Main Considerations - Introduction

When designing a site we need to think and discuss about the following things:
1. Design look and feel
2. What visitors to your site need to get from a visit and what will make them stay and look around
3. The story/style that you want to tell/communicate- the content i.e. "Specialising in affordable weddings", along with images that tell of your creative ability.
4. Background information you want to supply about yourself and the business
5. Testimonials you can get from clients

Design Process

- Discussion and research to get initial ideas planned (I will contact you for a face to face meeting after you have visited a number of sites to get a few of your own ideas to contribute)
- Decision made on domain name and hosting site (.co.nz, or .com etc). Purchase made of these. Decisions on hosting will need to be made according to a monthly budget, quality of host and support services (i.e. statistics of who is visiting your site).
- Basic concepts for the web put into place.. decision made on the type of site finally required.. Simple vrs database driven, amount of animation, number of pages required, forms & newsletter services
- Prepare a design outline/ mock up
- Collection of permission from clients for use of references, testimonials and photos
- Approval of design and work continues (with updates for you to view/approve)
- Research of other sites we could link to (offering similar services to your business) with a view reciprocal linking
- Final production and approval (email and contact information to be encoded so that spam robots cannot harvest your email information)
- Submission of site to search engines (number to be decided) and other NZ sites that will provide you with search engine rankings and an internet presence for your site (making sure your internet site is built with high value keywords (meta-tags) that promote what clients are likely to be searching for
- Enable ongoing maintenance to the standard you require. This will need to include what parts you can update yourself easily and training to do this. We can purchase a program that will allow you to do this.
- Giving you all information required to easily transfer the site to another provider as needed

What is a Website?

Is your site a learning aid, a shop, a place to provide unique information, to educate, to provide reference? Is it primarily a showcase for yourself or business. Is it to be a fun site or a serious one? As communication tool – learning tool. What exactly are you trying to communicate or accomplish? What outcome will make you feel that your site is a success?

Who will be the sites audience?

With what exact groups of people are you trying to communicate? Is the demographic you are targeting within a certain age band? What are the groups of people you interact with on a business level like?

Where are your best competitors websites?

Knowing what is out there helps you clarify in your mind what you desire. Your web will still be unique and different, but as a starting point checking out the competition is always a good idea. RealiDesign will help you locate these sites as part of what we do and give you an idea of what makes any of these well-designed sites.

What content will go on your site?

What information shall we present about the business or organisation and its activities. What publications, notices, products or services? What testimonials or reviews can we get on your products or services? What background information will we place or personnel and the business? What type of methods of contact would you like to help keep your site sticky? (Site registrations, email newsletter registrations, members only section etc.)

Resources

How much time and money can you dedicate up front and over time to create and maintain your site? Who is going to perform the tasks involved?
Web site design is usually a team effort. There are many tasks involved in creating a web site:
• Writing the material
• Collecting, scanning and manipulating the images
• Maintaining the site and creating new content
Will members within your organisation be participating in this gathering and writing of webcopy information?

Tips on Visual Website Design

Text Attracts Attention Before Graphics
Of users' first three eye-fixations on a page, only 22% focus on graphics; 78% focus on text . In general, users are first drawn to headlines, article summaries, and captions. So keep headlines simple and direct .. not “cute”. A website is designed to connect you with your customers .

In web-site design it is important to keep sites:
1. Easy-on-the-eye... clean, fresh and creative. Not busy, boring and dull.
2. Fast-loading
3. Easy to navigate ... don't frustrate customers with all flash and no practicality
4. Invite the customer to establish a relationship with you

To draw users into the text and support scannability, we will use well-documented tricks:
• subheads
• bulleted lists
• highlighted keywords
• short paragraphs
• the inverted pyramid
• a simple writing style

Other Tips
• Provide Content
• Keep the design simple
• Use pleasing colours
• Allow for some white space (don't make the design too busy and confusing)
• Typically, your pages should load within 15 to 30 seconds
• You have approximately three seconds to grab your visitor's attention. Your site must be visually appealing and offer information that will be beneficial to them. Once you have their attention, you don't want to lose them because they can't find what they are looking for within a few seconds..
• Avoid clutter
• Ask yourself.. what first captures the eye on the page, where does the eye want to go next (where does it get pulled next, as my eyes is “pulled” around the page are there any blocks to the “flow”. See the design flow from object to object on your page like a river.. there should be no blocks!
• Is your navigation in the same place on every page? Links to get back home?

Remember:
Users hate scrolling left to right. Vertical scrolling seems to be okay, maybe because it's much more common.

Technical Thoughts

Your website will need to be designed with technical aspects in mind. These include:
• Speed (code efficiency)
• Server host (yearly cost, bandwidth required) NZ or overseas?
• Efficient Coding (content, nav, css, forms, lists, include pages, Java, Flash)
• Advertising (submitting, word mouth, original content, reciprocal linking, e-letters/news)
• Search Engines optimisation.. your web needs to be found, rankings in Google are important to being found.
• Keeping fresh, updating (will this be done in part by owner or entirely by RealiDesign) and what are the costs associated with this?