You want your website to be functional, of course. Informative is important too. Above all, though, you want your website to be beautiful. Your goal isn’t simply to provide another bland piece of text that tries desperately to cloak an advertisement in the veneer of useful information. A basic shopping cart with all the items arrayed in orderly rows and columns like a tiny digital army of black text on white screen is not appealing to you and won’t be to your visitors. When someone visits your home page, you want to immediately grab their attention, draw them into your message with a dazzling array of impressively designed graphics.
So what do you need to have ready to construct your beautiful website design? What do you have to provide your designer so that he, she, or they can create the most visually appealing layout possible? Well, as the old adage (or has it become a clich? by this point?) goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Ignoring for the moment my inherent predisposition to launch into a semi-comedic rant about the various virtues of D&D monsters and disintegration beams, the beholder in question is the person viewing your website. Or, in the words of advertisement, your target market.
Your graphic designer has all the skills required to construct elaborate and attractive graphics, colors and shapes placed in perfect balance to not only appeal to the eye but also draw its focus to the most important parts of your site. Your web designer knows the technical code that transforms a senseless array of ones and zeros into a fully functional, dynamic site, with all the graphics precisely positioned (despite, it would seem, the best efforts of competing browser developers). However, neither has any idea whatsoever about what your audience finds engaging, interesting, or beautiful.
What you need to have ready for your designers is a basic style for the site. What kind of images do you want? What colors will they be? What should the font style look like? Will there be any animation? I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t know anything about making a website look good. Isn’t that what I’m paying these guys for?”
And the answer, of course, is yes. You are paying your graphic designer to take your colors, imagery, maybe even a few sketches, and turn it into an appealing layout, logo, banner, and button system. You are paying your web designer to make that layout center on the screen, that button system light up when the mouse moves over it and press in when the user clicks. And you are paying them to tell you when your ideas are going to slow the site down, or hamper your SEO, or cost you more than the money you have budgeted.
And while you might ask their opinions, always remember that they can only offer their own, not those of your visitors. It is the classic case of website design; the designers are the experts in their fields, but you are the expert in yours. A site that the designers create based on their own preferences is only a step or two up from a template, and only attractive to those who share the tastes of its creators. Think of who will be visiting, and provide the designers the foundation to allow them to create your pages to your audience’s taste. That is what you need to create a beautiful website design.
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