Good web design is more than graphic design

A friend of mine, a great graphic designer, asked me to view his new website and give my comments. So I took a look and as I expected it looked excellent. A great design can draw the user in. But from there he was lacking a few qualities that you need in order for your website to work.

Often people make the mistake of missing the title out and leaving it as "Home" "Page 1" or "Untitled Document". Others just display the name of their company, which can sometimes be misleading.

On occasion, I have had people ask me where they can see what their title is. This is a very easy tip, use your keywords to tell the user what your site is about. Open any website and if reading right from the top of the screen, the title is the first part of your web page that the user can see. To add to that, minimize the window. Now the first part of your title is displayed along your task bar, the user will know what is in that window instantly.

So now we have a great looking web design with a title to tell people what you do. However what about the people that do not know what or where your title is?

Content is the answer. When the user reads the front page, he or she wants to know what your company does. Even if it is a quick round up of what services or products you provide and then go on to lead them to separate pages where the information is available.

Another part of this is navigation. Your main navigation can show what services you provide. This only works if you have separate pages that hold individual web copy holding information on the products or services you provide. It also is key that the links in your navigation are named correctly and are not misleading in any way.

I can tell you that the site my friend showed me was something different to this. His title was his company name, his content was a message explaining why the site had taken so long to develop and the links in his navigation was portfolio, about us, links, legal and contact. The user would go on and not have a clue what he does.

I hope he takes my advice and realizes that Graphic Design is not where a website should stop being developed, if it does it is only a series of pretty pictures.