WEBSITE DESIGN APPROACH
Our Guiding Principles for Site Design
We see an overwhelming diversity of site designs on the web, ranging from the truly spartan to something akin to Times Square at night. We are strong advocates for clean, brain-friendly design, i.e. …
- Clean, viewer-friendly design elements. Work with an array of iconography, images, fonts, and color schemes that are consistent and supportive of brand imagery and brand positioning. Too much bling and clutter can degrade your company’s image for professionalism.
- Passionate adherence to good User Experience Design (UXD) : The site aesthetics are the fun parts, but keep a laser focus on site structure that doesn’t require the viewer to think too hard or stumble around the site to find what they want. Well-structured navigation menus are essential.
- Professionally-crafted narratives for the primary (“scaffolding”) pages, representing your major content sections. We find that a focus on 3 or 4 core product, service, or subject areas to be ideal for most organizations. Think in terms of a pyramidal structure, with the details of each subject in “drill-down” pages.
- Site content structures and menu navigation that adhere to a rational, intuitive mental model for your site visitors. Many sites we see today may have good visual aesthetics, but can lose visitors due to confusing content organization and navigation.
- Always use “mobile responsive designs” that dynamically adjust site layout and fonts to optimize for the device used by the site visitor. This feature is now considered mandatory for websites, as a rapidly growing portion of users use mobile phones and smaller devices for web viewing.
Build the Theme “On The Shoulders of Giants”…
WordPress users are familiar with the huge selection of available “themes” on the market that can personalize site design, look and feel, without changing the underlying site content. That’s one of the inherent strengths of a Content Management System like WordPress. The generally-accepted best practice among professional WordPress designers now is to use one of the major “theme frameworks” as the foundation, and then develop customized content with best-of-breed page builders. With this approach, we get the ability to create client-specific customization on top of great code infrastructure.
- The market leading theme frameworks are continuously supported and updated to ensure site security, code efficiency, and modern feature sets. This enables theme updating without losing your site’s customization.
- These frameworks are supported by substantial, proven companies who are here to stay.
- The market of Wordpress developers is generally familiar with the market-leading frameworks. This facilitates ongoing site maintenance and future redesign within the large WordPress developer ecosystem.
“Mobile-Responsive” Is No Longer Just An Option…
It is rapidly becoming more critical that your company’s website is programmed to be “mobile-responsive”, and virtually all new professionally-developed sites use mobile-responsive interfaces. In a nutshell, this means that your public-facing website layer contains the coded intelligence to query and then recognize the form factor of the device on which it is being viewed. It then optimizes the site layout, fonts, sidebar content, and menu to that specific device’s screen dimensions and resolution. Web traffic is rapidly migrating from just the desktop to the huge variety of mobile devices, including: smart phones, iPads, Android tablets, mini tablets, and the flood of new form factor layouts on the way. So a mobile-responsive design should be a no-brainer requirement on all new website developments. We’ve all experienced older desktop-centric websites on our smartphones, where the text is tiny, and one must use the vertical and horizontal scroll bars and then finger-pinch to expand content to move around the page looking for something. More often than not, visitors just give up on using that site on their mobile device. They may think, “I’ll revisit that on my laptop when I get a chance”. Or worse, they find a competitor with a more user-friendly, mobile-responsive site. Our passionate commitment to good User Experience Design leads us to consider this feature a standard site spec now. Fortunately, the professional theme frameworks that we use for design have this mobile-responsive functionality down to a science.
GOOD USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN (UXD) IS AT THE CORE OF GOOD WEBSITE DESIGN
We find that many website owners and, unfortunately some website developers fail to “see the forest for the trees” . Considerable focus is normally given to the aesthetics of site design and layout (and should be). But often the underlying design and structure of content, and site navigation leave visitors a bit lost and bewildered as they are searching for something in particular. We try to utilize the lessons learned from the available research on site usability and user experience principles. The overarching objective is to structure and design site content so that users don’t have to think too hard. The site flows should be structured to match the visitor’s intuitive thought processes. We pride ourselves on a passionate focus on these principles.