The vital importance of effective web design is becoming clear to a number of businesses who are competing for customers online. This is because many businesses are relying for their website for their sales, and investing most of their marketing budget on the web as opposed to using traditional channels. One of these traditional techniques is advertising in newspapers, magazines, on TV and on radio. Another is using media relations to generate positive coverage in the news media. And the use of printed leaflets and brochures is a further traditional marketing technique which is these days giving way to marketing on the web.
These days more and more business people are realising that web design and online marketing are worth investing in. One trend that is happening is that marketing people are working closely with web designers. Another new development is that web marketing has become a clearly defined area of specialisation in its own right.
Web design has a number of aspects to it. The visual look of a website is important. So if you are creating a website for fans of an edgy rock star like Pete Doherty you would create a certain look for the site, perhaps using dark colours and ‘craggy’ typefaces to appeal to his audience and make them feel at home on the website. While if you were doing web design for a bank you would want to create an impression of sincerity and dependability with a clear, clean and appealing look that would reassure potential investors that it is a site and a bank that can be trusted.
So good web design requires the designer to be visually literate and capable of creating certain moods and visual environments through their work. The designer or client relations specialist will research a wide range of sites before any design work is started, to enable them to have the correct picture of the subject they are designing for.
Another aspect of web design to consider is how the website behaves. For instance, do the pages open with sufficient speed? These days people online expect a webpage to open in a couple of seconds. If it doesn’t, they will go elsewhere. If you are selling from your website you will have lost a potential customer, and if you have been spending money on online advertising to bring customers to your site and the site pages load too slowly, you could be wasting a large proportion of your advertising money every day, week and month of the year.
So image handling and sizing for the web is another important aspect of effective web design. If images are used that are too large in terms of file size, the page will load too slowly. There are many ways around this so that an effective web design can be produced that will load sufficiently quickly when people click a link to that page. One technique is to use interlaced images. Here, a low-resolution image loads first, so you can see the whole page quickly. But then, as you start reading the text and looking at the images, you will notice the images sharpening up. This is the second and third set of interlaced images kicking in, to give you a higher resolution view. This is a clever web design technique, which allows you to see the whole page before it has actually fully loaded in the browser window.
Author: Tom Dun