Web designing has become a prominent part of our lives, especially important for millions of small businesses in South Africa. But what do you require to create a website? How do you design a website? What are the requirements for web designing? This article aims at shedding some light on these questions.
What exactly is Web Designing about?
Humans are a species that naturally react positively to aesthetic things—things that look beautiful and eye-pleasing! Websites are not an exception to this either. As a small business, you would want your website to do better. One of the factors to make your website perform better are aesthetics.
This is where web designing plays a major role. It is the practice of designing a website to make it look as good as possible without breaking its functionality. It also attempts to match and promote your brand!
But is website design only about aesthetics? Obviously not! The world-renowned Apple founder Steve Jobs once said the following about designs:
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
That’s right. We have seen so many websites that are really beautiful, but when it comes to functionality, they fall flat. And then there are some web designs that really function exactly as intended, yet it receives little traffic for how it represents itself because the design is just not good enough.
Hence, it is safe to say that: “Website Design is the art of seeking balance and functionality of a website.”
Requirements for Web Designing
The goal of a web designer is to make a website appear aesthetically pleasant and functioning. Besides, our clients also come up with this very common request: “Please make our website look unique.” And true, that is exactly what we do focus on as well.
If you are an avid internet user surfing websites all day, you must have noticed how an average website experience is generally the same. ‘There’s the navigation; ah look, here’s the menu; ah right, a banner…” Your subconscious mind must’ve thought to yourself at some point.
But at the same time, familiarity also helps visitors navigate a website with ease. So, drastically changing a website’s layout design… No, not a good idea generally.
That makes website design even more challenging. “How are you supposed to find a unique design out of that?” True, it is indeed challenging. And this is exactly why understanding web designing requirements and how designing works is important.
Have a Vision!
What we simply mean by this is to plan carefully! Understand what you would want from your website and whether it aligns with your business goals. Give it a good thought and make sure you are at peace with what you have planned.
Now, take a pencil and paper and start visualising how your dream website would look and function. In web designing, we call this process ‘prototyping’. Prototyping is basically a process where you draw a basic layout of a website on paper and try and understand how things may look when the actual website development begins. It is one of the most crucial requirements for a successful web designing process.
This process definitely helps not only you but also your website designer/developer. You can use the prototype diagrams to explain your approach, your goals, and how you want things to function on your website. This is the brainstorming session, do your best!
After a thorough prototyping process, you will generally get an idea of your website’s look and functionality. This will also determine what sorts of content you will be using for your website. In this section, let’s focus on some important elements of a webpage.
A header or banner goes on the top of a website and in most cases, it remains constant. Our personal preference/recommendation is to keep it consistent as well. A banner usually represents a company’s brand identity and hence, keeping it consistent across all pages is a good idea.
Footer usually contains links, a company’s information and socials, or some informational videos or descriptions a visitor may want to read. Two things are consistent on a footer: the website developer’s name and contact links. Just like the header, the footer also remains consistent across all the pages on your website.
Navigation is how you lead your visitors to desired results on your website. An easy-to-navigate website is likely to generate more positive reactions than a website with obscure navigation. Another popular and great idea is to use breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs navigation is basically a GPS, telling visitors where exactly they are on your website.
White space/blank space is the empty space on your website between different types of content. Having sufficient white space is as important as having content on your website. White spaces make your content look more organised; and organised and easy-to-read content definitely grasps more audience to your website.
For example, The Guardian, one of the famous online journalist websites could definitely use more white space between its contents. We honestly love The Guardian and their news sources are authentic as they can be, but navigating their website can sometimes be unpleasant as the content feels overwhelming to look at.
Content is the heart of your website. Without content, there’s just nothing to do on your website, on ANY website; making it one of the most important requirements for all sorts of web designing. Anything is content, not just words or letters but also multimedia elements like images, videos, and links. Content writing/development is a skill and you have to adapt in accordance with your target audience. The more relatable the content is for your target audience, the better.
Content, Colours, and CTA
Let’s talk more about the content first. Content is the primary source of information and revenue for your business. Your content advertises your products and services, provides useful information on various topics, or helps navigate users around. Hence, as mentioned previously, the content has to be written in accordance with your target audience. Don’t be too obscure with your content. We have found that simplicity is the best form of communication in general. However, the language may be more or less formal depending on how you want to represent your business.
But content alone cannot carry your website and online business to new heights. If you rely on content alone but forget to put effort into visual designs, your website may end up looking like it’s straight out of the 2002 internet. If you have been using the internet since the dawn of time, you must have understood what we are trying to say. But here’s a visual example.
The design aspect of this website is almost non-existent. It’s just white space, some basic formatting, an image, and the content. Now, this may have worked in the past, but certainly won’t work now. People may even end up labelling your business a scam online. It has become that obscure.
Also, you should definitely visit LiveJournal’s website now and compare.
How do colours play a role in Website Design?
We will include talking about themes here as well. Colours are how we perceive the beautiful world, and the beautiful world of the internet as well. It has been scientifically proven that colours play a strong role in evoking certain emotions out of us. And while colours may be perceived differently by different individuals, they are largely the same across the globe.
You can use colours in your website design to define and reinforce your brand image, evoke certain emotions amongst your visitors, or subconsciously prompt them to follow a certain CTA. For example, Spotify has a brilliant website design that makes the CTA button stand out, which prompts the majority of visitors to follow it almost instantly.
This is a recently captured Spotify premium homepage. Notice how the CTA button stands out on this page. Also, it shares an identical colour scheme as the website’s banner that has Spotify’s logo on it, further enhancing its importance.
