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Website Design and Development Guidelines
Most companies’ world over are using the Internet to expand their services to a larger audience.
To use the Internet platform companies, need to have their own websites so that they cannot only display their goods but also sell it to their clients.
However, when we talk about creating a website, then we hear two terminologies – website design and website development.
For any layman, these two words look synonymous and are often usedinterchangeably.
However, this is far from true as both are markedly different from one another and require different domain skills to execute them properly.
In this article, we will like to tell you the difference between Website Design and Website Development and their unique characteristics that distinguish one from the other.
While both are different and are mostly done by different experts in a large organisation, they complement each other.
It is important to have some knowledge about both of themso that the expert can do his job in either design or development aspect of the websitemore efficiently.
Website design can be best described as the process through which information is placed in the website in such a way that not only begins visually appealing but also easy to access.
The main guidelines a web designer must follow while designing a website are as follows.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
While designing a website make it a rule to keep the design simple. The reason being, the more complicated you choose your web designing, it became harder for the website work smoothly.
You need to understand that a person visiting your website is looking for some information, service, or to buy a product. He is not there to admire the sleek design of your website.
Therefore, do not use too many colours, hard to read fonts, and numerous graphics to confuse them.
You should focus your attention in helping your viewer to easily find what they are looking for and not get distracted by the overall design of the website.
USE VISUAL HIERARCHY
Visualsare used by website designers to focus the attention of the viewer on different elements in the web page as per the importance.
When you are using visual hierarchy your aim should be to lead the visitor to a particular section of the page where some action is done (like buying a product).
However, when you make use of visual hierarchy ensure that the entire experience is smooth and enjoyable.
When you optimist visual hierarchy to not only improve the user’s experience but also the conversion rate significantly.
Navigation is one of the most important elements of website designing.
If you have a very good looking website, but with the complex navigational process, then it will not attract viewers to stay there for a long period of time.
This will, in turn, will affect your conversion ratio as well as the ranking of the website.
To improve navigation, you can follow some of the points below.
- Ensure that navigation to the primary objective of your website is simple.
- You can add the navigation button in the footer of your website.
- Build a navigational Trail that will help your clients to a particular place or section which you desire.
- Integrating search box in your website will help your viewer to find directly to that section which is relevant to them.
- Provide links to other pages of your website so that the viewer can directly go to that page which he likes
To create a positive impact in the mind of the viewers, you should try to maintain consistency across the webpages.
To maintain consistency, you should use the same kind of background colour, logo, fonts, and so on.
However, this rule is not sacrosanct, and you can break it. You can use different and unique design if you think that it will help you to attract the attention of your viewer to a particular page or section.
IT SHOULD BE EASILY ACCESSIBLE
Accessibility is one of the key components to improve the user experience of your website.
While designing websites, you should ensure that all the pages are easily accessible and all the links work perfectly.
Additionally, make sure that your website is accessible to multiple devices like smartphones or tablets so that you can target all sections of the population.
If you have different websites for desktop and mobile phones make sure that they have a similar kind of design to improve the brand recognition of your company.
TRY TO FOLLOW THE CONVENTION
When you take designing a website is important that you follow some conventions that are widely used in most of the websites.
This will give your viewer a kind of familiarity which will not only improve their user experience but also help them navigate the website easily.
Some of these conventions include:
- Keep the main search engine tap at the top of the page.
- Put the logo either at the top centre or top left of the page.
- Ensure that the logo is clickable to bring the viewer back to the homepage.
- Make sure that the links change color when you hover the cursor above them.
USER ECCENTRIC WEB DESIGN
Make sure that whatever your design concept is,your main focus should be the user of your website.
Ensure that each and every feature that you put in your website helps your viewer to easily access any information that is available in your website.
All the major features of your website should be highlighted so that the user can easily follow the webpages and focus on those things which you think is important for your company.
These are some of the points that the web designer or web developer should follow when they are trying to build a website.
In addition to these, there can also make use of certain other elements to make their website more attractive as well as effective in drawing more traffic and improving the conversion rate.
Some of these elements are:
- Make the website faster to load.
- Make it mobile ready.
