Designing Simple Websites
First things first. There’s the front end of a website (what you see), and a backend (what we code). Somewhere in between, these two coexist together in what we term the “firmament.” Yeah, its biblical in origin but bear with us. The firmament is the area that bonds the front end and backends. It also separates the two. Its a constantly flowing and evolving yin and yang of design & development. It can also be called user experience. But we hate that word. Its too…market research-y.
It is a challenge to design simple websites.
Business (corporation, ecommerce, etc) web design is largely driven by people that don’t understand web design. Many of these people still think “above the fold.” They want carousels, images, banners, ads, all above 600px in height. They detest scrolling. With the rise of mobile use, scrolling is a necessity.
To design a simple website, we have to reduce the content down to its essence. To do this, we need to ask a few questions from the perspective of the client and the user. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What is it that a user is looking for?
- What do they expect to find?
- How do we deliver it quickly?
- Can we find ways to deliver more?
- What is the maximum amount of information required?
- What is the minimum amount of information required?
- How valuable is this information to its space?
Design Mobile & Content First
No matter who the client, you’ll be sending design mockups to somebody. Could be a board, marketing team, could be a sole proprietor. Either way, it is best to send mobile first. This will provide them with a framework to view their information in the simplest form available. Build small, scale up. The diversity of platforms, browsers, and web systems continue to grow and get more complicated. We believe minimal is best. It speeds up load times, delivers the content first.
Design is Structuring Information
Most people define design as “making things pretty.” Pretty is subjective. People want to design things first then plug in content. This is disastrous from design and development perspectives.