We live in a world filled with design – everywhere we look we see objects that have been designed. We might think of only the big labels – the Chanels and the Diors – when we think of design, but in fact everything, from your mouse mat to your cat basket, has been designed. But it is not just tangible objects whose appeal and functionality is defined, for better or worse, by their design. As the internet grows infinitesimally every day, the design of websites and online media, a.k.a ‘web design’ becomes a more and more important field.

Web design was once the preserve of a particular field of study known as graphic design. There has been a rapid and consistent increase in the demand for distinctive and high quality web based visual design, and consequently, web design has emerged as a significant and distinct branch of its own. While the aesthetic appeal of web sites is, as you would expect, of utmost importance in the field of web design, web design also involves the creation and maintenance of websites. Indeed web design is a very modern marriage of technological expertise and artistic flair.

Web design thus is a general term that is used to refer the diverse range of tasks involved in the process of website creation. In a more specific form, it involves the creation of front side of the webpage. There are two elementary visible features to any webpage that is on the internet. The first is the visual front page which is presented to users for communication and engagement purposes. There is also the back end that has information that is not designed for users but is for technicians. Focusing on the front side, web design involves choosing layout, colour scheme, page outline, fonts, images, and any other bespoke features tailored to the individual’s requirements.

Web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) generally go hand in hand and it is important that an SEO campaign is considered when the design or the redesign of a website is undertaken. The center of attraction for most websites is usually on SEO and keyword rich content and the choice of a web designer must look into such factors. Without an SEO strategy, the website will be designed but will be a failure due to a lack of visibility.

Because web design is a process, all web designers have different approaches, although there are certain vital characteristics that must be applied in the process. These include the sitemap, the wireframes, the architecture and the content. These four are essential characteristics form the outline or basic template of any website. Website templates however are only the beginning of web design. Due to online competition it is essential that the design of your website is undertaken with the highest quality usability formats that are available. Determining what the user is looking for and where they are looking, and designing with those things in mind are key to successful web design. The website must be designed to be user friendly. Users should never be left guessing where they need to go to find information that is available on your website.

David Hamer is an expert in web design and provides advice to businesses and individuals on all aspects of the web design process. David recommends that anyone interested in making a website consult a professional website design service to ensure the perfect balance of aesthetics and functionality designed with your individual needs in mind.