When it comes to creating web sites getting the design just right is really important, especially because in the absence of face to face contact the way the pages are put together are all we have to draw people in and build a relationship with our audience. A well designed website should translate and present the company brand personality; using colours, images and a lay out that reflects the brand characteristics and additional marketing, whilst also appealing to the target audience. In the same way ecommerce web design needs to incorporate a good creative base, but with an easy to use shopping facility.

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Web users are impatient, task focused and disloyal. Audiences tend to scan pages, looking for information cues and signposts to the sections they need.

With this in mind designers need to produce well structured information, clearly and consistently, helping audiences get to the right place, first time. And avoiding gaudy images or clashing colours as it will simply put web users off.

Whatever the reason for designing a website, clarity is of the utmost importance. If users can't find exactly what they are looking for straight away they are likely to go elsewhere. Trying to aim for a '3 click' rule helps, if your audience can't find what they're looking for within 3 clicks they may not continue. But having the right 'look' is important too. The saying 'make a good impression' goes for websites too and an attractive, modern and fresh design can appeal to today's web audience. A well thought out and easy to use site makes the company look credible and trustworthy. A company with an outdated design or tricky navigation will make customers feel they don't take care of their website and if this is an ecommerce web design, then your customers might be put off buying from you at all if they feel the sale may encounter problems or be neglected at the other end.

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Of course, designing web sites isn't a one size fits all process and a good designer will take various elements into consideration before starting a design. Starting with the company brand personality, marketing and style, the site needs to feel like it is part of the company marketing strategy and be recognisable to customers who may also have been in store or received brochures or direct marketing material. In addition to this, the designer should consider the typical user profile and then the business goals of the site such as ecommerce, networking or searching for information. All these things go towards the perfect design.

Different sites will have different considerations, for example a news site will be very text heavy so will need to have lots of clear, white space to balance this out. Generally black text on a white background is easier for the eye to take in, so where a large amount of reading needs to happen, simplicity is best. In complete contrast to this, a site aimed at young people will need to be more colourful and engaging. Bright colours, fun images and a larger font all work together to draw its audience in.

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Ecommerce web design can be even more complex. Here you need to design a good looking, modern site that will draw in the audience, but add in a consistent and easy to use navigation that means the customer can always find what they are looking for straight away. Of course, even though these sites have business goals firmly in place, i.e. to bring in more sales, they will also need to have a well thought out look and feel with the appropriate branding. Ecommerce sites need to be laid out in a clear, obvious way with navigation that remains consistent wherever the site may take you. Without being to gaudy the 'BUY' or 'Shopping Cart' area needs to be obvious to the audience too. Your customer won't be buying that new product if they can't figure how to! Ecommerce web design needs to incorporate good descriptions of products and services, consumers want to know as much as they can before they buy and if appropriate will need to include good, clear photography or product images. In the end though, however lovely the site might look, customers won't buy if the process is lengthy or difficult so keep your check out steps simple.

When all is said and done web designers will have a lot of experience in their area and will be able to guide and advise you about techniques and designs that work. In this case, trusting the experts will definitely give you the best site you can have.

About the author

Alex Roman

I'm a 26-year old independent graphic artist and architect based in Bucharest. I really love what i do!

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Comments

  • Hannnah
    2011-09-05 12:22:39
    A well-written and much appreciated article, thanks!
  • Gorny S.
    2011-09-05 12:29:37
    Very nice article :)
  • Katie
    2011-09-05 14:07:17
    Great article i really enjoyed it and learn many things from it.
  • Birthea Lem
    2011-09-05 14:08:31
    A fun to read post! I like the conceptual approach you take.
  • Jerry Lafferty
    2011-09-05 20:20:35
    Great read. I agree, websites that look shoddy tend to put me off, and circle around links really put me off. the 3 click rule to get where you are going is perfect.