Feb 9, 2009 by Marissa Berger
At MB/I we present our clients with two different home page designs to start with. The idea is that one of them will be picked, and after 1-2 rounds of revisions on the chosen concept, we will have an approved design and be able to move forward.
The key to evaluating a new design properly is to look at it from the user’s perspective. The website is not for the CEO or the Marketing Director. It’s for the user. When evaluating a new design, consider the following:
1. Does it look like what your users think it should look?
Users will have expectations based on the industry you belong to and the type of products or services you provide. Does the design match those expectations? An online store needs to look like a store, not an educational site. A CPA’s site needs to look professional and even corporate, not like a cool video game site.
2. Is what you do/offer clear?
Are your logo, tag line, and description clear and concise? Can the user tell what you do at a quick glance… or is this information getting buried by graphics and animations? Or do you have to scroll down the page to get it? Or do you have to read too many words to understand it?
3. Is it easy to find focus?
Good design communicates hierarchy. A user should be able to focus and not feel lost. Who you are, what you do, what can be found on the site (i.e. navigation), and your main call to action should be clear and engaging.
4. Is it consistent?
Is the design consistent with your current identity and marketing materials? You don’t want users doubting they are visiting the wrong site because its look does not match the business card you gave them or the brochure they have at home. If the website is the first marketing material you are developing, are you comfortable with carrying that look from now on?
5. Is it practical?
Websites are all about content. After all, users visit them to get information, not to check out new design trends (unless they are designers!). If you like the design, but you see no room for the rotating news and events you need to display, or the portfolio samples you need to show, or the login access you need to ask for, it is not a good design. A good design will incorporate both the visual and the content needs of your website.
Evaluating a proposed web design is critical. Even if your web developer uses CSS to code the site (the latest in coding), it will cost you time and money to go back and change the design after you have approved it. Make sure you approve more than pretty pictures.