Web Design and Development Series – Phase 2: Design

A creative designer designing a website

This article is the second of a four-part series focusing on the web design and development process.

After the discovery phase sets the foundation of what needs to be done, attention is shifted to the website design phase. By now, the website design agency understands what you want in the complete product, from color codes to integrations and functionalities. In this stage, their work is to consolidate the findings and then develop a layout, which can be represented as a sketch or a graph. It requires a lot of creativity and expertise from their side to bring forth an overview that will not require too many revisions. You should keep your brand’s identity and business needs in mind when approving new designs. A thorough look-through can help you discern if there are areas that can align with your business more efficiently. Here is an overview of the design phase, what to expect, and how to make sure it runs smoothly. 

Understanding the Design Process

The primary goal of the design process is to present the brand as a concrete and unique idea. When designing, the developers will pay attention to color schemes, logos, business integrations, and other special features. In this phase, the website design agency also organizes all of the functionalities discussed in the discovery phase to achieve the website’s goals. 

There is a bit of limitation as to what creative builders should do if the business is already a household name, but in the case of a start-up, it is good to give developers the freedom to update sections as they see necessary, as long as they remain communicative and discuss future changes with you. 

During the design process, a critical area that should be treated with weight is designing the responsive design. Why so? About 65% of users will use their phone when they want to buy online, so you should focus on creating a mobile-friendly website. This means clearly defining the best technology, in addition to attributes such as fonts, and simplifying the overall design without reducing the effectiveness of the site’s functionalities. 

The primary purpose of the website design phase is to let you, the client, see what your product will look like from a potential customer’s perspective. It is important to make suggestions, and corrections when applicable until you and your team are satisfied with the layout from the website design agency.

Gateway to the Actual Coding

After planning for all functionalities, platforms, and frameworks, it is now time to transform your data into a working website. Developers begin coding the website’s pages, such as the homepage and subpages. You can find a detailed list of a website’s pages on the site map. Keep in mind that user experience is key. Users want a modern, easy, and responsive website to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, this means that users often overlook the behind-the-scenes efforts that produce a quality website. For that reason, the website design agency’s developers will need to allocate time to create a product that meets users’ needs and test it during the next phase. 

What to Expect in This Phase

A graphic design sketch of a website

After the developers finish designing your website based on your input, they will set up a meeting with you and your team to present their current developments. In the meeting, they will further explain why they chose a specific design, and share details regarding page attributes and layout choice. Developers will also discuss if any changes had to be made to a specific feature, including changes that weren’t addressed in the initial discussion.

Design accounts for about 75% of your site’s credibility. As such, you and your team must prepare adequately for the design phase. A website design agency will expect you to provide extensive feedback so they can make improvements in line with your preferences. They will also advise you in situations where you don’t particularly agree with certain design elements that can help you meet your business goals. Make sure to voice your feedback and concerns during discussions with a website design agency.

The idea is to repeat this cycle as many times as it takes to reach your absolute satisfaction. 

How to Ensure a Smooth Design Process

The website design phase is critical as it will determine the visual and technical look of your website. As such, there are things you can do to facilitate its seamless completion:

  1. Efficient communication: Talks between you and the website design agency should be as open and frequent as possible. Any form of miscommunication could end up causing a misunderstanding that will only make things more difficult later on. Encourage your team to make suggestions when they feel things are not in order. 
  1. Thoroughly go through the layout, here are a few key areas to focus on:
  • The functionality of a forum, chatbot, registration page, booking page, theme change, search system, etc.
  • Brand identity specifics such as colors and logos
  • Integrations, such as inventory tracking, that streamline specific business operations
  • The number of pages: If you are a small website, you may need as few as ten, but if you are a full-on commerce store, you may need as many as 100 to house products, blogs, and more. 
  • Technology used to achieve each of the elements. The website design agency must leverage the newest technologies to bring out a modern website. 
  1. Visit the particular elements of design: These are especially important when it comes to improving aesthetics. Remember that 66% of users prefer to continue viewing a page that has great aesthetics. Here are some questions you should keep in mind:
  • Will it have a highly aesthetic parallax effect that adds value to scrolling?
  • Will it have motion graphics?
  • Where will custom videos and images appear?
  • Will it have animations and product illustrations?

It would be beneficial to ask yourself these questions because your answers will define other aspects, including personalization and website speed, that go towards running a successful website. 

  1. Reconsider your timeline: After reviewing the design and discussing your thoughts with the agency, it is essential to review your budget and timeline to incorporate new ideas if need be. 

The website design phase is where the process gains momentum. It is the stage where the website design agency puts their creativity and skills to the test to show you how the end product will look like. From efficient communication and adequate preparation to absolute honesty, a lot goes into making the design phase a success. The developers will only proceed to code the website once you have given your approval to complete the design process. 

In the next part of our Web Design and Development Series, we’ll talk about how to ensure a smooth development process for you and your business.