This part of the process is about designing the site so that navigation feels effortless. There are two common components to this approach. The first is user interface design (UI). The second is user experience design (UX). UI is the bike seat, suspension, shifter and handlebars. UX is the feeling you get when you, to borrow a Central Oregon colloquialism, slay some trail. Largely this process is conceptual and shapes decision making in the wireframing phase but shapes the site throughout development. For those of you interesting in getting The Full Monty, read The Psychologist’s View of UX Design.
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make the language it forms most appealing to recognition and learning. It attracts and holds the audience’s attention to make reading your website more enjoyable. Using the right type to present the right ideas and information can really make content pop. Typography is put to good use on popular magazine covers like Vogue and Cosmopolitan. The information on the front covers are meticulously arranged to attract attention and allow the eye to flow between ideas. The editors know that not every article will attract every reader so they lay out the cover to lead the viewer to find the information that most interests them. For a typographer, website design is a similar challenge.
We love eye candy, and Photoshop and Illustrator are like Candyland. Selecting the right photography, illustrations and other visual fare can have dramatic effect on a viewer. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. What needs to be conveyed? How should the viewer feel when they get a glimpse of the imagery? At the core of any design is purpose. The allure and polish is secondary to communicating with the viewer. Our design projects are driven by this concept. We scout stock photography websites. If we can’t find what we’re looking for, we direct photography and compose shots. We hire artists, establish style and craft the product to measure up.
Writing for the web is not dissimilar from writing a novel. Poorly written copy does not generate engagement. After reading drivel in print or on the web, no one is going to comment about it, tell their friends, call in, “like” the page on Facebook or otherwise show any interest. Now more than ever, search engines like Google and Bing are picking up on all the cues that help determine what is good content worth promoting and what is going to drift into anonymity. Much like every other aspect of web design, developing a proper site outline and writing good content is dependent on understanding the needs of customers. When we write to inform and entertain, we see positive results.