Web Strategy

8 Tips for ensuring a better site design


How do you ensure you get the best design for your site possible?

How do you cultivate the best working relationship with your designer?

How do you get your money’s worth?


1. Always explain why.

When people tell you what they think of the design always ask them why. Why don’t they like the colour? Why do they think the logo should be made bigger? Equally ask yourself the same questions. Often there are underlying reasons for a reaction towards a design. Telling the designer these underlying reasons can enable him to find the most appropriate solution.

2. Recognise your personal bias.

Design is a very subjective subject. We all have our personal opinion when it comes to design. What you like, your boss may hate. However, at the end of the day it is not about whether either you or your boss likes the design. The question to ask is whether the user will like it.

3. If in doubt, test.

If you find yourself unsure about the design direction or disagreeing over the way forward, test the design. There are loads of ways you can get feedback from a bigger group of people and none of them need to be time consuming or expensive. Testing the design will give you the confidence that things are heading in the right direction.

4. Remember nothing is permanent.

It’s important to remember that unlike print design, the web can be changed at any time. Making a design decision doesn’t need to be a life or death choice because if you put something live and users don’t like it then it can easily be changed.

5. Listen to the research.

Designing a website is not the same as producing a piece of art. There is considerable science and psychology behind the discipline as well as many years of research. Where possible build on best practice and avoid working from hunches or personal preference.

6. Resist the urge to copy.

There is nothing wrong with looking at your competition or indeed any other website for inspiration. However, blindly following what other people do is often a mistake. What works for one site will not always work for another and we don’t want to simply copy the competition ending up one step behind them.

7. Context is everything, always present it.

You and your designer will spend hours discussing the right approach for your website and hopefully you will have a firm grasp of why certain decisions have been made. The danger comes when you present work to colleagues who don’t have that background. Make sure that you always fully brief anybody you show the design to so they know why it has turned out the way it has.

8.Avoid design by committee.

Because design is subjective showing it to too many people can just muddy the decision making process. Instead keep the number of people to a minimum and canvas their opinions individually to avoid design by committee.

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