Website Design Strategy
As a web designer it is sometimes difficult to formulate new and fresh designs to keep the element of originality in your designs. It is important to do this for your own sanity and also is only fair on a client. You want to be able to best represent their brand in the best possible light and work with them to compliment their core branding strategy.
Formulating a good strategy for delivering a functioning and good looking website is what will set you apart from the other web design companies out there. The below tips will help get a consistent and well practiced workflow and help prevent creative block or unsatisfied clients.
Web Design Requirement:
Finding the clients ultimate requirement lays an extremely useful and sound foundation to create a rock solid website from. Make sure you set aside enough time to really drill down and get an understanding of what the client wants to achieve with their website.
Once you have a clear idea and agreed some goals with the client about their online presence and what it should achieve, explore the clients branding, logos and general marketing strategy to begin to piece together the best way of expanding upon this through the website.
Even though the client may have existing branding and a design style, the site layout and design will still be left to you as a designer to produce. A good creative flow can really help with this design process. Have a look at the existing grid based systems such as the 960.gs or the newer 1140. These are systems that provide a template grid to design in that can correspond to a pixel perfect page layout when the website gets coded.
Other sources of establishing a fast and creative workflow are exploring and building up a list of website designs that look really good and are set apart from the rest. There may be elements of these designs that inspire or stimulate your own creativity.
Keep a scrapbook of good designs in screenshots
Bookmark URL’s to revisit at a later date.
Browse tutorial websites for inspiring methods of using photoshop/illustrator
Download icon packs, badges and fonts for later usage.
Sound Website Framework:
This is crucial to time management, use a tried and tested web development platform and associated code to deliver a robust and functioning solution. This will cut down development time and provide value to the client through both quicker delivery and also development cost. Experiment with a few different open source platforms, read reviews and check out support forums for known problems or benefits. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are three very well known and highly supported CMS platforms, for starters.
If you only need to develop a static HTML website then still use a robust and previously tested template, either of your own creation or an off the shelf grid system, such as the 960gs. It is also important to test the website in different browsers to make sure that it is cross browser compatible.
Web Design Strategy Conclusion:
Creating a good looking and well functioning website is mostly preparation in the above stages. Having a sound strategy saves time, increases your profit and also reduces costs for your client, making everyone in the equation happy.