Step By Step Guide to Designing Online Websites or Apps

At Serff Creative, we use this system to help you identify what your online goals and objectives are. As you begin to go through the questions, our team is here to assist you in processing what your ideal end result will look like. We are here to help guide you, from beginning–with your ideas, to end–seeing your website or app live at your fingertips!

1. Keep your objectives clear

Focus on your objectives to achieve your goal for being online.

  • Does your site provide an effective service?
  • Does it satisfy your customer’s needs?
  • Is the process easy for your customer and ultimately complete the task of selling your service effectively?

2. What is the purpose for your online presence?

Having this focus will:

  • Help you through design and development decisions from start to final product launch
  • Communicate confidence throughout the process of the service
  • Complete the process and get it launched in a timely manner

3. The end customer is your target audience

Understand your site’s target audience, and find out what works well for them online. If the best process for them is not possible with certain technology, then look for alternative technology solutions that will fit their needs.

4. Understand the personality and emotional state of the viewer of your website

Why is your customer coming to your site?

  • What is their state of mind as they are using or buying your service?
  • What kind of experience are you trying to give them?

Make sure your online process does not conflict with the user experience. Your focus may be a hard sell of a product or service, however it may need to be a soft sell in order to keep the process simple which in turn keeps them stress-free and at ease. Before any processes are built, the foundation of the entire site will be laid through a strong brand presence. Your company’s brand will enhance the emotional connection with the user. Incorporating who your company is and creating an efficient experience will make the process easy to use and successful at the same time. The result is balance — pleasing the customer and your bottom line.

5. Get started with a mind map

Now that you understand your objective, purpose, and the kind of experience your visitor is looking for, its time to start planning your site or app structure into a processed format. Sketch out most important aspects of the interaction between the site and end user. Site maps are too restrictive at this stage. Grab a pencil and some paper and sketch out a “mind map”. Let others add their input too.

A sketch will typically feature:

  • Squares show how or why a viewer arrives at the site
  • Circles show actions which can eventually become pages
  • Lines connect how users may move around the site

Once complete, you will see the overall site or app navigation and interactive flow with the end customer. From here, take your ideas to your creative director and watch it come to life.

6. Organize the mind map into a site map

  • Create groupings for easy navigation or categories
  • Focus on top-level links that need to be available on every page
  • Don’t over-segment groupings. Too many sections will seem harder to navigate.
  • Include standard links such as Contact Us, About Us, Privacy Polices, etc.
  • Keep the paths easy to use with the least clicks possible
  • Cross reference or add smart links to help get the user to the next step of information

7. Sketch the essential features and look of the site

Design a wireframe or sketch of the page layout with the essential features:

  • Overall home page structure
  • Top-level navigation
  • Main areas of content with less than one screen scroll. Keep top-level information above the first scroll (above the fold)
  • Global navigation (ie: Contact Us, Privacy Policy, site map, within the footer navigation)
  • Any key graphical elements (logo, value position, and other branding elements)

8. Mapping your visitors’ attention for layout

A key step in doing your wireframe layout is understanding where your customer will want to look on the page. Areas to help this are:

  • Large blocks of elements (copy or visuals)
  • High contrast in elements (lines, strong images, softer tones and shapes)
  • Utilizing white space – keep open areas for easier eye flow
  • Everything on your site must help your customer achieve their goals, not distract the customer with the goals of the company

Now that you have created the ideal experience for your customers,
Serff Creative can bring your vision into reality.

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