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Glossary term

Website design

Quick definition

Website design means planning, conceptualizing, and arranging content online.

Key takeaways

 

●      Website design, or web design, considers both visual aesthetics and functionality, and includes web pages, mobile apps, and user interfaces.

●      When you’re designing a new website, think about the site’s information architecture before deciding on any visual elements.

●      A screen design tool allows you to stitch the different parts of your site together.

●      Great website design is an expression of great strategy. If your strategy is well-defined, your website will help you meet your goals.


Josh Souter is an executive creative director at Adobe with over 16 years of experience in art direction and creative leadership. In his current role, Josh leads a talented team of UX, design, and copywriting professionals.

Q: What is website design?

A: Website design, or web design, means planning, conceptualizing, and arranging content online. Website design considers both visual aesthetics and functionality, and includes web pages, mobile apps, and user interfaces. There are two main areas to remember during the website design process: user experience (UX) design and art direction.

UX design is the visual and interactive expression of a website’s strategic and functional requirements. For example, the goal of your personal professional website is to encourage potential employers or clients to hire you. A business website is meant to move customers through the sales funnel. The goal of an ecommerce website is to help customers complete purchases. UX design works to make the user’s journey easy, pleasant, and clear no matter what the goal is.

Art direction adds branding and visual appeal to the user experience. Graphic designers and website designers work in tandem to make a website or landing page that matches a brand’s personality and tone — and entices the user to keep browsing.

Q: What is the difference between website design and website development?

A: A website has a front end and a back end. The back end is the code used to build the site. The front end is what the user actually sees. While web development focuses on the back end, web design focuses on the front end.

Building a website includes both web development and web design. Modern website designers may specialize in one area or the other, but there is often crossover between both.

Q: What types of tools and platforms do you need to design a website?

A: There are many tools and services that provide easy ways to create a beautiful website, but the first tool any web designer should use in the design process is their brain. When you’re designing a new website, it’s important to think about the site’s information architecture before deciding on any visual elements. Determine what types of content need to live on the website. Consider what journeys users will take — to your site, within your site, and from your site. To create a great user experience, web professionals must also consider where data is coming from, where it’s going, and how to express this data in the most effective and appealing way.

With the information architecture in place, you’ll need a screen design tool like Adobe XD. A screen design tool allows you to stitch the different parts of your site together. These parts could include sign-in pages, ecommerce flows, campaign landing pages, and customer support. Websites aren’t static experiences. A screen design tool helps web designers present ideas in a fluid way that mimics how users will experience the site when it is live. 

Q: What are some strategies for effective web design?

A: ●      Know your audience. Understand who visits your website and what devices they use to view it. If an organization already has user or customer data to share with their design agency, this information can inform the website design process. If the agency is creating a custom website design from scratch, an organization may have to make some assumptions about its audience and adapt the site as data comes in.

●      Understand your visitors’ goals. Consider why users come to your website. Maybe they are new customers trying to learn who you are as a brand and what you have to offer. They could be returning customers coming back to buy more products, find more inspiring content, or pursue additional education. Once you understand your visitors’ goals, you can design a web experience that accomplishes those goals in an easy, visually appealing way.

●      Map your content. First, take stock of what types of content you already have at your disposal, then strategize how to use it effectively on your site. Consider search engine optimization (SEO) and how your content links to and from your web pages. Discover the terms your audience is searching for — using these terms can make it easier for your customers to find what they need, creating additional opportunities for conversion.

●      Remember accessibility. As you design your website’s front end and back end, consider what elements might be challenging for people with disabilities, and add features to accommodate them.

●      Be comfortable with your content management system (CMS). If you are creating content at scale, you need a way for many different people to push that content to your web pages. With a content management system, designers can create website templates that allow anyone to quickly create new pages and share up-to-date content.

Q: What are the benefits of great website design?

A: Great website design is an expression of great strategy. If your strategy is well-defined, your website will help you meet your goals. Depending on your organization, those goals may be more leads, more sales, more content views, or more engagement.

With a great website design in place, brands can focus on pushing traffic to their site and let their high-quality content help customers build an emotional connection to their brand.

Q: How will website design continue to evolve in the future?

A: Website design will continue to embrace inclusivity and accessibility, in both visual design and language. This evolution will help companies create a welcoming experience for all visitors, regardless of their abilities or identities. Expect to see trends move toward better accommodations for those with disabilities, such as larger font sizes that make it easier for everyone to read and digest online information.

In the future, we’ll also see websites expressing content on more and more devices. Responsive web design will include not only mobile, tablet, and desktop, but also audio devices and voice assistants.

Adobe can help

Put this knowledge into action with Adobe Experience Cloud.