Web Design & Development: What it is and Why Does Your Business Need it - OLD | Plenty of Pixels

Web Design & Development: What it is and Why Does Your Business Need it – OLD

By Mark Stathatos on 06 Oct 2020 No Comments

Web Design & Development: What it is and Why Does Your Business Need it

By Marks Stathatos on 06 Oct 2020 No Comments

Web design & development refers to the two processes that bring a website to life. Keep reading to find out more.

Are you interested in increasing your sales?

Do you want more customers?

Do you want to be one step ahead of the competition?

Keiran Lee Reaction GIF

We’ll show you how.

Your business needs a website today. Period.

Table of contents:
Cool facts About Businesses in 2019
Web Design and Development: Is there a Difference? 
Web Design Elements
Types of Web Design
Which Web Design is Best for your Company?
Types of Websites 
What Makes a Good Website Design?
Final Words

Cool facts About Businesses in 2019

Take a look at these fascinating facts about businesses in 2019 to help you consider getting in the wagon towards a beautiful and functional website:

  • 84% of shoppers do online research before buying a product.
  • 70-80% will visit a company’s website before visiting the store or making a small purchase with them.
  • Over 36% of small businesses do not have a website.
  • 94% of those who do have websites are mobile-friendly.
  • 97% of consumers will look online for a local business or store.
  • More than 70% of small businesses are not investing in content marketing, missing out on an excellent opportunity to improve their online presence and increase their revenue.

When you think of web design, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the visual appearance of an Internet website. All the elements organized, concepts presented, and relevant content are all essential to web design.

But it doesn’t stop there.

There are also functional elements to a website that determine how things roll.

The cool looks are not all there is about a website, of course. You can have the prettiest and flashiest interface, but if it does not meet certain criteria that enable it to be functional and productive, you are close to nothing.

This is why we have included the term web design & development as one. These two concepts may be different but are intrinsically related.

Let’s take a further look at this.

Web Design & Development: Is There a Difference?

Yes, the concepts of web design and web development are different but intrinsically related. They work together to offer an intuitive and functional website.

These are the differences, in a nutshell:

Web Design

Web design refers to the aesthetic part of a website. Designers use Photoshop software to design the looks and visual structure.

Web Development

Web development refers to taking this web design and turning it into a functional website. Developers in this department use programming software to code instructions for the site to do what it needs to do. They are in charge of the functioning part of the site.

Plenty of Pixels is a creative agency that works both aspects of a website to deliver an aesthetically appealing visual along with a custom and functional frame.

So from this point on, we will treat the concept of web design & development as intimately related. Two in one, if you must.

In the following article, we will thoroughly describe what web design & development is all about and why your business needs it. We are pretty sure you will figure out that last one by yourself very quickly.

If we do not convince you at the end, then nothing will.

Let’s get started.

Web design elements

As mentioned earlier, a good website is a combination of look and functionality. How well these two work will influence the site’s performance.

You will learn later that performance is a crucial aspect to the success of your site and -as a result- of your business. Search engines and users will grin at a website that does not make visitors waste their time.

1. Visual Design

Several elements influence the visual design. Here’s a brief description of each one of them.

a. Layout

When building a house, you want to know how it will be split into different sections before planning where to put where. This is what layout is about.

There are no rules as to where to place what. However, some principles will affect how users perceive your site.

But here’s a thumb rule you can follow:

Rank the elements on your website based on the objectives of your business.

Having clear objectives and a plausible goal will help you prioritize.

b. Colors

File:BYR color wheel.svg - Wikimedia Commons

The colors you pick must align with your business’s purpose and must convey a positive message. There’s a lot of information on the psychology of color out there, but many of them are wrong.

The colors and combinations you choose do have a message within them. Have you ever noticed how major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter all use a blue hue?

  • Blue: trust, loyalty, stability, confidence
  • Red: strength, power, courage, energy
  • Purple: luxury, mystery, ambition, creativity
  • Pink: Sensitivity, friendship, care, hope
  • Orange: Fun, action, excitement
  • Yellow: Happiness, joy, optimism, cheerfulness
  • Black: Strength, style, elegance
  • Green: growth, safety, balance, harmony

c. Fonts

It is important to choose fonts that match the design. There are many apps out there that help pair designs with easy-to-read fonts.

d. Shapes

Graphical elements can help direct the attention of visitors. The perfect combination of colors and shapes is, albeit a challenge, a great plus in web design. More and more sites are using these elements in their designs.

e. Images

You can certainly convey a lot of information through one image alone. Powerful images and icons can do this if used correctly.

