Taking the Guesswork Out of Design

by Daniel Ritzenthaler

23 Reader Comments

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  1. You are right that it is vital to have a strategy in place before designing a site. The best part about your article, though you didn’t elaborate on it much, was the idea of measuring success. We can’t allow success to be subjective when we can easily identify criteria we want to improve. If you want to generate 4 business leads a month from your site, that is something you can measure. The beauty of measurement is that is holds the clients honest. They shouldn’t ask for a site change just because “they don’t like the colors” if it is meeting their goals for the project. And it empowers the designer to know when their design is actually successful. Sometimes we design sites that we think are successful because they look nice, but they aren’t acheiving the goals the client asked for.
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  2. I want to add that when a client requests a certain design, element, or function; it may not guarantee actually leads. In other words, if a client wants to generate more lead by redesigning, there is no guarantee that it will work, and usually they blame the designer or developer for not generating that lead. I believe it is our job to tell them that risk.
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  3. Very good point Henry, I didn’t think to clarify that when I gave that example. Redesigning for the sake of redesigning isn’t really going to solve anything. Although, I do think that with the right information and clear goals a certain confidence in accomplishing them should be present. Enough to give a personal guarantee? Depends on your bravery and the scope of the goal. I don’t think the we’re (designers) going to get very far if we can’t give guarantees on our work… But yes, it should definitely be discussed and clients should know exactly what to expect.
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  4. Using a template with stunning website designs is one of the easiest ways to draw viewers. Here are some tips to select a template for your website. Select a high quality template that offers effective design at reasonable costs and make sure it is reusable. If your site includes graphics or animations on your web page, use Flash HTML template. This will help you display graphics or animation easily.
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  5. Thanks for this article. I know everyone’s process is different and there is no “one size fits all” solution, but these techniques look very beneficial. Doc Rivers (Celtics coach) recently said before a game that he wanted his players to be ‘aggressive within their limitations’ - a nice vague statement that I think is relevant to web design. Using your methods will be helpful in outlining those ‘limitations’ as well as keeping the client educated.
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  6. Thanks for this. While I find it a little bizarre that your process so closely resembles my own (right down to the archetypes and attention points), now I can send people here and say, “See! This guy does it, too. And he’s got an article on A List Apart so he clearly knows what he’s talking about.”
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  7. A very good insight on how to design a website.Like any other things designing a website also requires good planning. a successful website always has good planning behind it. Following certain kind of methods definitely helps in building a successful wesbite.Again a very good article.
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  8. great post!! very informative one especially in designing a web page. The guidelines provided are really essential in creating good webpage.
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  9. A couple of great points in that article. Keeping track of your leads is key. Great work.
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  10. as a beginning freelancer i greatly appreciate these insights.  this article will help me push through to another level in my design.  i have a lot of things to do!  and now i have a framework to help guide me.  all the best - patrick
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  11. I love the idea of taking the various personality traits…it’s like I can be the actor I wanted to be in 2nd grade! To design with a character in mind is very inspiring. Think of any company and apply the various personalities to them. It would change the look and feel of the site completely. Definitely need to try that. David
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  12. I think this is simplifying the creative process too much, but enjoyable article all the same “Elephant Books”:www.embooks.co.uk/p-55-elephant-books.aspx
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  13. This is a great article, a very good read, i design my clients website’s from scratch not using a template as i feel from scratch the website’s speed and usability is much more better then a cutter template the more seo optimized the website is the more traffic and sales the client will recieve,
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  14. Setting clear goals and objectives for a project is an oft stressed point. However, designers still fail to do it because they assign, like you said, very vague goals. This is as good as nothing. Unless you have a definite objectives and defined figures to attain, you cannot really steer your processes forward.
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  15. Good info you write here about Designing a web site it is useful to many web developer.
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  16. Hi, Certainly this an wonderful and helpful article ever. I was not aware of “Archetype” till now. Your article gave me a whole new and interesting perspective over Web designing now! Yes, it is very much important to have a strong strategical planning before building a website… Designing confidently is one among them! Thanks a lot for this wonderful post :)
    _____________________
    Lee Norman
    “Social Media Marketing”:http://www.infoyogis.com
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  17. Planning is clearly an essential part of designing a website. From experience, I found the planning process more important than the actual design. We spent a good 4 months planning the database structure, compiling important functions, checking competitor sites, finding scripts and designing custom code. Your website should also NEVER be limited by the knowledge of your designer. Learn CSS or PHP if you have to. It will be worth it. The last thing you want is to fork over a few thousand dollars and immediately realize that your website needs a phase 2, 3 and 4.
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  18. i like reading things like this you have some very good pointers well done
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  19. I really liked you’re idea about having clients fill in the blanks about what they want their site to accomplish.  As someone who is very familiar with websites and their role in business, I often forget that some people may not know exactly what they want their site to do for them (they just know they should have one).  By asking clients to fill in the blanks, I think it gives both the designer and the customer a better of idea of what the goal of the site is.  Great post!
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  20. Great article, Daniel, I’m glad I came across it. As a former agency project manager, I helped facilitate the development of many new websites and redesigns. The planning stage is truly the most important, but for us, it was the most difficult to get the client to understand. They just wanted a new website to get more traffic and they wanted it now. Part of our process was to have them define their goals more clearly. For some, they didn’t really know what they wanted, or they kept changing their minds, so the planning process in their minds took far too long. Having a resource like this to point clients to would have helped, I think. However, planning the design and functionality alone is one thing; it is the PM’s job to get to the underlying goals that the client wants to achieve before this planning can begin - which is very hard to do on small budgets. Too many times have we planned a site based on a client’s perceived goals only to build it and realize that it did not fit what was truly needed. This is something that wasn’t taught in business school, unfortunately. Andrea
    ProtoShare.com
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  21. I must say, I’ve had much of these sorts of ideas in the back of my head for years, but have never really been able to put them on paper.  Particularly the points system, I really like how you are able to talk about abstract concepts that only experienced developers can really ‘grok’, but do so in a way that anyone can understand.  Props for the article!
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  22. Great article, very informative. I can’t wait to put some of these tips to good use. Thanks!
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  23. Thank you for your insight. I think the amount of planning that goes into a website is often underestimated. Get a solid plan behind you and you have won half the battle.
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