What Is Web Design About?
There are loads of places that you can get an ‘off the shelf’ website. Simply change a few images, add your own text, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a website. So, if it’s that simple, what is web design about?
Turns out, in reality, it’s not that easy.
If you want a website that helps to build your business then you need to think about web design.
What Is Web Design?
Put simply, web design is the process of designing the pages and overall structure of a website in order to achieve specific business goals.
It involves a whole host of skills:
- Graphic design to ensure the site is attractive and fits in with your overall brand
- Interface design which makes the website easy for visitors to navigate and use, and leads them to take the actions you want them to take
- A knowledge of search engine optimisation to ensure the website adheres to the factors that Google and other search engines view as important
- A good grasp of website technology to make sure that the website is technically sound, e.g. it loads quickly and looks good when viewed on different devices
What Is the Purpose of Web Design?
The purpose of web design is to ensure that your website appeals to the people you want to attract. A good website should give them a great experience when they visit. It should also encourage them to take the actions you need them to take in order to meet your business goals.
According to this article about the importance of good homepage web design, “A single second of added page load speed can cause sales to drop by 27%.” And it’s not just about usability. Looks count too:
“38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content doesn’t look pretty on the page.”
So you can see that web design can have a very real impact on your bottom line.
As well as meeting these audience needs, your website should also be optimised to appear as high as possible in Google’s search results.
Good web design involves a lot of different factors and is a worthwhile investment for any business. In fact, cheap website design can cost you more in the long run.
The Difference Between a WordPress Theme and Web Design
If you are using WordPress for your website then you will have come across themes. Themes are the software you add to WordPress to create the basic look and feel of your site. There are thousands of themes out there (some free and some paid for), and it’s good to browse through them to get a feel for what you like (and what you don’t like).
But choosing a theme is only part of the job. As we explained above, web design is about more than just the look and feel of a site. Web design also covers elements such as structure and content. And these still need doing even if you find a theme you like.
A theme is also unlikely to include any additional functionality you need such as e-commerce, booking facilities, and so on.
What Makes a Website Good or Bad?
Fundamentally, a website is good if it helps you to achieve your business objectives. This may involve some quite specific design decisions. But there are also a lot of more general things that apply to all websites.
For example, bad websites:
- Only work well on a single screen size, for instance, on a wide desktop screen
- Are difficult for certain people to use, e.g. people who are colour blind
- Lead to a slow-loading website
- Make it hard for users to take the actions you want them to take, e.g. an e-commerce website that requires the user to jump through hoops in order to purchase a product
Conversely, good websites:
- Are responsive – websites look good and work well on all devices
- Follow accessibility principles, making websites accessible to the widest possible audience
- Load quickly and give users a great experience
- Make purchasing products quick and easy (read more about What a Good WordPress E-commerce Website Needs)
Key Points to Remember
Now we can answer our original question: Web design is about achieving your business goals and having a website built to help with that.
Good web design starts with the end in the mind. If you are talking to a web design agency and they don’t ask you what you want to achieve, treat that as a red flag.
If you’d like some help, book a free consultation and we can have a chat to see how social media and a website can work together to build your business.