- Use web analytics to target the audience more effectively.
- Ensure that you use effective SEO strategies to improve traffic.
- Make use of email marketing and social media reach to improve brand recognition.
- Make your website secure.
- Build progressive apps for your website to give enhanced experience to the users.
- Make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the conversion rate, arguing of the audience and giving the viewer a better experience.
Website development involves multiple stages, wherein the different aspects of the website are planned and developed.
If we look at the planning cycle of a website, then we see there are seven steps in all.
Here we will like to explain the steps in more detail so that you get an idea of the job profile of a web developer.
Every web development process starts with planning. In this process all the stages of development are visualised and how to go forward is formalised.
Here theweb developers look for different objectives of the website which they want to develop such as:
- What is the main purpose for the development of the website? Is it for retail purpose, to share information, to act as a social site, to inform clients, and so on so forth.
- What kind of objectives do you want to achieve through the website? Do you want to use it as a compliment to your off-line business or use it as a start-up and access those markets, which you find hard to access through the traditional means?
- Who is your target audience? It is important to identify your target audience, as it will help you to not only designed the website in a more effective way but also assist you in marketing it.
After you have planned for what is the purpose of your website, it’s goal and the audience it wishes to target, the next part will be to build a sitemap the website.
A sitemap is the first step in applying your concept of developing a new website into practice through a rough sketch.
In this stage, the website developer gives a basic sketch to the client of how the final product may look when that development process is completed.
The sitemap shows how different pages of the websites connect with each other seamlessly so that the viewer can go from one page to another without facing any problem.
In this stage, the client is able to understand how the inner structure of the website will look like and how different elements of the website will interact with each other.
This in no way will show how the actual interface will look when the final product is launched. It will give you the skeletal structure of the website with the core functions defined.
This step is very important as it allows the website developer to get a feedback from the client of whether he/she is satisfied with the overall architecture.
If the client is satisfied, then the web developer has to move to the next step of a wireframe or mock-up of the website.
The wireframe loosely defined is the visual form of what you wish to develop without the design, logo, colours and others.
In short, wireframe gives you an idea of what elements will be added to the website and in which pages they will be placed.
DESIGN PAGE LAYOUT
This is the stage where the website designers come in. Designerhas to collate articles, graphics, multimedia content, animations and others and integrate them into a visually appealing layout format.
This page layout design is to be approved by the client before starting website development process.
If the customer is not satisfied with the page layout, then you can get his feedback and change the features and send the page layout back for approval.
This process is continued until you receive the final go-ahead from the client to develop the website based on the approved page layout.
WRITING THE CONTENT
This is another important aspect of the web development process wherein experts write articles, text, headlines and others to describe various points.
This is an important part of the web development process as it helps the web developer to connect more effectively with the targeted audience.
While writing content, help is taken from the SEO experts in matters of search queries and where to place them so that it helps the website giving its ranking when it is finally launched.
In this process, the website is actually built based on the sitemap and page layout that was earlier approved by the client.
In the first phase, the static webpages are created and tested for seamless connection with other parts of the website.
In most cases, the homepage is developed first and subsequently, other pages are created and connected with the on page through internal links.
You can use CMS in the coding phase so that you will be able to optimist the elements of the website.
There are a number of languages through which you can use for coding purposes. Each of these languages have their own strong points and you need to identify the one that will give you the greatest flexibility in developing a website.
In this step, the website you have developed is tested rigorously for any bugs.
Look for any broken links, error in the articles or other elements and see whether all the features of the website are working optimally or not.
Repeated testing of the website both in-house as well as using third party software to look at any security issues is important.
Only after you have solved all the bug issues, you should launch it on the Internet.
The job of the web developer has not ended with launching the website.
The web developer also has to maintain the website (if it is in the contract) to ensure that the website functions seamlessly.
In case there are any security loopholes, then the web developer has to fix it quickly through updates.
Every day new information is generated all over the world. Some of which may be of importance for the website that you have developed.
In such a case, you need to update your website so that it remains trendy and people love to come and view it.
These are some of the steps which, if you follow in totality, then you will be able to make a website that will help you to fulfill your business goals.