You’ve heard the old saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Planning is an essential part to web design and development. Research and thinking ahead will help shed light on some issues you may come across down the line and prevent your site from becoming “broken”. The word broken here doesn’t just apply to broken links or errors. A failed plan and broken user flow are just as bad!
Our first step is to sit down with a client and talk through what their vision is for their site and to add some ideas of our own. But is our responsibility as the web professionals to take all of these ideas and transform them into a functional user experience. We need to know when a seemingly cool idea will and will NOT work. If the client states that they want to use totally awesome, unexpected verbiage in the navigation, for instance, we need to speak up and remind them that this could possibly cause confusion for the users and diminish the user experience. Instead, we may suggest an ALTERNATIVE way to utilize their super cool verbiage throughout the site.
In the second step, design stage, a web designer needs to design a site with that same approach.
Think ahead. A great idea may pop into our head for the design, but if we cannot envision how this idea will translate into development stage, we need to rethink this idea. A good web designer thinks like a developer… even if they haven’t a clue how to code. How do these buttons work on click? How about on hover? How does that dropdown work? Where is the best place to put this callout for high visibility?
With the advent of Responsive web technologies, our thinking and planning has to go even further. What will this desktop content look like on a tablet? On mobile? Which pieces of content will need to be hidden when the site is viewed on mobile, without taking away from the experience? Will this mobile nav be easy to use/find?
Users are now expecting faster and easier interaction, and they are growing less patient… especially users of mobile devices… so we want to keep the sites as simple and straightforward as possible.
The final step, after buildout is to test, test and test some more! There are plenty of emulation tools available to test online, but when possible, there’s no better testing solution than the real devices. We test on androids, iphones, ipads, computer monitors with multiple screen sizes, different browsers, and so on. With this keen attention to detail, we generate beautiful, functional, user friendly websites with a seamless user flow!