There are many stock photos out there that can help communicate with your audience.

f. Videos

There is no understating the power of videos as more web designers are using them in their work. Sometimes, you cannot express ideas entirely using only images or text.

An eye-catching video will help with that without distracting users or competing with your content.

2. Navigation

Navigation is a functional element and the one that determines if your site is working. Why is this important to your business? The concept is pretty straightforward.

Navigation will affect how high you rank and how much organic traffic you will get.

If a site is easy to use, this will affect how many of your users will convert into leads and customers.

These are some practical tips we abide by when optimizing the navigation experience:

  • Videos never auto-play
  • Forms are mobile-friendly
  • No pop-ups (especially those where the close (x) is white over a yellow background – ergo, invisible)
  • Clear and clickable menu tabs
  • No underlining text, unless it’s clickable

3. Content

Content is king, people keep saying all over the Internet. We do recognize that the type of content should go hand in hand in hand with the look of your site.

This is why here in our Plenty of Pixels creative agency, we have our designers working together with our content writers – to create a compelling website.

4. Interaction

We will learn later that users have a very short attention span. This is not to say they are lazy; it’s just that if they wanted to be educated in literacy, they would probably grab a book. This is why an effective website must engage its audience.

If a website manages to hold a visitor’s attention for enough time, there is a bigger chance to influence them and convert. It is vital to interact and not annoy, so we should find the point in which there is more benefit that interaction.

5. Mobile-friendly

In 2018, 81% of small businesses had a mobile-friendly site. By the end of 2020, that percentage will have increased to more than 94%.

Mobile-friendly does not only mean that your site should look good on a cellphone. It should be highly responsive, as well. More than 50% of mobile sites are abandoned if the loading time exceeds three seconds.

Since it is business we are talking about, for every second that it takes for a mobile site to load, there is a 12% decrease in conversion. This is because people are making decisions faster than before.

6. Loading time

There is nothing more frustrating than a slow website, except maybe a website that will not let you use it unless you sign up.

It doesn’t matter if your site is super fancy and pleasant; if it does not load fast, search engines will not rank it as you will have a bunch of frustrated visitors skedaddling.

Many times, site builders will usually compress content to maximize loading time. But there are more excellent ways to achieve this – we got it.

7. Conversion

Everything we have mentioned above boils down to this. If everything is put together into a beautifully designed website that is functional, customized, and mobile-friendly, your business will get all the benefits it provides.

Think of the following pointers:

  • Your website can become your greatest lead generator.
  • Emphasize bringing in new clients.
  • Make additional services for existing clients.
  • Increase awareness of all the services you offer.
  • Have users navigate your site in a fun and easy way.

Now you can see how important a website is to your business, and not only that, but how important is that you choose a web design & development team that is right there behind you.

So, choose wisely.

Types of Web Design

There are several types of website designs, but the best ones fall into either of these two: adaptive and responsive.

An adaptive website uses two or more versions that adapt to different screen sizes. This means that the server knows what type of device the site is being accessed from and displays it accordingly.

A responsive site adapts to any size of screen through a combination of flexible grids. In other words, it is continually changing according to the size of the screen.

Fixed Design

A fixed design is one that will not change when the device or browser changes size. This makes them harder to view on a mobile device.

At some point, all the elements will fall apart when the smaller screen is resized.

Liquid or Fluid Design

When the site is resized, the elements will spread out to try to fill in the browser.

During design, the columns containing the content are built with percentages, unlike the fixed design where they are fixed.

Single Page Design

As the name indicates, these are websites consisting of one page alone. Not surprisingly, their use has been increasing. They have their pros and cons, and they usually serve a particular purpose.

The fact that they are still in use demonstrates that they are a good option for a society that sees how their attention span is decreasing.

When creating a single-page design, you must have a clear purpose for design, your content must fit in one single page, and the layout must be appropriate.

Typography Web Design

When we think of typography web design, we think of print too. They are similar, but typography requires us to consider legibility. If used properly, this type of arrangement can deliver an excellent experience for visitors before they even read a word.

Typography can tell the user what is the website about and who is behind it. It is like the tone of voice of your business.

Keep in mind that this type of design can increase loading time. But, to enhance the mobile experience, this can easily be solved by displaying topography according to the device’s resolution.

Minimalist Design

They say less is more. The idea of a minimalist approach is to focus on the essential by eliminating the non-essential.

