What is web design?

What is web design?

Of course, we are aware that it is impossible not only on this page but also on this entire website, to comprehensively clarify what web design is.

Nevertheless, we will try, here and in some of our other posts, to clarify the most important features of web design, and at least partially dispel the popular misconception that web design is mainly about creating artistic and colorful layouts of websites.

Whichever web design forum or Facebook group you open, you will most likely come across discussions related to WordPress and Photoshop, or conversations about color schemes, logo design, icons, and so on. This is no accident. Ever since the birth of the Internet, right up to the present day, web design has been widely accepted as an activity whose main task is to make the site look “nice and beautiful”. Adjectives like “clean” or “neat” are sometimes used, but the idea is the same…

However, as we will see, although web design takes care of this too, making websites beautiful and appealing is only a part, and a very small part at that, of the tasks a web designer must perform.

If we look for the reason for this misunderstanding, we will see that in lots of European languages, the word designer is most often associated with the concept of an artist or a painter, and the word design – with the artistic design of a given product, in this case – of a website.

For this reason, a lot of people identify the profession of a web designer with a graphic designer. However, in fact, these two professions are not identical at all.

The actual meaning of the word design in the English language from which it comes is quite different. Here the word design is translated with concepts such as project making, planning, intention, and purpose.

If we turn to interpretive dictionaries, such as the famous Merriam-Webster for example, we will see that the word design is defined as “the activity of planning and making decisions about something to be built or created. Making plans, drawings, and others, which show how something will be done.

It becomes quite clear that design, and web design, in particular, is actually much closer to architectural design than to artistic layout. Artwork is only a small, and not the most essential, part of web design.

Therefore, it is wrong to think of web design as the artistic layout of websites. There is also an artistic layout in web design, but it extends far beyond the purely visual presentation of web pages.

It is no coincidence that in large web design companies, information architecture is a fundamental part of the overall work process. And indeed, the most essential part of the entire design process in a website is precisely the organization, structuring, and presentation of information, not its “beautification” …

Web design is first and foremost architecture

Indeed, web design really comes closest to architecture.

Just as the main goal of architecture is to design a building that fully fulfills its functions (living, production, office needs, etc.), so in web design the main goal is to design a site that fulfills its functions – to inform and /or to sell a product or service.

That is why and in many places you will read that the core of web design is information architecture.

Here comes the main problem of some web designers: most of them are graphic designers and they try their best to “shine” their abilities in front of their clients.

They are able to make a perfectly polished graphic original but have little interest in the commercial side of the site and concepts such as marketing, efficiency, usability, intuitiveness, user experience (UX), etc.

However, it is an old truth that a good website is one that sells, and a good designer is one that remains invisible.

Unfortunately, staying invisible is usually an overwhelming task for some colleagues!

Web design and usability

As a result of this dominance of form over content, the Internet space is filled with beautiful but dysfunctional, hard to use, and therefore ineffective sites.

With the most sincere surprise and disappointment, I myself often visit perfectly constructed graphic design sites, but in which I ask myself questions that should not be in front of the visitor at all.

Questions like:

  1. What exactly does this company do?
  2. Does it manufacture or only sell these goods?
  3. The product I see, how and where can I buy it?
  4. At what cost?
  5. If I have a problem with the product, what should I do?
  6. What guarantees do I get?
  7. How can I return the product?
  8. How can I pay?

But let’s be fair! In fact, in most cases, web designers are not at fault.

Very often, the contractors themselves (site owners) approach web designers in exactly this way: “I know what I want – you just have to do it, and do it beautifully”. This has happened to us many times.

That is why I would like to finally turn to them – the contractors:

Dear friends and clients, it is not necessary for a good manager to know everything, but it is necessary to know who to turn to for advice.Experienced web designers know a lot more about sites than you do. Listen to their advice and benefit from their experience. You will only win from this.

Believe me, creating a successful website is far more complex and responsible than its technical construction and artistic layout. Do not allow yourself to enter the Internet competition without the necessary experience and knowledge. You will lose.