Oscar Wilde once said: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And this is true of a first date, a job interview and the web, too. Users have a vast choice of on-line services and information to choose from and little patience in making the right choice. They are looking for clear and efficient answers that are just a couple of clicks away.
Making a good first impression is fundamental in the immense digital ocean to keep visitors on your pages and guide them towards strategic information, services and products, or contact forms. And this requires an efficient editorial plan and high-impact web design that reflects the positioning of your brand. Design must elicit a user experience that is coherent from the visual, textual and navigational point of view, conceived both for mobile-first and accessibility.
In creating successful websites, portals, blogs and apps, user-centred design allows developers to identify with users and understand their habits, preferences and behaviours, as well as the stressful obstacles that could drive them to abandon a page or website. The aim is to place the user at the centre of the project and design a highly satisfactory user experience in terms of interface, fonts, and colours, one that will lead the user in the right direction. Similarly, the content structure and sections must also be clear and immediately recognisable. Users must understand what they need to do and where they want to go within seconds of landing on a page or website.
User-centred design is based on two pillars of development: UX (User eXperience) and UI (User Interface). A UX designer develops the structure of a website, whereas a UI designer provides it with its good looks. Neither design what they like, but what satisfies the client in terms of graphics, usability, accessibility, mobility and service.
Before development begins, we require an in-depth analysis of targets of their needs, interests and preferred services, through an analysis of competitors and best practices. This will allow development to be based on objective data and real information rather than personal intuitions.
Mobile-first and Responsive Design
Today, 80% of users browse the web on a mobile device. This means that in order to guarantee a successful user experience and achieve conversion objectives, the UX design must be responsive and mobile-friendly, automatically adapting to a range of different screens and guaranteeing that all information is perfectly visible and usable not only on desktops, but also on web-TVs, tablets and smartphones.
Moreover, development must be mobile-first. Priority must be given to mobile navigation. UX and UI development must start from smartphones and tablets, as that is what the majority of users will employ to access webpages.
In order to meet the requirement of responsive design and the mobile-first imperative, the recent trend has been to favour flat design over complex graphic solutions. Flat design is characterized by minimal graphic design: fewer and distinct colours and contours, no shadows, straight-forward fonts, simple shapes and a two-dimensional appearance.
Flat design simplifies development and is the best answer to the many different screens available on different devices. Moreover, keeping graphics simple means that web pages load more quickly, are easier to scale and appear clearer on high-definition screens.
Web Design at Cultur-e
At Cultur-e, we have been developing Internet portals and intranets since 2001. And we have done so respecting advanced web standards and digital trends, winning national and international awards. Our graphic projects are based on a careful and meticulous study of the client, reference targets and of national and international best practices. Development is centred around the best user experience for relevant targets. It must be mobile-first, guarantee maximum accessibility, and be easy to modify and update through a flexible, scalar architecture.
Following the initial data-driven analysis, we develop interaction design through a page wireframe (home page and internal pages) that delineates visual areas and content hierarchy. Then, we define the flow of navigation by studying the operation of the user interface (user experience) and subsequently develop proposals for the homepage and formats for service and content pages (user interface). Each page is developed to be responsive and optimised for smartphone, tablet, desktop and web-TV versions. The activity is completed by delivering the UX and accessibility data necessary to developing templates and interaction channels between the final user and the platform.
Once the graphic design is completed and the necessary web design, user experience and accessibility information are ready, we begin to coordinate technological development, create presentation content and publishing and testing procedures. We also manage websites on a daily basis – or train internal client staff – in terms of web content management, content marketing, social media management and social media marketing.