- Red: Passion, Love, Anger
- Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality
- Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Deceit
- Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature
- Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness
- Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth
- Black: Mystery, Elegance, Evil
- Gray: Moody, Conservative, Formality
- White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue
- Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability
These are some of the most common colours we see that evoke the aforementioned emotions within us. This information has been sourced from Smashing Magazine and they really have done a super extensive article on the Colour Theory for designers. We highly recommend checking it out.
Colours and CTA?
So, depending on the colours, you can encourage users to make decisions and actions on your website too. For example, a flashy sale should have a bright, vibrant, and cheerful colour scheme. This immediately brightens your visitors’ mood and encourages them to spend more or make a purchase.
One of the best examples already mentioned above is Spotify. Another example could be one of those popular e-commerce stores with flash sales going on. You must have visited them at least once. They are full of vibrant colours, flashes, and big discount numbers that entice people to buy more. Have you ever experienced that yourself?
Choose a Content Management System (CMS) for your Web Design goals
A Content Management System or CMS is simply a software tool that allows you to create websites and manage content. Even if you haven’t heard this word before, you most certainly have heard about Wix or WordPress, right? Yup, these are CMS software.
And what’s best? These tools are absolutely free to use.
WordPress is the most popular, leading CMS tool globally, powering about 35% of global websites (about 455m according to the statistics by Envisage Digital). Does that mean it is actually the best CMS tool to use? Personally speaking, yes. This very website is also made with WordPress CMS. If you are liking the feel of your website, you would certainly like WordPress too!
Personal opinion aside, for the sake of impartiality, we would say that choosing the right CMS tool for your business ultimately depends on your own preferences.
What would you consider before choosing a CMS tool?
a. Level of Difficulty
CMS tools are supposed to make your world simpler in creating a website. However, it is possible that you may find some CMS tools far more complicated than others. Hence, it is important for you to understand which CMS tool is easy for you to operate.
Nowadays, a great deal of CMS tools provide a drag and drop feature, allowing you to drag the website elements around and position them as you see fit. My first ever website was made on Weebly. And trust me, Weebly’s intuitive drag and drop features and simplicity instantly changed my opinion from ‘It’s so difficult to create a website’ to ‘wow! it’s so easyy!’
b. Design Options
This is important. The more flexible a CMS tool is in terms of design, the better freedom you will have to be creative. Usually, you would want to look for a CMS tool that has a variety of diverse designing options such as themes and plugins.
Different CMS tools feature different design options. So if designing is something you want to focus on, look for a CMS tool with such flexibility.
c. Plugins & Add-ons
There is no CMS tool in the world that can cater to all sorts of websites. This is where plugins or add-ons come into play. They can be a great addition to your website, providing support to various attributes of functionality and designs.
Though it is important to note that the overuse of plugins can slow down your website. Hence, it is better to use plugins in moderation.
d. Help & Support Options
The operation of a CMS tool may appear so simple, yet so complicated. It is natural that you may require technical support from the CMS team in case you have any questions or if you encounter a bug. And it becomes especially important when you encounter something that breaks your website but you don’t exactly understand what.
Many world-renowned CMS tools have a great support system so this is generally not a thing to worry about. But do make sure you consider this point while choosing your preferred CMS tool.
CMS are generally free to use. However, some may charge you per month. Also, there’s the cost of hosting, domain, premium themes or plugins. These small costs can add up to a large number. Hence, it’s important to keep track of these costs and make sure it does not exceed your budget.
That being said, the WPBeginner has compiled the 15 Best and Most Popular CMS Platforms in 2022. We highly recommend starting your search from here to see which CMS tool may prove the best for your designs and website goals.
Responsiveness of your Designs
Designs shouldn’t only look pretty but they should work well on all sorts of devices. In 2022, we have a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. A website that loads normally on a desktop screen may not load the same on a smartphone screen. To eliminate this problem, your website should be responsive.
Responsive design is something that morphs and adjusts itself according to screen sizes without breaking the functionality or website performance. This magic requires HTML and CSS coding to make it work.
Usually, modern CMS tools are responsive-compatible. However, some components may or may not support the same. In some cases, you may have to hire a specialist to do this job for you.
Is this important though?
Very! Having a responsive design is very important. More and more people in South Africa and all over the world have been accessing the internet through smartphones and tablets rather than computers. If your website does not function properly on compact websites, your traffic will drop significantly.
We highly recommend you hire a professional for this task, like Digital Lime Green. Our expertise can surely help you and your website go responsive in no time.
SEO and Web Designs
While Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) does not share a direct connection with web design, it is important to understand the co-relation. A website’s design should be lightweight and load quickly. Did you know that the average attention span of a customer visiting your website is roughly 3 seconds? If your website fails to load within the first 3 seconds, high chance they will drop out of your website.
Furthermore, a website’s loading speed does affect the website’s overall ranking as well. It’s called Pagespeed. You simply have to put your website’s URL and it will show you some statistics; looks something like this:
The higher the number, the better performing your website. While designing your website, you should aim for the highest number possible. Do note that these numbers are not completely accurate, and it is not always possible to get into the green zone. But do use these as a reference as they are helpful.
To sum it up, having a lighter design will improve your website’s performance, which helps SEO work better.
Web design is indeed an interesting topic and one of the most prominent skills in 2022. On the ending note, we would love to say, “What you really require for creating and designing a website is Creativity!” Creativity and Intuitiveness are the most prominent web designing requirements, never forget that!
With millions of businesses emerging, the demand for getting website design is also on the rise; and so is the competition. In this article, we have touched nothing but the tip of the iceberg, really. Although hopefully, the information presented here may prove useful to you!
If you are looking for a website designer in South Africa, we—Digital Lime Green—can help you in this matter. We provide high-quality and functional website designs that are also SEO optimised and responsive for all sorts of devices. Please check our website design service page or feel free to give us a call today!