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What do you want your website to do?

Like all other design agencies out there, we love getting a new website project to add to our creative mix. Getting into a client's head and letting our imaginations run is part of the reason why we chose to do what we do; we love to design something pretty.  But the design aesthetic is really only one third of the process; without a clear understanding of the purpose and intent behind the site's existence, you have no blueprint to follow. This is why I am continually asking the most basic question of every website design project we get: What do you want your website to do?

it's my root question towards understanding a site's purpose and the motivation behind hiring us; I want to be sure we are understanding what you do, why you're doing it and how you want it done. Understanding the latest design trends or coolest new code has a purpose, but it's not applicable until we know more. I believe many designers miss the target (or don't feel that they need to consider it)... they may see their role as a visual conduit - laying out and styling the content provided - not to create it. But designers should always consider the content and motivation behind its intent. We are advisers to clients, and if we are going to be effective communicators, we must know what you want your website to do.

AND THEN it doesn't stop there. Once the your website's reason-to-exist is understood, we then need to ensure that your site is designed to answer these three questions immediately:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. Why should I do it?

If you fail to answer these questions right away, viewers will either not know where they are…or will be confused about what to do…or will not see any point in doing it. In each of these cases, they will solve the problem by clicking the back button or just close the browser altogether. Ouch.

Providing a design and site usability strategy is a necessary pairing; one should not be considered without the other and today many designers still don't see this as a necessary part of the process.

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