Prior to development, the design and user experience of the website has to be carefully considered. A great site will provide, within a few clicks, the information and answers your visitors are seeking. The impact on conversion and Google ranking is incredible.
It's important to differentiate between website design services and website development services, as the two are not one in the same. There are some amazing developers that do not have design chops and there are designers that have never developed.
Website development is the process of making a website live and building it out while the design is the schematic and the aesthetic.
An important thing to keep in mind when designing or assessing a design is that the aesthetic is subjective. Several people may look at the same design and have very different feedback. An example I like to use is to liken websites aesthetics to people aesthetics.
Your website has a navigation, text, imagery, and contact information.
You have one nose, two ears, two eyes and a mouth.
You may find someone’s aesthetic incredibly desirable, while another looking at the same person may not be as impressed. It’s the same with websites… aesthetic is subjective.
What isn’t subjective is the schematic
When thinking about the design of your website, the first major thought process has to be to think about who is visiting your site and what they are looking for. The best designs are the ones that take into account their customers, their unique value propositions and setup the different sections of their website to serve these interests the best they can.
What you should end up is a schematic, or as it is more commonly referred to in the industry, a wireframe.
From here the aesthetic portions can be build out to reflect and represent the sections on your website that you’ve laid out.
The designers you choose can make beautiful aesthetics, but they need clear instructions of what to improve because their skillset and knowledge bank doesn’t include your business. It’s why in person brain storms, and questionnaires are so important, because they bridge that gap.
Then once it's designed and tweaked its’ time to put the website developer to work to create an immersive online experience that will drive users to complete your desired action.