Designing a website is the first step in making a website. You should always make one of these, even if it’s for your own website. It allows you to maintain an overall overview of your project and the steps you need to take to complete it. For a client, it helps them review your design and suggest any possible changes.
If you haven’t designed a website before, here’s how to do it.
Who Is Your Client?
Designing something isn’t always as difficult as it sounds. Professional designers can often come up with a great design without much thought. Through their experience of working with people from a wide range of backgrounds, they can automatically come up with an idea which suits their audience.
Ask your client questions about what he does and what the website is for. If he’s a doctor, you already know the design needs to be professional and doesn’t need to be flashy or ‘in your face’.
Identify Your Audience
Ask about your audience and the goals of the website. This will tell you a lot about the sort of design the client wants. They must have a complete goal and you must be willing to read between the lines. Some people aren’t clued up on web promotion and will only give you a very vague answer. It’s up to you to decode their statements.
For example, if they say ‘I want to sell more stuff.’ you can assume this means they want to enhance their exposure and encourage visitors to buy their products. In response, you’d make the products the center of the website and everything else will come second. It would also be your job to make a streamlined ordering system.
The first template should be a basic draft. Most web designers find it easier to write it down on a pen and paper. It’s easier to tweak and they can mess up as many times as they want without losing too much time.
The second template should be a full draft. Create the basic or general layout of a standard page without all the widgets, labels, and content. It shouldn’t take too long. There are lots of pieces of software you can download which makes this process even much quicker. Some are as simple as dragging and dropping various elements with a minimal amount of coding. Don’t worry about functionality at this point. Essentially, you will make a screenshot and send it to your client. You may also choose to charge for this service.
The Complete Design
The full/complete design should take you one more step closer. It should involve individually creating every page and adding all the labels and some content. You can use ‘Loremipsum’ for this. Again, it doesn’t have to work as yet or be anything other than a static page. It just allows the client to see the full layout of the site.
Once they’ have accepted the design, you can start adding all the little innards and features to make a truly great website.
Rachel Smith is a freelance web designer. She believes in using specialist software to make the designing process easier. She recommends novice designers get into the habit of designing from mobile devices with this sort of software. She also writes content for Advantage CCS on topics such as Certified credit counselor.