4 Lesser Known Factors Designers Should Consider When Designing for the Web
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Competent web designers know that there are several factors that should be taken into account when designing. There’s the need for easy navigation, the suitability of the design for the intended audience, compatibility with different browsers, and mobile-friendliness to name a few. There are lesser known factors, though, that also need to be carefully taken into account.
AP Signature (Local Identity and Contact)
The NAP signature is easily one of the things designers tend not to be concerned about. NAP stands for name, address, and phone. It’s something many might be more familiar with in emails, but it can also be used on websites. For designers, it’s important to find the right place for the NAP signature on a website. It doesn’t have to be positioned imposingly, but it shouldn’t also be relegated to some area where nobody will notice it. The NAP signature also has to be consistent (the same name, address, and phone number) in all of the online presence (from website to blogs and social media accounts) of a company or organization. This consistency is necessary for a solid presence on local search queries.
In most cases, clients will already have an active provider for their web properties. And so, when working on an existing business, designers need to be mindful of the limitations and supported technologies of the current running web host. In some cases, it might even be necessary to migrate to a new host to make the design function as intended.
Nowadays, you can acquire an affordable web hosting setup quite easily. With the growth of online retailers, the last few years have seen increased recognition for the lucrative SMB sector amongst online tech solution providers, and you can get a fairly reliable small business web hosting package for as low as $2 a month.
Web design isn’t only about the aesthetic aspects of a website. It’s not only about the way a site looks, its intuitiveness, or its visual attractiveness either. The concept of ‘web design’ also covers the technical aspects of site architecture. If your setup cannot support your design – then you will soon have to address a nasty a bottleneck.
One good example for this case is the support for JSP, or the lack thereof. JSP allows you to create dynamic pages by integrating Java codes into HTML pages. In a case in which you have a client using a web host which doesn’t support Sun’s JSP technology – you’d have to be the one pushing for changes.
It is up to you to look for solutions which will enable the delivery of the promised design while accounting for possible technical limitations.
Legality of Images and Designs
Every experienced web designer already knows the need to use impactful and attractive images. However, not many may mind the legality of the images they use. It’s important to bear in mind the consequences of using images illegally or without the proper attribution. As much as possible, original images or graphics should be used. If using stock photos, it’s important to be sure that they are good enough or if they are manipulated or used to create a composite, it’s important to review the terms of the stock image provider to avoid problems.
On the other hand, there are times when a designer creates a design that is similar to an already existing design. When this happens, it’s easy to be accused of plagiarism and be discredited. That’s why it’s advisable to have all everything used for the design process properly and completely compiled, to be able to quickly provide a defense against plagiarism accusations. If a designer notices that their work resembles another that has been online for some time, it would be best to proceed with the revisions immediately. It’s difficult to assert originally against something that has been in existence on the web.
Search Engine Optimization
Considering how big an industry search engine optimization or SEO is, it’s not surprising for many to believe that it’s separate from web design. It is mostly considered as part of the marketing or promotions strategy of websites. SEO, though, overlaps with web design in a number of ways. It is not just about optimizing content and injecting keywords and links here and there. SEO has its web design aspects. As such, it helps for web designers to be aware of and be able to implement SEO strategies or techniques.
It would be inefficient for a website to be designed by one company or freelance designer and search engine optimized later on by another. As much as possible, SEO should already be taken into account during the design process. Search engine optimization does not have to be strictly made a part of the web design process, but it would be hugely advantageous doing SEO strategies in web design where they are applicable.
It’s worth noting that SEO is not some band aid solution that can be quickly and easily applied to a website that does not rank well in search engine results. Optimizing a website that does not integrate SEO techniques in its design is a difficult task.
The Insignificance of Praises and Awards
Nowadays, success for a website rarely equates to its looks or superficial impressiveness. It’s a rarity for people or businesses who pay for the creation of websites to aim for praises from regular visitors over how great-looking their sites are. Additionally, many of the award-winning web designs don’t rank well on search engines. Search for “web design awards” to find the lists of winners of different award-giving organizations, and test them if they do well in search engine results for the keywords they are primarily related to. Only a few of them, if there are any, will top the results.
The overall success of a website is more important than the praises from certain groups or impressed ordinary website visitors. No one can argue with success, and this success is best demonstrated by the high traffic a site attracts its fast page loading time, it’s mobile-friendliness, its responsiveness, high conversion rates, and it’s being free from bugs or malfunctions.
Consider these lesser known factors for designing websites. They may not be as important as a website’s need for responsiveness, user-friendliness, and appeal, but they can create a significant impact on a website. Again, web design is not just about the looks of a site and how it works. It encompasses other important aspects that shouldn’t be disregarded.