Being a Designer
How can one create beautiful websites, satisfying users in the process? By PLANNING!! It is important to design keeping the users in mind and not just with an engineers’ instinct.
Information Architecture (IA) is used as a base to build any website. It is the process where one can break down the content of a site and organize it with a logical relation in mind. The logical diagram is usually created in the form of a flowchart diagram which can reflect all the connections between the content. IA also helps in deciding the navigation of the site in the most efficient way. So it is highly important to chalk out an ideal IA for the site.
The first step is to gather all the possible content that must be there on the site and try to categorize it into chunks such that all relevant data ends up in the same bucket. Next step is to chalk out the IA diagram. When working on the overall navigation of the site, one needs to think carefully about the elements involved like the buttons and nav bars and how effectively can they adhere to the IA flowchart. Hence it is important to have the top-level navigation sorted before we enter the coding stage.
There are a multitude of menu types and we need to decide which one to use keeping in mind the usage of space, language options, animation effects and so on. The main component being sorted, we can now create some basic sketches depicting this. This saves time as we start with a foundation of how the website would look and later iterate on it.
Sketches == Functionality
Design gurus often recommend making the first round of sketches on paper with no fancy colors. This way the stakeholders will be focused on the layout rather than the fancy styling which can take away the main idea from the website — the content. Once the basic layout for the site is decided upon, the next step is to work on making a storyboard. Storyboards are a quick and flexible way to brainstorm ideas and get rid of the ideas in case they don’t turn out to be the way the users want to go. No time wasted behind code hence more time and energy for the later stages. Storyboards add all the necessary components of a website like color, the interaction dynamics, navigation keys. It is basically the entire website on paper 😀
Good Design, Bad Content
The customer just dumped a 500-line paragraph on your head to put up on the site, but is it a good idea to put it all in word to word? No matter how great the design, layout of the site, if the content is not smartly worded then the website won’t be able to fulfill its destiny. A smart designer always puts the content in smartly and for this, it’s good to have some basic writing skills in place. Most users don’t bother reading every word on sites, all they need to digest the facts are keywords. Use this to your advantage and put in content as per its level of importance. Headers attract the most attention and the shorter the paragraph the more chances that someone will sit through the whole content. Bullet points also help in making people notice the content along with bold and italics styles.
Web design is form of communication and it can be used to its fullest potential by considering the needs and requirements of its Users. We don’t want to drive away our audience from something that has potential. This is the whole idea behind User Centered Design. So, design well and create happy customers 🙂
Source: Image from Google Images.
Blog written by Rithika, a freelance blogger, for USSG India. 26 th Dec2023
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