Typically, web design and development can be split into 3 levels:
- Interactive design such as navigation support, engaging homepage layout, templates, search, etc.
- Content design such as the actual writing on the pages, as well as the design of any other media types used to communicate content like images, infographics etc.
- Website management
The last one of the list is the most important of all three. Here are some tips for managing the design of a website.
Highlight Benefits of Working with You
Find out ways to show value your company offers in its services. Give users benefits from spending time on the website. Entice them to do business with you, and their money will follow.
Homepage Should Not Be About Us Page
Many websites build home pages full of mission statements, photos of the CEO, and corporate history. Remember that your company is not the center of the universe for your customers. A website should be designed with visitors needs in mind.Please do not promote grandiose ideas of self-importance.
Letting the Site Structure Mirror Your Organization Structure
Users do not normally care how your company is organized, so they do not need to deduce your organizational structure from the structure of your website. True that it is much easier to give out responsibility for the site to divisions and departments according to already established chains of command and budget categories. However, doing so results in an internally centered site rather than a customer focused site.
Outsourcing to a Professional Website Manager
Users get very annoyed when they move between pages on a site and find drastically varying designs. Consistency is the key to usable interactive design. When all interface elements look and function the same, users feel more confident using the site because they can transfer their learning from one subsite to the next rather than have to learn everything over again for each new page.
The best way to ensure consistency is to have one professional website manager be responsible for the design and maintenance of the entire site. If this cannot be done, at least have a central group that oversees all design work and that is chartered to enforce a single style-guide.
Budget for the Maintenance
As a general rule, the yearly maintenance funds for a website should be 50 percent of initial development cost at a minimum. Obviously, ongoing costs are even higher for news sites and other projects that depend on daily or real-time updates.
The Web technologies and trends currently change so rapidly that a major redesign is needed at least once per year to accommodate changing your (user) expectations. Additional maintenance is needed throughout the year to bring fresh content online, reorganize and revise old pages.
Let the Web Be the Primary Medium
Have your staff develop the content for the Web first. Then, if you still have a need for printed material, transfer the text and images to a desktop publishing application and massage it into a form that is suited for print. Of course, your print materials will suffer from this procedure, so if you want great Web content and great brochures, you will need to have a professional graphic designer to create materials for print and a web designer to create material for the web.
The Web has been hyped to such an extent that people often overestimate what the Internet can do the next year. The Fact is most websites are not going to turn a profit anytime soon. It will need years of hard work to turn a website into a profit machine. Please don’t underestimate what will happen once we achieve the goal of everyone, everywhere; connected to the Internet. The impact of network systems will grow by at least the square of the number of connections, and the exact value of the Web will be only be seen after broad business process engineering.