A quick look around the internet reveals quite a few great website designs. However, for every amazingly designed website, there are hundreds of websites that are visually unappealing, difficult to use, slow to load, and convey an image of amateurish design and operation. Website design and development is hard to get right, and when considering the steps involved, it really should be.
There are several content management systems and themes that go with each one, but to develop a unique website that does not sacrifice usability for style is a difficult task. The process is filled with potential problems and important steps, but getting the design right can be the difference between a successful and recognizable website, or just another site buried in the internet.
From Concept To Development
The biggest problem that must be overcome in any website design and development project is coming up with a design concept. A unique design almost always starts from scratch. In some cases, it may be inspired by another design, but the architecture of the site and design still takes work to conceptualize, let alone properly implement.
For a business that is trying to develop a unique brand, then a unique design is required. Artists must conduct research on a market to develop design ideas that will appeal to the correct demographics.
Once the target market is researched and outlined, designers may work on various logos, color schemes, navigation styles, fonts, and other factors. These are all important to long term branding and providing the experience that website visitors will come to expect when they land on a site.
These steps are also just a handful of those that must be taken before the actual development phase begins. Once the artists and designers have developed a design that passes each requirement set before them, the programmers can begin work to implement the design into a usable website.
Programming And Final Development
Once a website design is in place, a programmer can begin working on the architecture of the site. Designing various architecture schemes can be difficult and time consuming. The process of writing the code to match the intended design is often one of trial and error until the site layout is consistent with the design concept.
Once the site layout is complete, the styling can begin. Adding in the color schemes, adjusting font type and sizes, and implementing items like social share buttons is fairly simple, but still time consuming as some functions and layout options may need to be edited, or new ones added.
Speed And Usability
Once the layout and style are in place, a good design team will need to test browser and device compatibility, as well as site speed and search engine optimization features.
The days of a site appearing quite different from browser to browser are nearing an end, but the mobile age is presenting a new set of potential pitfalls. Some sites will work best with a dedicated mobile site, where mobile users may be redirected from the desktop or laptop version of a site. Other sites may be better suited to a responsive design, where a page may shrink and adjust to whatever device a visitor is using to view a site.
Speed can be enhanced by cleaning up non essential code, loading some elements before others, and making image files as small as possible. Fast sites that are also appealing may help to improve search engine optimization scores as well.
A well optimized site can be handled by plugins, or by writing certain functions into the code of a website. The second option often results faster speeds and a more secure site.
The List Can Go On
The list of tasks and potential problems in website design and development is extensive. These are just some of the more important elements that a design team must address and account for in order to design and develop a stable, secure and appealing website for their clients.