How to Craft Truly Beautiful Websites that Appeal, Engage and Convert?

This is the question on the lips of every website designer. How do you create sites that are appreciated by clients and end users alike for their visual appeal, functionality and an innate ability to provide all round value?

For designers, it’s important to think of themselves as craftsmen. They need to use their skill sets to leverage the full potential of the resources at their disposal to bring forth beautiful designs. This they need to do by focusing on a specific vision and executing this vision with conviction in their own designing abilities and knowledge.

At its heart, website designing is essentially a process of evolution; a process that takes the website through various necessary stages till the time it finally takes shape in all its glory. As a designer, you need to make sure that you  take the website through these stages, in order to create an online presence that is exclusive, viable and demand oriented.

Here is what you should do to custom design a website that won’t’ just attract visitors, but engage their attention and achieve a high conversion ratio.

The Importance of Starting from Scratch

If you want to give shape to a bespoke web designing solution, you need to begin at the very beginning, that is right from the ground up. In order to design a unique a website, you shouldn’t make things easy for yourself. Some designers, when tasked with the designing of a website, choose to improve upon or give a twist to existing websites. They don’t challenge themselves to think with a clean slate. They depend on existing creations for original ideation. This is a criminal error. A designer should never build his website on existing thought, ideas or concept. This won’t translate into a unique website.

What this also means is that they are not committed to the concept of designing, as a whole. Unique designs are the product of unfettered imagination, a clearly defined purpose and clarity of thought.

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A design is nothing if it isn’t purpose oriented. Whatever the thought process that you choose to put into action, it must be backed by purpose. So, instead of taking the help of existing websites, begin by identifying a purpose, and then weaving a website concept around it. Only then can a unique website design be created.

Custom Everything

Yes, if you want a beautiful website, there are no shortcuts, do don’t look for any. Don’t try and bulldoze a shortcut just because you think it’s a good idea. One such shortcut is the use of stock icons and graphics on websites. I am sure you must have come across certain stock images time and time again on various websites and  I am also sure this must not have created a good impression on you; so why would you want to use the same strategy in your website design. The key to creating an absolutely amazing website is customizing everything right from your icons to graphics and everything in between. Leave no scope open for criticisms.

If you want to say something, then say it in a way that nobody else saying; this will help create more of an impact.

Image Brainstorming

Allow me to illustrate this with a very small example. You want to design a website that sells branded shirts from the best designers. But, instead of using images of your own products, you go ahead and use images that can be seen in every second website. This is just one of the reasons why an important  part of website designing involves choosing relevant images. Relevance in this case means unique images especially, those that are perfectly suited to the purpose of your website and its target audience.

For e.g. women love images that have emotive appeal, while a teenage audience appreciates images that are fun…. So on and so forth.

Give Some Thought To your Scroll

One of the most ignored aspects of website design is the scroll. In your travels across various websites, you must have faced a situation wherein, you just didn’t want to scroll down the whole page. This is not an uncommon occurrence as page lengths are getting longer.

More and more designers are realizing the importance of longer pages, as they not only allow the integration of more expressive design elements but limit obstructions with respect to scrolling. But, how do you ensure that a website user will scroll through the entire page; this is where your creative juices need to flow big time. You must create a design that makes the visitor want to explore the entire page. One of the tricks that that designers use is that they divide a particular page with the use of radically different design styles, but all joined together with a common theme.  Each part of the page, builds up interest for the ensuing part.

Scrolling is all about generating enough interest to the user, so much so that he/she scrolls down through the length of the page. This way the age old concern of the designers of ‘content falling below the fold’ is also thrown out of the window.

Focus on Interactivity and Functionality

In all the discussion centering around web design and its various elements, we forget that designing success is only achieved based on two parameters – Interactivity and Functionality. In fact, focus on the two will automatically help you improve your design footprint. There are plenty of ways and means that you can achieve high levels of interactivity and functionality for your website.

Think about all those ways in which your website visitor will be able to interact with the design. Think in terms of how you will ensure that a particular website user will proactively use your website. The use of rollover effects, pop-up dialog bubbles, animations, links, color highlights and shifting page elements are just some of the many ways that can help you make your website more interactive.

At the same time, you must also keep an eye out for the website’s functionality. Make sure that your website’s  visitors are able to optimize their use of the site. Don’t overthink the functional attributes of your website. This will only lead to clutter and confusion. So adopt the ‘KISS’ policy to make your website meet the highest standards of  functionality – Keep it Simple Stupid.

Neat Little Package

Great design is a coming together of vision, precision, perfection, a great layout, unique graphics, engaging design elements, the skill sets of the designers, and a whole lot more. Each and every aspect of website designing must come together in a neat little package; this is what a memorable design is all about.  Detailing and continuous refinement will help you bring all the disparate designing aspects together.

Another important thing to note is that you must not be scared of bringing these elements together, because if you have any doubts in your mind, you won’t be able to ensure that these aspects work in unison to propagate a particular message. If, as a designer, you are not sure about what you want to offer your website visitors, don’t expect any miracles. Your average website visitor is an intelligent person, who can separate the wheat from the chaff and can immediately identify the confusion prevalent on a website.

So, the ground rule of designing a truly brilliant website that can attract visitors, engage them and convert them into paying customers is to be confident about what you are doing, and making sure that the website has been designed to perfection.

Hazel Raoult is working with PLAVEB, a world leader in website development that also offers mobile design and development services. Her innate love for website designing allows her to get a deeper perspective about its various aspects. She loves sharing this knowledge with others of her ilk and anybody interested, through her write ups on various blogs. You can Follow @PLAVEB on twitter and like PLAVEB on Facebook.

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2 Comments
  1. Lori Jul 26, 3:31 pm

    Creativity and innovation is wonderful but I would like to suggest that the clean slate is overrated. We have all scoured the web to get a better idea of what can be done and then built on that. It is 2012. Although Web design is a relatively new field, in contrast to cave paintings for example, even cave paintings had a culture and common language.

    The word “craftsmen” is also outdated.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading about your process and it contains some pointers.

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  2. Eric Mobley Aug 8, 2:50 am

    I like the clean slate approach especially if you your previous clients paid for a custom web design. I think it is unethical to charge someone for a custom web design and then turn around and use that design as a template for future designs. I’m okay with reusing elements but the client who pays for a custom web design should never see a replica on the web with a different logo and color scheme slapped on there.

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