What is the biggest challenge of design?
Design is subjective, its personal. Most people have trouble explaining why they pick a color scheme. What needs to happen is you need to move to an objective place. Colors, for example, maybe they support the mood of the pace, exemplify a fundamental change in the company, convey the message, or just support their branding colors.
The best way to be objective is to apply the "why" filter. With every design, color, piece of content, we need to ask why? The answer to the question why should line up with one of the following:
- Overarching reason or purpose
- Key Summary
- Core Value System
You need to keep an overall goal in mind. What is the purpose of the website? Is it to put out information, leverage your clients or customers, share knowledge, network or maybe just establish yourself as an expert? Get this well defined.
- Know your goals
We talked a little bit about the why up above. Spend a lot of time defining the goals. Again, just apply the "why" over and over again. Without goals you won't be able to get anywhere.
2. Identify Your Audience:
Its so important to KNOW your audience. RD2 suggested actually doing full profiles of possible users of the website, including slice of life descriptions. (AKA, how old is the user, where do they live, why are they on the site, what do they do, activities, family, etc.) User profiles can be real people. Feel free to interview the kinds of people who would actually visit the site.
3. Know your competitor.
Visit competitor sites. Pick what you like and don't like on those sites. What can you use? What can you improve on? Take those elements and decide what would make someone come to this site instead.
4. Research some Inspiration.
Inspiration can be about content or design, it can be cause by competitors or outside influences.
5. Plan Your Content
Its important to know your content before your design Layout pages, text, what you know you want. Have it written down in a flow sheet. Start a layout and plan as much as you can before you ever design anything.
6. Plan Your Features
After you know what you want on the pages and all the content you expect, try to decide what you want the site to do. (Again, looking at competitors might help here.) Do you want to connect to social media? Do you need a contact page? Interaction? Write all those down. Even brainstorm without the web (aka, "if your website could do anything, what would you have it do?")
7.Outline Your Needs
Once you've got your content and features decided on, start wireframing the site. Decide exactly where you want everything to go before you ever start with the art.
But we want to end up on the importance of "Why". Everything you do must go back to the goals, values and needs of the site itself. Make that your foundation and everything else will fall into place.