You are about to spend time, effort and money to launch your new website. Naturally you want it to look good, be slick, shiny, but most of all you want it to do the job you expect it to – to attract more customers to your business.
We have been designing and building websites since 1999. Believe us when we say we have tried a LOT of different things over that time, so we have come to a few conclusions....
1: Your website is a machine...
We have heard site visitors say "the website does not do this when I click", or "I can't find that", but we have never heard them say "the website does not have this or that flashy feature"; that's what we hear clients say, but never their visitors!
Your website may only look like graphics and text on a screen, but it is a complex machine with lots of moving parts.
Like any machine though, the more complicated you make it, the harder it becomes to use. By increasing the complexity, the greater the chances are for it not play nicely with all the other contact points out there, such as browsers, devices... and even people!
When we design websites we like to keep things simple, making sure everything does what it should do first and foremost – to help your visitors find what they are looking for easily.
Big images, lots of messaging, multiple call to actions – saturate the visitor with endless options, colours and buttons.
You have seven seconds, less on mobile, to engage your first time visitor. Do you want to overwhelm them and risk loosing them, or lead them where you want them to go, with clear messaging and simple calls to action?
With cross platform usability playing such a big part of webdesign today, we feel keeping things simple, clean and clear is the best way to not only engage your visitor but also maintain your business' brand across all platforms. This is why we apply the KIS principle to every design we do and move forward from there if, and when, needed.
3: Understanding limitations
That really fantastic site you saw, the one that had all those great features? Chances are it was custom built from the ground up and cost a lot of money to build and even more to maintain.
We want you to have a wishlist that we can discuss, but we will also explain why some of the things on it may not be realistic.
Understanding the framework we work with, how far we can push it and what its limitations are is a critical skill. While some out there will happily add fully custom elements to achieve a particular 'wishlist function', we have been the ones that have had to clean it up when it no longer works with the latest release of WordPress.
We will always explore all the options when it comes to the features you'd like to have on your site, but in general we will not employ something we know will affect the long term sustainability of your website.
4: One framework = certainty
It is common practice for an agency to find a commercial framework to use as a starting point for a new client's website and alter it as needed. Then, for the next client, they use another framework altogether, with more alterations and so on. If something goes wrong, or stops working, you had better hope someone made extensive notes on how to fix it. If the work was done offshore, there is often little or no hope... things will need to be rebuilt and that costs money!
We use a single common framework for each site we build, a framework that is a mixture of core functions and site backbone. It's our starting point.
This strategy ensures we can effectively, service each and every site we maintain, knowing exactly what we are working with, with no surprises, or need to hope that someone took note of a particular quirk. Further, if we find something that can enhance an aspect of the framework, we roll it out to all our sites, benefiting all our clients.
When we build sites, they may all look different but underneath the hood there's a single engine we know very well, meaning your site will always be running at peak performance.