Whether it be the design, number of areas, key features or functionality, every website we create is bespoke. The end-product is ultimately informed by the requirements briefed to us by our clients. There are however some common things to consider, to help future-proof your website, before finishing that all important web design brief.
1) Digital brand identity
Your business may well have a brand identity already. It may have a brand logo, colour palette, brand fonts and a considered style for on-brand imagery in place. However, the brand identity that has been the visual backbone of your organisation may need to be extended, sometimes redesigned, to work successfully across digital channels, for example:
- Depending on the format of your logo, it might need to be redesigned to fit landscape (desktop, laptop) proportions or portrait (mobile, tablet) devices
- Colours in print (CMYK or Pantone) appear differently on screens (RGB). So your brand colours may need to be reassessed for the digital environment
- Fonts (and the font foundries that make them), are often made for print-use only. If there is no web-friendly font equivalent, you might be forced to consider a new one
- While your brand might work successfully offline, the interactive cues that your brand uses - to guide an end-user around your website (via navigation menus, buttons, links, icons) - will also need to be designed as part of your digital brand identity
2) Content is king
Companies commit time, resources and (often enormous) budgets to reach the top of search engines like Google and Bing. They do this by employing a mix of digital marketing techniques such as SEO, adding keywords, creating written, social and video content and by continually monitoring end-user analytics.
While being top of Google is important for some organisations, it is less vital for others. In general, we recommend a common sense approach to creating the content for your website:
- Create content that is relevant to your customers or clients
- Make sure your content has a consistent and authentic tone, aligned to your brand and values as an organisation
- Create content that is visual, by supporting it with engaging imagery, graphics, video or animation, the web is after all, a visual medium
3) Build it to last
An engine to a car, is like code to a website. While the design of your website determines how it looks, its code will determine how it performs.
Before committing your website to code, it is worth sense-checking the languages (eg: Java, Python, Ruby, PHP) and frameworks the developer recommends, before beginning.
In much the same way we all have our own accents and ways of speaking, coders develop websites in their own way. Some like to hand-code. Some like to repurpose code. Others like to build on third party frameworks (such as WordPress and Magnolia-cms).
If your website requires design or coding updates - ultimately, this is inevitable - it is worth understanding if the code or frameworks being used are popular, have longevity and are not a passing fad. Unfortunately, some coding methods fade into the digital ether, along with their coders, never to be seen or heard from again. This can leave you with a website, that requires updating, with no one with the appropriate skill-set to help.
Much like taking your car for regular engine and oil checks, the continued performance of your website (across devices, in terms of speed, security, and its search-engine compatibility) should be managed via an ongoing support and maintenance arrangement. This is a far more streamlined (and less costly) exercise if your website has been coded well from its very foundations.