Thirty years ago, a business website was a novelty, even many multinationals had no web presence, but today, it is as essential as a name for the majority of businesses. Even those that do not need ecommerce facilities now need a website, indeed a lack of one is often taken as a company that is not professional or worse.
With that in mind, website design for business has become increasingly important, a website is now, for many customers and clients, the face of the organization they are dealing with and their only point of contact, but what is web design today and how does a business get it right?
There are two distinct components of web design, the functionality and the aesthetic appeal. Functionality has become more complicated as mobile devices have grown in popularity, today a website could see well over half its visitors viewing a site on mobile devices, and the different screen size and resolutions involved with mobile devices opposed to laptops and desktop computers mean that providing a functional experience across platforms is a significant challenge.
The ability for a web design to change its look to suit the device and screen size it is being viewed upon is known as adaptive design, and while this was a novelty five years ago, having an adaptive design is essential for a new site today. This ensures that visitors to the site see it the way the designer intends them to at all times, which gives continuity of functionality across platforms.
This is not the only challenge for functionality, it is important that a website can be used easily and intuitively, for instance, anyone accessing a website using a desktop or laptop is used to a menu system being at the top of a page. Placing it elsewhere may seem a good idea to make a visual statement, but can be counterproductive when people simply cannot find it. This is especially important when discussing the internet as a medium, visitors tend to leave very quickly if what they need is not obvious to them, with some research showing just 10 seconds searching is enough for a visitor to leave a site. Ecommerce sites especially need to be intuitive for the purchasing process, there should be no obstacles to a sale introduced into the sales channel at all.
The fundamental design aspects of functionality are vital for any web design, and no website will ever be successful without this being done correctly, it is the visual aesthetics than are the aspect that most people think of when referring to design.
As in other areas of design, various ideas go in and out of fashion, however chasing the latest trend may not always be productive for a business website design. Not only does a design need to appeal to visitors, it also needs to compliment the business’ brand. Indeed for a new business, the website design can be used to establish brand identity, and can be incredibly effective at achieving this.
The aesthetic design then, needs to reflect branding, and remain visually memorable to enable the website to stand out amongst its competitors.
Function and a visually appealing design is the core of the process of web design, but a decision that needs to be made early in the website design is the media content. Will videos be included? How many images will the site use? With many markets still relying on restricted data plans for internet access, depending on the target market the media content and bandwidth requirements can be a significant choice, and is worth considering very early in the design.
The level of media content, images in particular, can be used to solidify the branding of the site and business itself, a minimal look can be part of the corporate image of the organization or conversely, a design focused around heavy image use can use those to project a particular lifestyle, appearance or feeling. In this way, the level of media found on the site is an integral aspect of the brand and the visual impact of the site itself for visitors. Here, the kind of brand that is desired to be portrayed has a direct effect on both the kind of media as well as the quantity found in the final design.
Few organizations have the skillset internally to accomplish a high quality web design that meets both the fundamental and visual aesthetics we have discussed here, and rely on web design companies to produce this for them. This itself is not as straightforward as some may think, a search for web designers will yield seemingly endless results, but how should we pick the right one?
Quantility Group has a team of trusted web developers and designers who can build the perfect business website for your company. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the expectations of the modern day user, we can ensure that your website maintains a high rate of return visitors and conversions from visitor to customer.