When it comes to a critique, there are many important factors to consider as a business owner. The initial design mockup that you receive may not always be exactly what you had in mind, or the way you would have designed it yourself. The question is, where do we go from here?
Behind the Design
Often, there are specific reasons behind almost every element of a design that comes from an agency with years of experience on the web. Color, font style and size, geometric shapes, borders, and graphic elements call all be determining factors in the way your site communicates to your consumer target, and may ultimately determine the success of your business online. The goal of any great agency is to put our clients first by putting their clients first.
By focusing on our skills in visual communication and psychology we develop a “language” so to speak, that communicates a message to our client’s target audience. For example, by using certain colors, fonts, and shapes on the site, we’re able to tap into a demographic and make their experience on the site more pleasurable. This hopefully leads to an increase in sales on your part, provided the site is well maintained and the communication remains consistent.
How to Critique
In order to make this communication successful, the process requires trust, patience, and an open mind just as any other critique. For example, when a client first receives our initial design for a website’s homepage, we ask that they put themselves in the user’s shoes, versus the shoes of the designers. This means that they ignore the natural urge to focus on specific elements (color, fonts, sizes, etc), but rather on the overall function and flow of the design.
Things to be considered:
• Are all the links in the main navigation (menu) necessary? Should there be more or less?
• Is the main purpose of the site being achieved? Is the user able to benefit from the content itself?
• Ease of use. Is everything easy to find and understandable, or is there too much thinking involved?
Things to Avoid being caught up on:
• Personal opinion on colors and fonts
• Focusing on the competitor or trying to emulate their approach
• Opinions of friends and family on the design itself, rather than ease of use and content.
The reason behind putting yourself in the user’s shoes versus the shoes of the designers is that ultimately, the users will be the ones visiting your site. How often will you, your nephew, grandfather or wife be visiting the website as opposed to your consumers? It’s more likely that the site will be successful if the design agency is able to direct the design and you are able to make sure the content is available to your consumer. After all, nobody knows your product or service like you do, and nobody knows how to visually attract the target audience (consumer) to your product or service on the web like we do!
A Quick Analogy
There are many analogies that can be applied to web design. Take a presidential speech at the United Nations for example. The President’s speech is written in English, which for us, is easy to understand. For others, the speech is only as good as the translator behind it. If the translator wasn’t a professional at communicating to his or her audience, there may be difficulty when trying to understand the message, causing frustration and loss of interest. But with the right translator, the message reaches the audience in a way that helps them to appreciate the concept and be part of the experience.
This can be directly applied to the design process. You are the writer of the speech and we are the translator. We need your content and information about your business. You need our knowledge and expertise to properly communicate your content to your audience. By playing our positions and working together we’re able to create a website that will hit your target audience and encourage an increase in your sales on the web!