The design of a website includes its ‘look and feel’ and navigation. Often, website design is undertaken by a specialist designer who has a different role from the developer writing
the HTML code.
Professional web design
Web designers usually have experience in graphic design – especially for online and on-screen situations. Web designers and developers often work closely together, so whoever you choose to work
on your site may have a preferred partner for the project.
Good web designers should know how to use the layout of a website to visually communicate key messages. They should also understand how people use the web and be able to use this knowledge to
design websites that are easy and practical to use.
When seeking a web designer, it is a good idea to ask to see examples of their work. You can then evaluate whether you think the look and feel that they have created for other sites suits those
organisations, and whether you find it easy to navigate around the sites.
Consider whether the designer can create the ‘look and feel’ and navigation that reflects your brand and reputation.
The home page is the main page of your website. It is the page that is presented to a visitor when they type your domain name (your home page web address) into a web browser.
This is usually the page that sets the look and feel of the site and provides easy navigation to the content. You might find it helpful to think of it as similar to the front door and windows of
a physical shop, giving the customer a first impression and an idea of what you have to offer.
However, not all people will first arrive at your website on the home page. A website typically has several other key topic pages that a visitor might access before the homepage, especially if
they are entering your website from search engine results. It is important to ensure all pages of the website are designed with consistency and easy navigation in mind.
To review websites awarded for the quality of their design, see website award sites like the ‘AIMIA Awards’.
Using your website to build on your organisation’s brand
All organisations have a ‘brand’, or commonly perceived reputation, regardless of whether it has been intentionally constructed.
Branding doesn’t have to be an intimidating concept, and your website gives you an opportunity to develop and expand on your brand.
First impressions count. Your website might be someone’s first experience of your brand. It is a good idea to spend some time and/or money to make the first impression a good one.
In order to keep your brand consistent, make sure that the look and feel of your website is similar to the look and feel of your organisation’s printed materials (brochures, menus,
letterheads, advertisements, etc.).
If you don’t want to engage a web designer then you could consider using a web design template that matches the look and feel or colour scheme of your existing printed
materials. Alternatively, you could use a template that allows for customisation.
If you want the help of a brand professional, there are agencies that specialise in online branding for small businesses and organisations. Examples include: