Want to know 5 top tips on how to manufacture a website? Here we go!
STEP 1: Don’t just say yes, challenge the client’s request…
Although a client has asked for a website because they want it to do X, we are not “yes-men”. So to achieve the best outcome, we always have to ask why the website is even needed, and what its main purpose is. Some of the key questions that need to be considered are: what is the message or action you are trying to convey? Who is this message/action being delivered to, and therefore, is a website the best digital solution for your users – could it be better as an app or another platform?
Having considered these initial questions, we can immediately become clear on the overall expectation of the website and this will act as the “anchor” throughout the project.
Step 2: Who is the user?...
Again, another success dependent question – Who is/are the user(s)?
Having understood what the website will need to do, we now need to understand more about the people it will be aimed at. Using analytical data combined with qualitative aspects, we are able to figure out how the mind of the target audience will interact with our website which allows us to figure out the best features, key design elements and user journeys, and whether or not they need to be tailored accordingly to provide the best user experience.
Step 3: Plan, plan and plan again…
“Failure to plan is planning to fail”
Now that we have outlined the ‘who’ and ‘why’; we can now focus on the ‘what’. During this stage, it’s a good idea not to limit yourself by thinking about how something will look, but instead focus more on the goal the user wants to complete and how they will go about completing that action. A good example being:
“As a user, I can easily navigate through the pages of the website to view different content”.
A bad example of this can be
“As a user, I can click a black hamburger-menu in the right corner of the page to navigate to other pages”
With these examples, immediately we can see the effect the two user stories will have when it comes to the design. Once we focus on the ‘what’ at this stage, we can then formulate a variety of concepts in our mind, without being restricted to a specific style, leaving more room for creative freedom and design exploration.
Step 4: Design only the necessary
It’s easy to get tangled up in designing every single page of a website when realistically this isn’t needed! The most efficient way to design the visual aspect of a website is to design the key page templates and specific page components. For example, on a website that contains over 100 pages, more often than not (if the website is designed well) you will find yourself only needing maybe 5 or 6 templates to cover all 100+ pages. So why waste valuable time drafting every page? It is very much the case of quality over quantity here. So time would be better spent, focusing on every detail of those few templates, rather than easily missing key details in designing every page.
Step 5: Always check your work
Most website designers find themselves planning and designing such a great website, but they actually forget to check it. Whether it be because they don’t want to criticise their hard work, or simply because they have forgotten to do so. It’s critically important to check your work especially if this is going to a client, as you want to ensure that all of your web pages and components work and provide the best user experience which sometimes means, seeing it in the environment it will be used. It’s important to see your work in application with the use of a prototyping tool, which can work wonders and help you see where adjustments need to be made no matter how minor – every detail counts!
"The most efficient way to design the visual aspect of a website is to design the key page templates and specific page components."
So, there you have it, some simple steps on how to manufacture a website. Remember you want the end product to reflect your professionalism, credibility and quality, and have a website that is optimised to help generate more leads, and ultimately grow your business.
By Pavan Panesar - UX Designer