Re-designing, or starting a new website design project can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully it’s not a new problem and your agency (hopefully us, we’ve made a bunch) can guide you through the process. With the right guidance you’ll make it out the other side with an amazing online presence and as few scrapes and bruises as possible.
Getting started on your new website design project
Before getting stuck into all the sexy stuff like colour palettes, fonts, and Interface design it’s important to make sure you have a strong idea of what you want to achieve. For example: What is the purpose of the website? What are your business goals surrounding the project? Who is your audience? And, what are some measures for success? Let’s dive in.
1. Defining the purpose of your new website design
Before starting the design process, it’s important to clarify the purpose of the website and the goals it should achieve. This will help guide the design and ensure that it aligns with the needs of your business but more importantly with the target audience. Some questions to consider when starting out might be: What is the website for? Who is the target audience? What do you want the website to accomplish?
Answers to these questions might look like this.
What is the website for?
- I want to promote my range of eco-friendly homewares.
- Open an e-commerce store to complement my existing sales
Who is the target audience?
- My current database of customers who are approximately 25 – 50-year-old women, environmentally conscious shoppers, and mums.
- New customers in the same demographic who haven’t already heard about us
What do I want the website design to accomplish?
- Move some of my current sales online
- Add additional online sales into the mix to increase my bottom line
- Develop a subscription model for some of my consumable products
Now that you have formalised your ideas about what you want to achieve, you have a yardstick to measure against when actually designing your website. So what’s next?
2. Do your research!
But not in a keyboard warrior, conspiracy theorist kinda way. In the real sense. Conduct some market research. At its simplest, this would be looking at what your competitors are doing on their websites to gather some insights on what you could do with yours. We recommend capturing your website design inspiration on a Pinterest board so that you can share them with your designer (Again, hopefully, us).
For some more in-depth research, you could survey your existing customers about their wants, needs and pain points to gather some insights on how you could help them. You and then develop this further by creating user or customer personas that you can refer to when making decisions about your design, content or tone of voice. OK. Now what?
3. Get your content sorted!
Start with your information architecture. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown site map. A simple bulleted list is going to help you order your content and work out where everything belongs. It will also help you work out if you’re missing anything.
If still required, you can then look at drawing up a visual sitemap but in most cases, this may be unnecessary. The time may be better used for drawing up process flows or customer journeys if your website has more complex functionality.
4. Design your wireframes.
Wireframes are simple, low-fi prototypes that outline the layout and functionality of a website or app. They do not include design elements such as colours and fonts, but rather focus on content hierarchy, the placement of elements, and the functionality of the website without getting caught up in the details of the design.
They can be quick and dirty pen sketches, they just need to make sense and should take into account various screen sizes. Mobile and desktop at a minimum.
6. Clicky Clicky
At Yes! we don’t often design a full UI (User interface). We take our sketched wireframes and build them into a clickable prototype rather than an actual website design. Wait! What? That’s right, This allows us to refine the layout of the content whilst still working at low fidelity. We set up our interface elements, cards, buttons, forms etc. and can make sure everything is working effectively on mobile and various desktop sizes. Then we can get out the crayons.
5. Develop your brand palette.
So… A little more on that whole we don’t create a website design thing. We create a brand palette and a series of mood boards that express visually how the website design might look and feel from page to page. The mood boards will include, Your logo and brand guidelines, colour palette, typography, photographic styles, icons, illustrations and website elements. When you look at the mood board you will get an idea of what the website design will look like. We then take this agreed visual language from the mood board and apply it to the clickable prototype to create a cohesive and visually appealing experience for the user.
Website design is fun. We love it! Moreover, we love using the process above. It allows us to help our clients realise opportunities and solve real problems so that at the end of the project they have an effective, functional tool that will help their business. Not just a pretty website design.
It WILL look totally amazing though. 🙂