Websites are easy to create, or so they say. Yes, we can download various frameworks and tools that can help us arrange things and make them simpler, but that doesn’t mean that the site will look good or feel good when a user is browsing it.
Sites being optimized and sites looking good are two different things and they come from different places. One requires a more artistic approach while another requires technical knowledge and common sense.
Visually appealing sites are much easier to “sell” so here are a couple of tips on how to make them.
Focus on the Purpose
Every site needs to have its own purpose. Whether a boutique where people will browse products, or an actual ecommerce store, a blog or a site about video sharing, you need to know why the site is there. Landing pages are definitely not the same as a web presentation for a company that wants people to be familiar with their work and services.
The purpose of the site is the first thing that you should focus on, because that will make it easier for you to choose the right visual design, or rather, the most optimal one.
Focus on the Target Audience
Design is nothing without the audience viewing it. A cartoonish design will probably not be appealing to aging businessmen who are there to find information about finance and loans. While this is an extreme example, designers have completely missed their queues when working on sites, such as an exercise site, where visual themes would be pointing away from exercise, towards food or rest. The target audience will make it easier to choose the right colors and blends of visualization, thus making the process easier.
Look at the Trends But Don’t Let Them Define the Site
Trends exist for a reason. Most sites and people at a given time are doing something similar. If the sites and trends are working, then there might be something in them that could work for your project. However, these trends might work for a specific niche of sites, and not all of them. Don’t apply ecommerce trends to blogs and vice versa.
Using trendy design just for the sake of it will probably not work. You always have to focus on the context and adapt it accordingly. Something less trendy might work better for your site than something trendy but contextually distant.
Whenever you are working on a design, try a couple of templates and ask a few people what they think about your templates. If most answer that one is good and another bad, then you should take their advice. Try and ask neutral people, who might actually visit the type of site that you are designing.
Always try and define what you want from a site before you start designing it. Know the target audience and adapt trends if they can work for your use case. Try a couple of different ideas and test them out. Eventually, an ideal visual design will pop into place.