As businesses look to build a new website or undergo a redesign, they may not yet be accustomed to the process and everything it entails. VisionFriendly.com has been in the website business since 1998. In that time we’ve learned how to make the website design process as efficient as possible so our clients can more quickly enjoy everything their new website has to offer.
We recently spoke with our front end web developer Dado Karabegovic, and he provided some insight as to what clients can expect as they work with VisionFriendly.com to build their new website, and everything involved.
What does the website design process look like from the client’s perspective?
The process typically starts with an introductory virtual meeting where we inquire about their needs and what a new website should accomplish. The client can expect to talk with the project manager, who will be their main contact through the process. There’s also a front end developer, who will be designing and building the site. Depending on how much functionality is needed (software integrations or custom development for example), a back end developer, or programmer may be on that call.
What kind of things will a client need to think about or provide at the beginning of the website project?
As we build new sites for our clients, it’s extremely helpful for them to have a few things already in place at the beginning of the project. Having these in advance can streamline the website design process and result in lower project costs:
- A Well-established logo
- Domain name
- A solid goal of what they want the site to accomplish
- The content they want on all the pages of their site
- Any professionally taken photos and imagery of their products and/or services if applicable.
(Editor’s Note: VisionFriendly.com can help with any of these services if they are not in place at the time of the build.)
Are there design best practices that customers should be looking for when it comes to their website?
There are a few important design best practices for websites for clients to consider. First, there should be a high level of contrast between the text and the design elements of the site. On a basic level, this means no color combinations like yellow on white or dark blue on black. This is also very important for ADA compliance as all content must be 100% legible.
Less is more when it comes to headings. Headings introduce topics on a website. These are usually fairly large to grab a visitor's attention and work the best if they are as short and concise as possible. If additional context is required then a subheading is ideal to supplement the main one.
The content on the site needs to remain relevant to the topic at all times. Search engine crawlers like Google’s are able to detect the relevancy of webpage content for priority search terms and will rate pages lower that have a lot of text that don’t say as much relevant to potential search terms.
Professional photos go a long way in selling the look and appeal of a website as well as the authenticity. If a website is not visually attractive to visitors then their likelihood of looking for alternative sites increases. No amount of great design will help poorly taken low-quality photos look good.
Each page should have a clear intent as to where a visitor should be looking or where they should be taken. This means limiting the number of calls to action in view at any given point so a visitor has a clear path to reach what they are looking for.
What design trends can help give customers a more modern look in their website design?
A tough question. Design trends change and shift from year to year. In 2020 the trend which was most prominent for websites was the sleek, minimalist, dark-theme look. While it's still a very strong trend, it has already shifted to implement new design elements like incorporating very large text in 2021, along with more vector illustrations, to a shift in the use of 3D graphics/assets in 2022. Lastly now in 2023 there has been a notable growth in the web design industry bringing back the Y2K aesthetics and incorporating more text-based designs, stencil graphics, and hand drawn illustrations.
It is important however to remember that each industry or business demands a certain type of design for their website to be effective. So, while there are a variety of design trends out there and more coming each year, not all design trends should be implemented for all websites.
When you build a site, what sort of steps are taken to keep search in mind?
Content relevancy is king here. With how search crawlers work, having content that is relevant helps the crawlers prioritize pages for potential search queries. This doesn't mean that a website can get away with having a bunch of keywords on it. Crawlers take into consideration the content itself, and the context specific words are used to determine relevance.
For us web developers, it means we have to keep in mind the hierarchy of each of the different headings and their order while producing impactful, short, concise, and relevant text in a manner that makes the page attractive to site visitors as well as crawlers.
You’ve mentioned content a few times now. How should businesses be thinking about the content and the message?
This should all be considered before the site build actually starts. One analogy is that building a website is like building a house. There are a lot of parts that need to be determined and decided on before construction can begin.
Planning the structure of a website without content is like creating a blueprint for a house without knowing how many rooms are needed, their sizes, what will go in them, or what size lot we’re working with. We won't get far with that. Content is king and as such drives all design on a website.
What kind of tasks should clients be prepared for to manage the site after it’s built?
This heavily depends on the nature of their website. If they have an ecommerce site then having an understanding of how to update all aspects related to their products will be vital. This type of website tends to be the most involved for clients, as they have an ever-rotating stock of products.
We also provide training for our clients to help them understand how to make basic edits to their site’s content and imagery after a site is complete.
What else should a business know before going through the website redesign process?
There are some steps that often get overlooked when deciding to go through a new website or redesign process. It’s not wholly uncommon for us to work with clients that don’t have anything in place other than a logo and general idea of what they want. To further help clients understand and streamline the process and the requirements for a website, there are four core items a business should have in place to be able to produce content for an effective website:
- Goals and objectives: Clearly define the goals and objectives for the redesign, such as increasing traffic, improving user experience, or showcasing products and services in a more effective manner.
- Target audience: Identify the target audience and understand their needs and preferences for your business, so that the new website design can cater to their specific requirements.
- Competitor analysis: Study the websites of the competitors to understand what works well for them and what can be improved to work for you.
- Content strategy: Plan for the type of content that will be featured on the website, such as blogs, videos, infographics, or case studies, and determine how it will be organized and presented.
Are You In Need of a New Website?
The website redesign process doesn’t have to be a difficult one. When you go with an experienced agency like VisionFriendly.com for your new website, we’ll be there with you through every step of the way. If you have questions or would like to speak with someone about your next project give us a call at (630) 553-0000 or contact us today!