A website is a combination of many elements. Effective web design marries these elements in a manner that effectively communicates a message and an image.
There is a lot that goes into process – and a lot than can go wrong. Web designers know that no matter how amazing their plan for a website may be, the successful execution of that plan depends upon the quality of the elements.
For example, have you ever seen a website that appeared to be somewhat chaotic yet had a pleasing look? Chances are the elements that created that website were clean and sharp.
By the same token, do you recall seeing a website that had a polished look, but somehow just didn’t cut it? Chances are that poor elements were the reason.
Of the many elements that go into the designing of a website, there are two that we’ve identified as areas to consider as you look for a custom web design company in Los Angeles.
Proper use of typography
Many people associate typography with print media, and while of course that is where it began, typography also plays an enormous role in the look of a website and the effectiveness of the overall web design.
Just like layout, typography plays an important role in how a user digests the content of a website. It’s important for a web design’s typography to be easy to read and follow while establishing structure and hierarchy within the content.
Web typography took a giant leap forward a few years ago when Google released their own font collection, providing web designers with many decorative and text fonts. A good web design company should demonstrate the strong use of typography in their designs.
Navigation is often created at the tail end of a web design project rather than at the beginning. The result can be a disorganized website that is confusing to a visitor and counterproductive for the owner.
Navigation is a tool for visitors to find their way around a website, and a tool for designers to organize the flow of information and services.
There are a few commonsense rules to remember here. Buttons to travel around a site should be easy to find – towards the top of the page and easy to identify. They should look like navigation buttons and be well described. The text of a button should be pretty clear as to where it’s taking you. Aside from the common sense, it’s also important to make navigation usable. For example, if you have a rollover sub-menu, ensuring a person can get to the sub-menu items without losing the rollover is important. Similarly changing the color or image on rollover is excellent feedback for a user.
Typography and navigation are two aspects to keep in mind as your search for a custom web design company in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at a few specific recommendations for a successful search:
Being of a like mind with your web designer is important if a collaborative relationship is to develop. Chances are that you reflect the demographic of your customers, and so too should the designer.
This is not to say that the designer has to exactly mirror your clients. But, its just common sense that if you are selling clothing to college aged consumers, its best if the designer is in his or her 20’s or 30’s.
What are their core strengths?
Every web design company, agency, or individual has certain strengths. For many web designers it is image development and branding Web designers typically have a background in graphic design and art development. If you want to develop a distinct image and brand, this would be a good choice.
Other web designers are strong in marketing and lead generation. Their basic skill lies in creating pages that encourage sales conversion and list building. They are typically skilled in building landing pages and creating sales funnels.
Still other web designers are strongest in development, and may specialize in developing e-Commerce, directory, or membership sites.
Learning where the design company is strong is vital to maximizing your investment.
Working with a local web designer in a unique market like Los Angeles, who understands the local business environment, is very important.
Ease of communication between client and designer is another big reason for limiting your search to the Los Angeles area. Small differences in the way words are used can hinder the kind of precise communication needed for a successful web development.
Look closely at the design portfolio
This goes without saying, but its remarkable how often this key step is ignored.
When you view the portfolio, look closely at the fine points, including the typography and navigation. Look at the selection of images and determine if they would be the kind that your customers would find appealing.
Browse through the sample sites and determine in the flow is seamless and intuitive. Look closely at the header and footer and the side bar graphics. Form an opinion based upon two or three of the sites provided by the designer.
Look at the web designers track record
Whatever industry you are in, and whatever size your business, you want to find a designer with an established track record. More than a great portfolio or glowing reviews, an identifiable history of success designing websites in the Los Angeles area should be the greatest factor in the decision making process.
The best way to do this is to determine if they have done projects for other clients that are in your industry. If so, it is a strong indication of their likely success building exactly the site that you want.