Website Design — Process and Services
With over a decade of website design and web development experience, Atomic Design produces exceptional solutions for corporate and small business websites. Benefits of a professionally designed website include:
- More Conversions
- Better Customer Retention
- Professional Image
- Excellent Usability
Website Design Samples
Seneca Park Zoo
Happier At Home
Recent Web Design Awards
Web Design Planning
Web design is the organization and aesthetic presentation of content through the web using a web browser. Content design may include text, graphics, images, videos, documents or applications. Web design incorporates information architecture and the layout of pages and merges them with branding.
Web design can be a complex activity depending on the size and scope of the website. It is important to plan your website before beginning designs. You need to map out the site structure with a site outline, develop content, outline functionality with a requirements document, establish the purpose of the website, and define who the target audience is.
Defining Your Website
Defining the purpose of your website and who is your target audience is the first step to a successful website design. Your site must have focus, clarity and purpose. Instead of trying to appeal to everybody you should focus on a targeted market. Your design will be much different if you are targeting attorneys versus a social portal for mothers. Your branding should reinforce your mission and reflect your audience. Your plan should include what action you want your visitors to take during or
after their visit.
Creating an Outline
Your website outline is simply a written outline of the categories and content of your website. Using a site outline creates an organized map of your site. Starting with page names you will have a visual representation of how your site is organized and what content you will need to create. It will also serve as a guide for your navigation and organization of categories and sub categories. Organization is the key to any successful website design.
Wireframes for Your Website
Wireframes are basic blue prints that define a web page's content and functionality. They do not incorporate web design elements such as color, logos, graphics, images or fonts. Wire frames and site maps make up the basic components of information architecture. They convey general page structure and content requirements enabling you to focus on function and not be distracted by design.
Website Requirements Document
Building a website with functionality requires a clear idea of what features and functionality your site will need designed. Your requirements document provides developers and web designers a clear description of site functionality and workflow. Web design functionality, based on a requirements document enables you to see how your user interface and system work together before entering the programming stage. This document is very effective at keeping costs down because it is much easier to make changes in the design stage instead of having it reprogrammed after the system has already been programmed.
Beginning the Web Design Phase
Now that your planning, content and wire frames are completed it is time to begin your website design phase. The look and feel of your website should be influenced by existing branding. Giving some direction to your web designer can be helpful but you have to trust that they are going to use their experience and deliver designs that work for your company, industry and goals.
Web Navigation Design
One of the most important aspects of web design is creating good navigation. It must be easy to use and intuitive. No matter what type of website you have, users should be able to easily find the information they are looking for. Keep these points in mind and you can't go wrong with your navigation design.
- Navigation should be designed for your users - don't try anything fancy just because you like it or want to be different. Your visitors will not appreciate it.
- Navigation should be consistent - Visitors enter your site from pages other than the home page and they must be able to find their way around the site from any page.
- Follow best practices - Primary navigation should be in a standard location and secondary or subcategory navigation
should follow suit.
- Keep your users' clicks to a minimum - A properly organized site does not need complex navigation and all content should be accessible in as few steps as possible.
Navigation is the most important element in creating a usable website.
Presentation of Functionality and User Interface Design
User interface design focuses on the user experience and interaction with your websites interactive or functional elements. A website's goal should be to ensure that the user's interaction has been made as simple and efficient as possible. User-centered design facilitates finishing web based goals or tasks. Good user interface design does not draw attention to itself. The design process must balance functionality and visual elements to create a web application that is usable, operational and marketable.
Subjective Versus Quantifiable Web Design
Design by nature is subjective. Good web design is not. You know the moment you visit a website whether it works or it doesn't work. You may not be able to put a finger on it but you still know. Good website design does not have to be the most creative or original. It needs to work for your users, express your brand and match your industry.
Website visitors come to your website to either find information, make a purchase or use an application. Wikipedia is not a creative, unique site, but it is extremely usable and the web design works. Facebook is clean and organizes a good amount of information, yet manages to appeal to more users than any other website on the planet. Amazon hasn't won any web design awards (that we know of) but users can make purchases and find exactly what they are looking for. All of these examples have web design that works for their users and site goals.
User Testing and Focus Groups
You cannot please every one, all of the time. You must design for your audience, demographics and marketing goals. User testing, or usability testing, and focus groups are a great way to make sure your design hit its target and visitors are performing the actions you intended for them.
Designing for Web Applications
Designing web applications is more challenging than designing standard web pages. There are many more variables and user actions to account for. The larger and more complex the website the more important a requirements document becomes. Our design process reduces the complexity by ensuring that there is an approved design for every unique page before it
goes to programming.
Website Usability Testing and Market Research
Usability testing to maximize conversions and user experience
Sample Usability Questionnaire
Examples of usability questions that are provided to the usability test participants.
Website Design Requirements
Sample page of web design requirements and questions.