Web design – some hints and tips for non-designers

The internet has flourished to such an extent in the past 20 years or so that, for many people, it has transformed the ways in which they live and work. Tasks such as booking holidays, applying for jobs, and shopping have been made simpler and more direct through being transferred to the online space. Socially, people have made new friends in different countries, and are able to catch up with old friends through social networking websites. Films, TV and radio have suddenly become more accessible, with relatively recent releases now being streamed direct in to people’s homes.

Non-web professionals can feel excluded

However, the digital revolution has come at something of a price for the dedicated amateurs who were involved in building web pages during the early days of the internet. The internet has now become a fully-fledged industry, meaning that activities such as web design have developed a certain mystique, and sense of exclusivity. It is only too easy for non-web graphic designers to feel a little at sea when the topic is raised.

Some web design tips

If a small business is hoping to have a website created, then it would be at least helpful for the business owners to have a grasp of what makes websites tick: in particular, some key aspects of effective web design. This will help them when discussing the look and feel of the proposed site with any professional website team. Here then are some hints and tips for novices.

It’s always a good start to ensure that a company has a clear idea of what they want from their own business website. At heart, a distinctive vision is required – a brief that will give the designers something to get their teeth in to. The clearer the client can be about the site’s overall purpose, the less room there is for creative misunderstandings later down the line.

Next, whilst the web development professionals will always be able to assist with the fine detail, it does help to have a clear idea of the planned site architecture; the overall navigation, what users might expect to find on each page, and what routes they might take around the site.

In terms of look and feel, there are no hard and fast rules, but it is a good idea to avoid large graphics files, which will make pages slow to load. Indeed, the client should encourage the web design company not to overload pages with obtrusive graphics. In many cases, ‘small is beautiful’, especially where business websites are concerned. The designers should ideally aim for a sleek professional, look whilst not veering towards dullness.

Marketing should be integrated

Finally, the web design should make every effort to incorporate standard on-site search engine optimisation techniques. These include user-friendly URLs, and incorporation of priority search engine keywords in page titles and other meta-tags (such as the keywords, and description, and body tags).

Indeed, it is well worth stressing to the web development company that the web design should be marketing-friendly from the outset.