A challenge faced by most business looking for a new website arises from confusing the role of Web Design with that of an artist.
Your web designer is combining aspects of visual design and feature functionality translated from a set of business and marketing requirements. In doing so it is important to understand that designers are not artists, yet at the same time some designer may very well be artists as well. The role of the designer however is primarily one of defining functionality.
Good Design is Understood while Good Art is Interpreted
Design serves a very distinct and different role to that of an artist. Whilst the latter is concerned with matters of form and expression, the role of the designer is about function. Their role is to solve problems responding to a need by way of a solution. Designers are looking at user experience rather than artistic output.
Of course, the final "design" will incorporate artistic input to create a sense of branding and appeal. When combined with the results of user experience we create the final design solution. This final solution will draw on the experience and skills of your designer incorporating best practices in design techniques to make the client's needs and deliver the best result.
It is common that this would be reviewed with the client to obtain a final approval incorporating feedback from the client. One issue that can lead to false expectations and even tension is when web designers are seen as artists and are asked by clients to create "a few different versions".
Your designer will spend considerable time gathering information, examining the client’s needs, looking at the user experience to be delivered and give consideration to the best solution before putting a proposed design before the client. They will more than likely have considered different styles the client may have a preference for as part of their information gathering. Any designer worth their weight will invested thoughtful work into the first proposal. Any additional ideas put forward will only be no more than designs of diminishing quality.
Of course this is not to say they get 100% right first time, however the overall design should be largely close to the best solution and the designer should work with the client to fine tune it as part of the final acceptance process.
Web Design is a Skill whilst Good Art is a Talent
This approach to design does require a degree of formality and a certain commitment by the client in considering what they really want. Custom designs take time and effort on the part of both parties. The clear the definition of requirements upfront, the better the solution will be. It will also take less time for your web designer to produce the final result sought by the client and thus keeping costs to a manageable level.
Remember, good design is not about being flashy or ornate, it is not about being eye-catching or loud. Good web design is the ability to create a strong and consistently branded web solution that puts the user experience first. The site must deliver on functionality, it must provide users with a simple and clear understanding of what the site is about and how to use. A good web site resolves a business’ problem by way of a functional design.
Written by: Greg Tomkins