This has the advantage of eliminating distractions and conveying the message that your business does not go around the bushes but gets straight to the point.

Users are tired of over-information and media being thrown at their faces here and there. A minimalist design can be a sight for sore eyes amidst all the chaos.

Illustrative Web Design

These involve the use of illustrations and drawings. Designers appreciate this type of design as it is versatile, and it can be used to deliver any message.

Creative agencies can take over the challenge of creating the most captivating cartoon characters and use them to present information. You can see how illustrative elements like icons and even GIFs have increased their popularity.

Which Web Design is Best for Your Company?

Picking the design that best fits your business is undoubtedly not an easy task. Sometimes, you will feel the pressure of going towards what is trending, but this is not always the best option.

When you are in the process of choosing a layout for your website, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish with my website?
  • Does this layout fit with my business? If you are a lawyer, for instance, you probably don’t want flashy animations or colorful designs.
  • Who are my customers, and how do I want them to interact with my site?
  • Will my customers find it easy to navigate through my site?
  • Do I really need too many elements for my brick-and-mortar business?
  • What is my gut telling me? We left the most important last.

If you are still in doubt, we believe that it is best to keep it simple. Just pick what you need. If three pages on a website will satisfy you and your clients, there is no reason to find a fifth leg of the cat.

Our set of questions during the sign-up process and what you answer will not only help us, but it will also help you elaborate on what it is you need. We will use this information to create a high-end design with all your specific requirements.

Types of Websites

  • There are around 2 billion websites.
  • Out of these, only 400 million are active.
  • Thousands of new websites will be created by the time you finish reading this article.

When you consider all that, it seems even more daunting to be sure of what will work for you. Not only website designers should know what the different types of websites are, but business owners too.

Conduct testing and study what competitors chose to get a clearer picture of what the perfect format for your business and your client base is.

There are several types of websites, but we will focus on those that will help revamp or leverage your business:

Homepages

This is the face of your brand.

It is the hub from where your users will go to the other parts of your site. Most people will come to you through your homepage, so this is where we invest most of our designing time.

But let’s not forget that it is not only about design. We should also remember that the purpose of the homepage is to offer a central navigation point to visitors.

Use the homepage to tell the story of your business through images and content.

Blog

It is now widespread for major brands to have a blog. These help your brand stay relevant and up-to-date. Besides this, they offer a platform for you to interact with your audience.

Perhaps you now think that social media does a lot of the interaction between you and your customers. But blog posts provide the material for those social media posts and can also be integrated into email campaigns.

You need a digital agency to take care of your blog posts. This will keep your content fresh and strategic. Remember that we take advantage of relevant keywords and user intent to create stunning pieces that will help drive traffic and conversion.

Like a fresh and crispy blog section can help with your SEO, an outdated one will be useless clutter that can hurt more than doing any good.

E-commerce

An e-commerce website is an online store where customers can come and buy products from your business.

What makes a good e-commerce website?:

  • It is easy to navigate
  • It has an obvious and smart search option
  • Products are filtered by categories
  • It highlights special offers
  • Sales happen every day

Platforms like Shopify and Squarespace offer a full solution for an e-commerce site. These services provide lovely templates that can quickly adapt to your business.

Landing Pages

A landing page is the type of page created for a specific marketing campaign. Its purpose is to drive users to perform a specific action.

The main focus of a landing page is to deliver a CTA (call-to-action). Since it is specific, you need to avoid unnecessary elements and allow enough space.

Social Media Websites

These refer to the pages found on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, which is where your clients are. You do not have much design control, but you can still make them your own.

You can control some of its looks, and the content you create can help drive media shares. Ultimately, the idea is to bring people to your website.

Make your look consistent across all social media platforms so that your leads and customers can quickly identify you. This is an excellent opportunity to share the dynamic type of content that generates share. We are talking about videos, memes, infographics, and free offers.

What Makes a Good Website Design?

Your website design should be user-centric since they are the ones who decide where to go and what to click. This is how we design profit-oriented successful websites.

It is easy to see then that the success of your website will depend more on ease of use and utility than on visual design.

Here at Plenty of Pixels, our websites do not revolve around visuals, but they do around your business and your customers. We first gather info about your business, and we branch out from there.

Let’s take a look at some principles to good web design and how to use them properly to create meaningful interactions.

Think the Way Users Think

Customer behavior on the web is not really that different from behavior at a store. People like to browse, scan, click on anything that even remotely resembles what they are looking for. Chances are they are going to miss most of your site.

