Practical Web Design

Posted on Thu, September 25, 2014 in User Interface, Web Design, by Jason Bennett

Web design is often described as an "artistic" or "creative" job. Many think a web designer simply makes a design look "cool" or "pretty".  However, sometimes a pretty design just isn't practical. I learned early on, as an artist myself, that I had to separate my art from my work to become a better designer. My job, as a web designer, is to create functional sites that convert, and sometimes putting my 'unique flavor' into the site design simply distracts users and creates a confusing, unusable website. Knowing when to let out my inner-artist, and when to keep it chained up, makes the web a better place for everyone.

At GRAYBOX we aim to create long-term relationships with our clients. A typical project starts with in-depth kickoff meetings, research, and lots of questions to get to know as much as we can about our clients, their customers, and how each project can help our clients reach their business goals. We then prioritize these goals before we design. This list of goals helps helps us answer difficult questions throughout the design process, and helps gives us a starting point when thinking about the organization and functionality of the site. Any time I come upon a roadblock in the design process I refer to this list of goals and ask myself if the design is supporting the business goals. This helps break down those roadblocks, keeps distractions at bay, and in general, makes decision-making much easier.

After any site launches, we'll track conversion metrics and analytics data to improve the performance of each website we create. We can compare this data to our initial project goals to see how effective our plan is performing. If the data says our plan is performing well, we'll start doing minor tweaks to fine tune things to help improve the results even more. If our business goals simply aren't being achieved according to our analytics data, we'll then start investigating to come up with a plan of changes to help get things back on track.

In the end, design is a business, and in business, making money is the end goal. We're here to help our clients meet their goals, and knowing when and how to achieve those goals through good design decisions is key to success.

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