and then looking at your key target customers and how to reach them from a visual and verbal perspective. The site needs to look great, but it also needs to talk the language of your customers so they feel you’re a good fit to do business with.
The problem is – even if you know who your customer is, unless you have an app, you will never know what technology they are using to browse your site. They may even be completely contrary, viewing it on their work laptop to research your business, then checking it again later on their phone as they call to make an appointment or remind themselves where your offices are.
How does a website project work?
We start all our new projects with a grid-like design called a wireframe. Occasionally visually daunting, this is nonetheless a great starting point from a logic and creative perspective as it demonstrates what is going to go where on the page and the sort of journey your customer will take as they progress through the site. This design process means many different layouts can be shown across many different types of device. The key thing is consistency of approach and ease of use.
When we’ve agreed this layout of the site, we create a design which we demonstrate to you in a presentation. This way you can clearly see the overall look and feel of the new design and at that point offer feedback. To get the ball rolling, usually this is shown on a desktop and mobile device as the two most-used options. Our logic is that if the design works on those media, the principles we have established can then work on every screen type.
Why is ‘responsive’ web design important?
It’s tough, but having a website which works on a desktop, but is that same version on a smartphone, no longer cuts it. ‘Pinch and zoom’ works just fine for a photo when you want to see a detail, but becomes an irritation and is one more step on a customer’s journey to use their phone to actually give your business a call.
We love working in both print media as well as the web, but believe each have lessons to learn from each other, particularly as websites scale down and people read newspapers, articles and blog posts on their phones. Our research suggest that people chiefly use their phones to access business websites for a reason, for instance to check your location or phone number, so in every case, that particular request needs to be speedy and very straightforward. The drawing of habitual users is usually a combination of great content (they want to see your new images or quirky, enjoyable blog posts) and logically then the design, so those same high quality posts are beautifully presented and the type is big enough to read on the bus or train.
Of course, responsive website design isn’t just about your site getting smaller. Huge numbers of offices now have huge, sometimes 27-inch flatscreens. In a way, designing for a bigger space such as a huge Dell or Apple screen is a pleasure – photos and video look incredible at that size – but it’s not without pitfalls either. For instance, stretching type all the way across a giant screen means it ends up being unreadable and overwhelming, so finding a balance between large image and neat, readable copy is always a sound approach.
Can e-commerce really work on a smartphone?
(and what can we learn when it does)
We believe so – and so can booking an appointment for a class or picking up a concert ticket.
The trouble is, nobody wants to type in credit card numbers or their address in tiny boxes on a tiny screens. But we’ve known this for a while – and the process of change and making this easier has begun with Android and Apple Pay. It has not come a moment too soon from our perspective.
For us as users of smartphones, employing a payment system that works as well on a phone as a desktop such as Shopify or PayPal can be the real winner here. It’s trusted (no small matter), holds all the data for payment and reduces the hassle of online purchase drastically. They’ve understood that this is the key to people buying things: it has to be simple.
And simplicity, which surely comes from understanding your customer, isn’t a bad credo for any kind of design.