Users coming to your site are usually looking for something specific. Once they find it, they’ll click on it. If it was not what they were looking for, there’ll just go to the back button and start again.

Users don’t read, they scan

Users will not read a long paragraph that will lead them to what they need. They will scan and look for key elements or anchors to guide them through the page they are in.

Visitors appreciate credibility

Remember “content is king?” It is more important than design. If a website offers quality content, they will stay for the design and advertisement.

Web visitors are impatient

If your site is not intuitive, users have no problem moving on to the next site. A fully functional website must be able to meet users’ expectations. If this does not happen, website designers have failed at their job.

Visitors want to have control

If a pop-up suddenly flashes before a user’s eyes and they don’t see any way of getting rid of it, they’ll just hit that big ugly X on the tab. When a user goes into a site, they want to have control over their browser.

If they go into a page, they want to smoothly go back to where they were through the back button. We do not recommend opening links in new browser windows for this reason.

Users Just Don’t Want to Think

During the creation of a website, we get rid of all the questions. Users don’t want to come and learn how to figure things out. Everything needs to be simple and straightforward.

If the navigation process is not intuitive enough, the user will start getting more questions than getting answers. It will become harder to understand the site and how to get from one point to the other.

Reducing the number of questions on how your site operates makes it easier for visitors to grasp the idea. If this does not happen and your visitors cannot get around easily, they will take off.

Focus User’s Attention

Use a moderate amount of visuals to focus user’s attention on where you want them to go. This process makes the navigation much more straightforward as it gives users a sense of direction.

Some aspects of a website will pull the eye more than others. For instance, if an ad flashes on a left corner, attention will immediately go there. This could be not very pleasant, but you can use it to your advantage.

For instance, if you offer a sweet discount, perhaps “discount” is the word you want to bring to people’s attention, so you use a larger font. Just don’t break the rule of pop-ups, which in essence is: don’t use them.

Don’t Test Users’ Patience

If you want users to test a service, don’t make it long and cumbersome. The fewer steps a user has to take, the more likely they’ll stay.

Users want to play around with your service before committing to anything. Don’t force them to sign up for stuff without them testing it. It doesn’t look good to ask for private information right from the get-go.

This practice will just make your visitors uncomfortable and off they’ll go.

Take Advantage of Effective Writing

Be effective at stating a message, and don’t try to deceive your users through a-hole design.

For instance, if you want users to sign up, just say “sign up” instead of “start now” or “begin your journey here.”

If you are selling something at a cool price, just straightforward say it. This will draw the visitor’s focus to where you want it. You don’t want to leave your users with more questions.

Think of your users’ habits and preferences. In general, people will ignore promotional content with flashy stuff. Long blocks of text with long sentences, no bold letters, or links, will not be read.

So, here are some thumb rules on how to write effectively:

  • use plain language – avoid technical terms, give your users plausible reasons why the need to use your service or buy your product
  • have users visually scan – use bullet points, heading levels (h2, h3, h4, etc.), categorize the content
  • phrases must be precise and concise – don’t hit around the bush and get to the point right away

Guide Users through Simple Features

Elements such as steps 1, 2, and 3 are pretty effective in design. Those simple guidelines can help direct visitors and provide an optimal experience.

What is important here is that the steps to an end are clearly labeled, easy to follow, and make the user comfortable.

Keep it Simple (KIS)

Always start with simple and stay simple. Website designers should always look for simplicity more than complexity.

The truth is that your visitors did not get there to enjoy the design or to awe at how cool your visual features are. They came for a specific type of information.

Just give visitors the 2 or 3 options you have for them without overcrowding with unnecessary content or visual distractors.

Test Early, Test Often

TETO is a universal concept that can also be applied to web design & development. This allows for issues to be taken care of before they wreak havoc on your company.

So, applying the TETO principle, test not too late and don’t test little. This will reduce the spread of errors and, ultimately, angry customers.

Most errors will occur during the design process and, if not tested early, will be very expensive to remove. This is why the process should be to test it, fix it, and then test it again.

So, go to your site and take a look at it from the perspective of a client and try to see if there are more questions than answers.

Final Words

If you are looking for a great site, as you have seen, there are only so many aspects to consider. The ultimate goal of a high-end website is to convert.

Your website is the front page of your company, its front gate. How well you make it perform will drastically affect the success of your business.

Selecting the best web design & development company ensures that your vision and mission are well displayed on your site. So, once again, choose wisely.