When someone mentions “good” web design, what comes to mind? Common answers likely would be creativity, aesthetics, and how easy a site is to use. While those are characteristics of good web design, what really makes a design good is understanding the people for whom you are designing. Web design is about solving problems for people. You could have the most engaging visual design, but if that design doesn’t serve a purpose or is frustrating to use, then all you’ve got is fancy decoration. Your website might be simple to use but devoid of substance, and then it won’t engage your users. Good web design is a process that combines many different disciplines into a cohesive whole. It requires collaboration and teamwork.
To be able to create well designed websites, you need to prioritize your site’s goals. If everything is shouting for users’ attention, they’ll be confused as to what to do or where to go on the site. Aesthetics are important, but good visuals come after you’ve created a website with purpose and function. You need to define your content and determine what is key to the people who will visit your website. You have to focus objectively on what most benefits the users of the site, setting personal opinions aside.
The web as we know it has been around for 25 years. Conventions and expectations have been established. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to be successful. Web standards have made web design accessible, and they exist for a reason. If your website has good content that appeals to the people it’s intended for, functional site navigation and architecture, good performance, and is accessible on the devices used most to view it, then you’re 95% of the way there. That last 5% is where the aesthetics come in. If your competition has their core bases covered then, yes, aesthetics can make a difference. However, it’s more than just choosing a certain shade of blue or a good use of your brand colors. Good design allows your content to breath and gives clear structural hierarchy on what has priority. If done well enough, it can even create the illusion of simplicity for something complex, like with Google Search. Content dictates the design, not vice versa.
When considering updating your website, first look at your content, not just the copy but also photos and videos. Is that content engaging your users and is it presented clearly? Is your website accessible on newer devices? Does your current website appeal to the people it was designed for? Ultimately, is it serving your business? Having answers to these questions will better prepare you to be able to understand choices required to make the best designs possible.