Abstract: A look at the area of aesthetic web design targeted towards small businesses, organizations and sole traders.
Intended Audience: Small Business Owners/webmasters and anyone new to the world of web design and search engine optimization (SEO) particularly those working with small businesses, organizations and sole traders.
A website design combines various fundamentals to make a website successful. The function of a website is to bridge the gap between an organisation and its online target audience. It takes more then one aspect of a website to produce a satisfactory online presence for potential visitors. The Internet is primarily a visual medium so the appearance of a website is a key factor in the design process.
Aesthetic web design does not have to be as convoluted or as expensive as it may seem, with a little research and some creative application a website with a high quality web design can take shape. The visuals and aesthetics of a website must be striking enough to encourage a visitor and stay and explore the website.
Small businesses, particularly those embarking on their first website project are often unsure about how to approach the design component of a website construction project. To get started a small business should:
• Find other websites belonging to other companies or organisations involved in similar business activities. It is often best to look beyond local competitors and potentially view the websites of comparable companies in other countries
• Make a list of the websites that are appealing and note the items that attractive and may be applicable in some form to your website project
• Note the use of graphics, the layout, colour scheme, navigation and the general use of the space
All of these elements combine to focus the website’s design to two basic factors; appearance and usability. Where possible you should attempt to guide your web designer in terms of appearance while they are responsible for finding the balance between aesthetics and usability.
It should always be remember that the pursuit of a visually striking web design should never be to detriment of the website’s content. The website’s content must be accessible, for the visitor, by means of a well defined navigation structure and organised content. Internet users have notoriously short attention spans so the aesthetic design, usability and content must blend together as a single entity.
The key messages of this article are that research is a pre-requisite for good web design as is a close partner type relationship with your web design organisation.