3 Simple Ingredients
Designing and building a Web site is much like designing and building a house or magazine. Or creating a delicious banana cream pie.
It's a process that has several phases. If you skip a phase or get them out of order, you may end up with a beautiful house built on shifting sand, a magazine no one will read, or no dessert.
Web design is both art and science. It's a wide open field with many players of varying skill level and experience. For people looking to hire a Web designer, it's often a minefield. One Web designer might have a degree in visual design, while another is a software developer — or your neighbor's cousin who's "pretty good with computers."
We want to make the Web design process easier to understand so you can make better choices.
For each project, we follow our signature recipe — 3C Web Design Process™.
Phase 1 - Clarity
Your Business + The Purpose of Your Web Site
First things first! Your site content (words, imagery, videos, calls to action, etc.) is created to reflect and support the goals of your site.
In this first phase, we ask lots of questions to get crystal-clear about your business and what you want to accomplish by having a Web site.
Here are some typical questions:
- What is the name of your business?
- What does the business do?
- What are your products and services?
- Who does your business serve?
- Who are your ideal clients/customers?
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- What are your unique selling points?
- Why do you want a Web site?
- What are the goals for your site?
- What are the most-wanted actions you want site visitors to take?
- How will you measure the effectiveness of your site?
- How does your Web site fit into your sales and marketing plans?
- Do you have a Web marketing plan? What is it?
Phase 2 - Content
The words + imagery + other assets that support your goals
Content is based on a strategy that is derived from Phase 1.
Everything that is content — the words, site navigation, images, forms, videos, audios, calls to action, etc. — is in service to the strategy. The writing style and tone reflect your business and site goals. Copy will entice, entertain, educate, inform, or persuade — all in service to the strategy.
Consider who will create the content. Throwing up copy and photos from the company brochure and calling it a day may or may not be effective. The cute video of your cat may or may not be effective. Saying "Sign up for my newsletter" without offering an incentive is not effective. A long wall of text is not effective.
If in doubt about your ability to provide content that supports your site goals, we recommend hiring Good Banana or another Web content development specialist (also known as Web copywriter, content strategist, content marketer) who is familiar with your field and can carry out the content strategy.
Phase 3 - Container
The visual representation + physical holder of your content
Designing the "container" for content is usually the most enjoyable phase. And it's the phase many people call Web design. All the words, imagery and other elements come to life in a graphical interface on the Web.
The graphical elements reflect, enhance, and support the content and your goals for the site.
The site header, navigation, layout, image size and placement, and other elements follow a visual hierarchy that reflects site goals and keeps with standard Web conventions.
As you can see, the visual design goes hand-in-hand with content. They combine together to support the goals for the site.
This phase may also include discussion about technology considerations, hosting, security, and site maintenance. Typical questions include:
- Do you want to be able to create or maintain site content yourself?
- Who will keep the WordPress software, theme and plugins updated?
- Who will make ongoing site backups? How often? Where will the backups be stored? Can the site be easily restored from a backup?
- Who is responsible for site restoration if the site gets hacked?
- Does the site need e-commerce capability?
...and many more questions, especially if it's an e-commerce site.
Following this 3-phase process is fundamental to designing and building an effective Web site. Make sure you know what you're getting when you hire a Web designer.
My website is a direct reflection of me and my work and I am proud of both. I owe this to Lana and her skill in bringing out the best in her clients, several whom I know personally. I have seen her do it again and again…she is masterful in assisting people whose work is not always easy to describe. By working with Lana, their artful business becomes a vibrant and successful business. —Merle McKinley, MCC
Good Banana Web Design creates delicious Web sites for small businesses, independent professionals and other assorted good bananas who are making the world a better place.
Get a taste of our 3C Web Design Process™ in a free 30-minute discovery call.