Web design has different components. If you are planning a new website for your company or if your site needs to be redesigned, this post will help you understand the basics of what that involves. Most of us think in terms of how a site looks and what features it has.
However, professional web designers face a complex assortment of challenges in creating a site that reflects your brand’s image, does what you want it to do, encourages visitors to navigate it intuitively and engages them with compelling images and content. We can break down the design aspects of the job into three categories: graphic design, user experience (UX) design and user interface (UI) design. Here’s what each of those terms means.
This is the one component of websites that most of us are familiar with already. Graphic design refers to the visual elements of a website. It is the colours, shapes, images, fonts and layout of a website. A graphic designer is a person who can blend these elements to create a picture that says the right thousand words about your brand.
This component is critical to your website’s success because if your site is not visually appealing, people won’t stay there. They will click away in an instant, and you can lose them before they have even seen what you have to offer. The graphic designer ensures that your content is easy for the eye to scan, that the colours and lines of the layout set the right tone and that the overall look says something about who you are.
UX is about the feel of your website. It refers to how a visitor’s experience is on a website. Is it easy to figure out how to get from one page to another? Can visitors intuitively get the hang of the site and navigate it? Is the design consistent so that when they understand how one page works, that knowledge can be applied to all pages of the site?
Is it in any way frustrating to use your website? Do they spend too much time searching for things? Do they go down a lot of dead ends that don’t lead to the information they need? User experience designing, like graphic design, must focus on the specific audience for each site. What works for one demographic won’t necessarily work for every audience.
UI is the technical side of how a visitor explores a website. It should be influenced by UX, but it is a separate element. UI includes things such as forms and messages as well as the functionality of the site’s layout. User interface designers decide how a site communicates with visitors, what messages pop up and prompt visitors to take action and how the site confirms they have successfully taken an action. UI design is pragmatic.
All three of these elements need to work together and be informed by each other. Each type of design must reflect a solid, detailed understanding of the website’s visitor. When that happens, people genuinely enjoy visiting the site. They stay there longer. And that ease of use and longer time on the site lead to more conversions.
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