Are you proud of the websites you design?

As designers, we love designing interfaces that are beautiful, intuitive and exciting for the user. When a user comes to a site they should be able to use it without frustrations or doubts. The experience should be pleasing and simple. Our designs should always have the products goals and its user’s in mind. Each client/product is different and should be designed for specifically. We do research and follow a design process in order to design a site that is tailored for the client.

Examples of websites that follow a layout that is quite common.

A lot of websites are beginning to look very similar. Generally on a homepage you might notice a top primary nav, with a large hero image and three or two call to actions underneath. This might follow with some testimonials for good measure. The same formula is used again and again with slight tweaks. Are sites beginning to look similar because of the numerous themes that are available or is it because of lazy design with a lack of innovation? Or maybe there is a fear of designing something new that might not work?

What is good design?

Good design should consider the end user, it needs to be intuitive, innovative, aesthetically pleasing and useful. Website design should always have the requirements and needs of the product and user in mind. Check out Dieter Rams 10 principles for good design.

When I design I considered the goals of the site, who are the users and why they are using it. I always have the end user in mind, if the end user isn’t considered then the product you are designing will fail. I have a design process that I have developed and follow.

Design process

When designing for a client my process would include research (lots of research), competitor analysis, interviews, user tests, personas’ (know the end user), plenty of sketches, wireframes, concepts, prototypes, do some more user tests, edit concepts and then build. I would collaborate with my client and ensure that the stakeholder goals are being considered. By doing this I design sites that fulfill the stakeholder goals and the user’s needs.

Why are so many sites identical?

One reason that so many websites look similar is because of the use of themes. With a theme, there is no thought put into the product’s goals and the user’s needs.

Another consideration is that at times clients request a similar feature or layout to a site that they like. In this case, I would suggest that you as a designer should stick to your guns, accept that they may prefer a certain style but design a site based on research.

Some designers might find a formula that seems to work and tweak it for new customers. This a lazy and fast way to build websites. It also adds to the low-quality designs that are out there.

Example of layout that I am using for my site.

Be innovative.

To design sites that stand out from the crowd designers shouldn’t be afraid of trying something new. When I designed my site I considered my goals and who the end user would be. I cut down features and simplified my design. It still needs some work and I will continuously tweak it.

If you are designing a site I would suggest having the main requirements of the product in mind. Explore the principles of design, consider layout, colour and typography, and embrace being a designer! Engage the user. When you have a design that excels, test it and listen to feedback. From there you will have a site that you will be proud and confident in.

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