In our lesson this week we discuss why good web design is crucial to any company and how to enhance a brand using the web. Having a good website is more than just having a presence on the web with a template design. A company needs to express itself through original design incorporating elements from the personality of the company to give it flare and differentiation among competitors. A good balance of whitespace/negative space, contrast, interactivity (call to action, game, video, sound, etc.), effective photography, solid original content, readability, functionality, clear navigation, personality and of course a good first impression will ensure a good web design.

Each individual may choose one over the other for the most significant trait, but personally among all of these, it is functionality (if it doesn’t work for the target market then it won’t be visited, at least not the right users). “Functional design is both an outcome and a process. As an outcome, it describes products that work well to perform their assigned tasks; as a process, functional design is a set of practices guided by the principles that produce that positive outcome.“ According to an article from Smashing Magazine there are 7 essential guidelines for functional design.

  1. Consider the product’s goal.
  2. Consider who will be using it.
  3. Consider what your audience intends with it.
  4. Is it clear how to use it?
  5. How does your user know it’s working?
  6. Is it engaging to your users?
  7. How does it handle mistakes?

The product, audience, intent, clarity, feedback, engagement, and solutions all need to be considered before the process of design. This makes it easier when sitting down to sketch out or jump on the computer to begin designing. For example the old Chipotle website looked like this:

(“That’s the home page for Chipotle the Mexican fast food restaurant known for its use of free-range, organic, and locally-grown ingredients. Not that you’d know that from the homepage. What you know is a) they have a logo, and b) there’s something you should know about jalapeño peppers. If there were no food scare involving jalapeños, you’d see only the logo. What do you do? We can assume the site has a goal — probably to get you to buy some tasty Mexican food — but how do you, the visitor, fulfill your own goal of finding what you want to know about Chipotle?)

 

Now it looks more like this:

(The website is eye catching, interactive and targeting its consumers according to their interest and what Chipotle has to offer them.)

Smashing Magazine is a great website for anything and everything design. It is a great reference and tool to use when sitting down to achieve design goals. To read more about these essential guidelines and other related articles visit:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/05/7-essential-guidelines-for-functional-design/

Before design, think of function.

Jill V. Arvidson – signing out

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