Every web designer has their own style but a good web designer knows that it’s our job to develop your website the way you want it to look and perform. This is a good thing for designers because it helps makes our job interesting! The features each individual client wants on their site can take us on some fun-filled adventures, (ohhh! Disneyland!) down some pretty winding, harrowing roads (think the old Jan and Dean’s Dead Man’s Curve!) or anywhere in between. It’s also a good thing for the client because they’ll get what they like and that’s what they’re paying their designer for.
When a potential client visits a designer’s webfolio they should get a feel for our style and that’s why we display our work. But what they see should also show them that we’re flexible. I’ve seen designers that use the same template for every site they do changing only the image at the top of the page and the color scheme of the site. This isn’t always a bad thing because re-using the same template for multiple websites allows the designer to charge less for their designs because they’re not having to create a new design for every client. It also makes for shorter development time provided the client is cooperative. There are also bazillions of pre-made web site template sites out there where you can buy a canned look for your site. There are some clients who aren’t real picky about how their sites look and although in my opinion this isn’t the best choice, they may find these options appealing.
From my point of view, looking like any number of other websites isn’t the most common-sensical way to do things.Where’s the individuality, the company branding, the YOU and YOUR BUSINESS key in doing things this way? A designer can develop a good website with a low budget which is quite different from developing a website “on the cheap.” I sometimes make use of pre-made themes, but I have never yet just plugged in a theme, added the content and launched a site. I always customize each theme to suit not only what the client wants, but because common sense and a desire to help my clients get ahead pushes me to give them an edge on their own style and individuality. A website that says “this is YOU!” helps them do this.
Common Sense DOESN’T HAVE TO = COMMON
The bottom line is how your website performs for your site visitors and that’s something a web designer should never lose sight of. Aside from the very basics, almost everything fancy or super-high-tech option that a web designer puts on your website will very possibly look and/or function differently in all the various browsers. Heck, some of this stuff doesn’t even work at all in some browsers! This means we should be careful what we put into it and where common sense web design plays a huge part in my design mind.
Did you know that the original purpose of the web was to share information with others? The Internet was born in the late 1960s so that U.S. Department of Defense researchers could share information amongst themselves and with other researchers. That’s it. That’s what started everything Internet. The information you put out there can and should be appealing to the eye but it doesn’t need gobs of glitz, it just simply has to be there. A simple but attractive site design can do that for you. There’s nothing wrong with an appealing design that pops but there’s a difference between eye-catching and over-the-top eye popping.
NOVELTY Websites vs. COMMON SENSE Websites
Think about it, you go to a web site that’s stuffed full of every high-tech gizmo you can put on a website. It moves, it jiggles like jello, flashes like neon lights and you find your eyes darting from one thing to another to another. It screams music that you may not only find deafening to your ears but you also may not find a button to TURN IT OFFFFFF! The content that you want your site visitors to read is lost in all the hype. I don’t know about you but I’m annoyed just thinking about websites like this and once I’m gone — I’m not likely to return.That’s not what I want to happen to my clients.
There is a reason all my clients have websites — they have a product or a service that they want people to know about whether they’re selling it or giving it away. Whether it’s strictly information or selling a product or service, they have something to share with people that they feel is important. Why would I want to lose that for them?
In some instances there is a good reason to have a website jump out at you and in those cases — by all means — let it jump! But the site content should justify its design which is where where a lot of people don’t think first, they just do it which may cost them a lot more than a high priced website in the end.
We all know that novelties tend to wear off. It can be a real hoot to visit websites that just don’t stop moving, have things pop up unexpectedly in your face, force your eyeballs to zoom here there and everywhere and just generally try to entertain you. These are great for kids, game sites and a few others but not for a down to earth business. But how many times do you honestly go back and visit these sites? You have work, research, buying and other get-down-to-brass-tacks things to do. Sometimes we all need a little diversion, which these sites give you but after a few visits — it just flat out gets old and your visitors will only put up with it for so long before they go find a site where they can easily find the information they need and get back to the real world more quickly.
My belief is that:
- You can accomplish a whole lot more when your website doesn’t somehow annoy people.
- Novelties wear off but common sense is always in style.
- A common sense built website costs less.
There’s a big something to be said for the old K.I.S.S. way of doing things and why I choose to build common sense websites.