5 Musts of an effective Web Design

Web design in San AntonioSan Antonio Web Design

I have written in the past about the 3 must ask website questions, but what are the 5 most important features of an effective web design? What must be considered before a website project begins and how do you implement those features into your website?

1. The Header: Here is an example of an effective header:

We designed this header for Hill Country Jellystone and as you can see it clearly “tells the story” about what you can expect at the campground. The header reflects family, fun, water, weather, the outdoors and, besides the park ranger (which was placed to show safety), everything in the picture as it is shown is exactly what you can expect from the campground. The well designed Header also shows the phone number and address for quick reference. For more examples of our Web Designs, click here: Web Design in San Antonio

2. The Navigation: This is probably the best example of the best use of navigation: www.jacci.com You will notice that when you mouse over her navigation it asks a question. This gives the feel that the client wants. That said, just because the feel is right doesn’t make it perfect. It, also, has to work and by that, I mean navigate. If a person had difficulty finding what they are looking for or if it isn’t easy, they will simply leave the website.

Here is a good example of a navigation we incorporated into the Web design with the header included:

Texas Press Clipping

Notice how the Navigation just “fits” into place. I love this website. You can check out the Texas Press Clipping Bureau here: Texas Press Clipping

3. The Layout (Architecture): We get this from potential clients, “I have this wonderful website idea. I want to incorporate a social media website into a coupon site and then merge it with the local nightlife scene.” After a brief budget discussion, the form of the website starts to evolve into what web developers call “The Project”. This is when the developer is putting the website together in his/her head to come up with the scope of the project, the plan and the estimate of how much time it will take to complete the project.

A client of ours needed over 80 websites to be built (or a system in place) and needed to have the websites built as needed and preferably (down the road) by non-web developers. We scheduled a meeting and determined that what this entity needed was a system for organizing people into teams and allowing those teams to communicate. Out of that we developed: Volunteer, Communication, Organization, Training (VCOTS). The point is that initially one can never be sure how they would like the flow of the website to be incorporated, but usually after a discussion or two, it will become clear and then the process can begin.

I prefer a web design layout that is easy to read with clear information. Most websites today use the “dashboard” look. I like it because it works and if you want more information you and always read more on the next page. Of course…it’s always up to what is best for “The Project.”

4. The Photographs: Use photographs that convey what you want to say and use them instead of or as a way complement your message. Here are some images from a photo rotator from a website we built for an Accounting Firm: Armstrong, Vaughan & Associates: Notice how the two photographs really tell you something about the firm. Photographs placed as the Header above the Navigation Bar really tell a story.

5. The Content. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Make it easy for people to find your information. Make it easy for them to contact you. Make it easy!

3 must ask Website Questions

Being a web design company located in San Antonio we get calls from prospects asking questions, but the most common question is: How much does a website cost? Or, how much does it cost to design a website?

“That’s a good question” I tell the prospect but a difficult question to answer. “I need to know more about your company before I can give you a price. Would it be ok if I asked you a few questions?

Here are the questions that you can be expected to get from a good web development company:

1. What is the goal of the website? Or, generally speaking: What are you trying to accomplish? This question needs to be answered as thoroughly as possible. Some possible answers could be: We want to generate more traffic to increase sales to our company. Or, we want to have an online presence to enhance our status in an attempt to increase our prices and bottom line. What ever the reason you have to be honest here. If now you could get a website that is counterproductive.

2. What specifically do you want the design to look like? A lot of of money can be wasted by not explaining this question properly. We have put together beautiful designs only to have them rejected due to just plain difference in taste. Web design companies are happy to help by redoing design, but usually you get charged more. Spend some time on this so we can help you get it right the first time.

Here is a website design example that Cartwheel Communications did for an advertisement that was used as a header: Web design header art

Notice how the water is falling into the logo. Well done by our artist.

3. What do you want the website to do? This is the most often overlooked and often most important piece of the website. Let’s take the Gorge website for example….When we first met with the administrator we discussed the goals and design. It seemed like a pretty simple project. She wanted to attract more customers and capture her share of the “internet” market. So I asked her, “Would you be interested in selling tickets for the tours on line? This could save you a ton of time in administrative cost. Also,it would allow your customers to shop anytime of day potentially increasing revenue.” She agreed that was a great idea and our conversation continued to the point where the website goals had changed to us building a fully functional shopping mall with a back-end user management system that allows her to manage all the tours, assign the guide for each particular tours and a lot more. The time savings alone was worth the investment and we built one of our most prized websites. She is getting more tours signed up with less effort.

Be sure to always answer these questions of your web development company. Also, be sure the company you are hiring ask you these questions….after-all it’s your money and your business and in the case of the Gorge…your time.

If you need a website in San Antonio you can find us at www.cartwheelcom.com