What makes a great design or designer? What is web design? Is it the perfect symbiotic relationship between the intersection of form and function? Is web design purely functional and aesthetic, or is it more meaningful? Is it simply telling a story to sell a product, promote a service or to solve a problem?
By helping to connect the consumer and brand together, through innovative storytelling and engaging experiences, web design has the power to start communication between a business and a consumer. Which after all isn’t that the purpose behind graphic design = communication.
“Graphic design is the process of visual communication, and problem-solving through the use of type, space, image and colour.”
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_design
At Igentics we use our experience to deliver your products to your customers, so that the most up to date and relevant information is always available to your visitors in a clean and engaging manner.
Even though we can (and do) design and build pretty much anything, the role of a web designer has never been so varied to accommodate the ever changing landscape of the digital realm. From information architecture, user experience, responsive and persuasive design, content management systems, video, multi-lingual content, search engine optimisation and multiple devices to name a few.
One thing that remains consistent however is the role of the web designer to be a storyteller.
In an age where we are constantly consuming (and being consumed by) digital media, the ability to tell a compelling, relevant and interesting story has never been more important. After all, your brand needs to be heard to connect with its audience. Over time this connection forms a relationship, creating a bonds that generates brand loyalty and if successful creates brand advocates.
All to often websites treat users in the same way every time they return to your website by serving up the same content. Imagine the brand loyalty you could inspire if you tailored the content to each user through personalisation. Just imagine if your website could behave in the same way as a concierge at the best 7 star hotel, by anticipating your needs and catering for them? Wouldn’t you want to comeback and repeat your business?
The great Wally Olins wrote the following about branding, which is relevant today and even more so in the relationship between a user and a brands website, as the website is often the first touchpoint a user has with your brand:
"Overall, because branding is about creating and sustaining trust it means delivering on promises. The best and most successful brands are completely coherent. Every aspect of what they do and what they are reinforces everything else."
Wally Olins - http://www.blackcoffee.com/brand-related/branding-quotes/754
When a user visits your website, they need answers to the questions they have about your business as quickly as possible:
- What is this website?
- What can I do here?
- Is it what I’m looking for?
- Why should I do it here?
- Is it useful to me?
All of these questions happen in milliseconds, consciously and not. Web design has the ability to turn your users on to your products, or if done incorrectly turn them off. By crafting a compelling value proposition about your brand through a narrative story you can inform the user immediately why they should buy from you and why they should discover more.
But its not just the homepage that has to be clear – all of the content and pages need to be clear, purposeful and engaging as your user has the ability to leave at any moment.
Design has the power to inspire and tell fantastic stories about a brand as the visible element, but when its combined with the best thinking practices, user experience and technology which can’t be seen. You end up with the best possible solution : A beautiful website with a perfect form that not only looks great but also functions as a user wants and needs it too.
“Every designer, from advertising to product deals with a different set of problems. But in the end, each designer caters to us as humans, regardless of what problem we are trying to solve.”
Tobias Van Schneider, Lead Product Designer & Art Director at Spotify.
Ultimately form and function come together to deliver the end product that ensures the success of your website.
To me the role of the design and the designer has become that of a digital alchemist, weaving together a compelling brand story, beautiful aesthetics and mixing it together with all of the relevant unseen components: IA, UX, technical and functional requirements and content to create a website design that remains true to the original idea/concept that probably brought you to your chosen agency in the first place, whilst giving a user what they require as quickly as possible.
No longer is web design just the ability to add a facade. If the foundations are flawed to begin with, ultimately a lick of paint can only go so far...
Igentics are passionate about the things we design and build. Websites with style and substance.