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Web Design: Useable v Unique

There is a constant question facing web designers and companies looking to refresh or revamp a web design; should the primary goal be to create a website which is useable or a website which is unique?

Behind this question is another important question! Should the form and function of the website be shaped more by the website designer and creative team who are developing it or the end users who will be the people using the website?

Every website design should meet the individual needs of the company or organisation it represents, which means that the development process needs to be carefully thought through. How we think through these questions – and the conclusions that we come to – have a shaping influence on the success and impact that the finished web design make.

A False Web Design Dichotomy?

You could easily argue that this an unnecessary question. Surely the purpose of a brand new web design is to create a website that is both beautiful and functional. Isn’t that what web designers are supposed to do?

This is, of course, absolutely correct. The end goal of every website design is to produce a site which is fresh, attractive and clearly demonstrates and communicates the company’s branding and vision, whilst simultaneously ensuring that the web design is highly functional, easy to use and responds as the end user would expect it to.

However, the web design process isn’t necessarily that straightforward. In fact, it’s vital that it isn’t.

After all, your organisation is unique, and the way in which you communicate with your customers needs to reflect this. In a competitive world, the creative/visual impact that your website design will make cannot be underestimated. As Christian Holst put it,

The concept of your product, service, app or website is at the core of your user experience. It’s where you differentiate yourself from the competition and where you create true value to the customer. So develop your concept as creatively as possible and make it as original as possible.

In other words, the web design process never begins with end-user experience; it is always creativity-led by the unique requirements of your organisation. An over-emphasis on end-user experience will result in highly functional, easy-to-use websites. However, it will probably not help you connect with your audience in an inspiring or original way.

It is once you have established the creative dynamic of your website design that user experience, functionality and testing come into their own. A web design which looks fantastic but fails to deliver a quality user experience will quite simply fail to yield the results that you are hoping for. At this point, the creative website design needs to be fused with a healthy dose of reality. This means multiple-device testing and drawing heavily on user research and feedback.

We’re a UK web design company based in central London. To find out more about working with our creative team on your next website design project why not contact us today?