Your business has a story...
...so make it easy to read.
You are about to spend time, effort and money to launch your new website. Naturally you want it to look good, be slick, shiny, but most of all you want it to do the job you expect it to – to attract more customers to your business.
I have been designing and building websites since 1999. Believe me when we say I have tried a LOT of different things over that time, so I have come to a few conclusions....
1: Your website is a machine...
I have heard site visitors say "the website does not do this when I click", or "I can't find that", but have never heard them say "the website does not have this or that flashy feature"; that's what I hear clients say, but never their visitors!
Your website may only look like graphics and text on a screen, but it is a complex machine with lots of moving parts.
Like any machine though, the more complicated you make it, the harder it becomes to use. By increasing the complexity, the greater the chances are for it not play nicely with all the other contact points out there, such as browsers, devices... and even people!
When I design websites I like to keep things simple, making sure everything does what it should do first and foremost – to help your visitors find what they are looking for easily.
Big images, lots of messaging, multiple call to actions – saturate the visitor with endless options, colours and buttons.
You have seven seconds, less on mobile, to engage your first time visitor. Do you want to overwhelm them and risk loosing them, or lead them where you want them to go, with clear messaging and simple calls to action?
And let's not even talk about what Google's Core Vitals metrics thinks of any of the above.
With cross platform usability playing such a big part of webdesign today, I feel keeping things simple, clean and clear is the best way to not only engage your visitor but also maintain your business' brand across all platforms. This is why I apply the KIS principle to every design we do and move forward from there if, and when, needed.
3: Understanding limitations
That really fantastic site you saw, the one that had all those great features? Chances are it was custom built from the ground up and cost a lot of money to build, and costs even more to maintain.
I want you to have a wishlist that we can discuss, but I will also explain why some of the things on that list may not be realistic.
Understanding the framework I work with, how far it can be pushed and what its limitations are is a critical skill. While some out there will happily add fully custom elements to achieve a particular 'wishlist function', I have been the one that has had to clean it up when it no longer works with the latest release of WordPress.
I will always explore all the options when it comes to the features you'd like to have on your site, but in general I will not employ something I know will affect the long term sustainability of your website.
4: One framework = certainty
It is common practice for an agency to find a commercial framework to use as a starting point for a new client's website and alter it as needed. Then, for the next client, they use another framework altogether, with more alterations and so on. If something goes wrong, or stops working, you had better hope someone made extensive notes on how to fix it. If the work was done offshore, there is often little or no hope... things will need to be rebuilt and that costs money!
I use a single common framework for every site I build, a framework that is a mixture of core functions and site backbone. It's my starting point.
This strategy ensures I can effectively, service and maintain each and every site, knowing exactly what I am working with, with no surprises, or need to hope that someone took note of a particular quirk. Further, if I find something that can enhance an aspect of the framework, I roll it out to all sites, benefiting all our clients.
When I build sites they may all look different, but underneath the hood there's a single engine I know very well; meaning your site will always be running at peak performance.