The Misconception of Web Design

Mike Maier
Mike Maier VP of Solutions & User Experience

Web Design MisconceptionsWeb design has changed exponentially from when the Web was predominantly static. But when most people hear the term “Web design,” they still tend to think of someone creating pretty pictures in Photoshop and handing it off to someone else who will program this picture into a functioning website.

While there is some truth to this, to me; it’s far from reality.

Let’s focus on the concept of “design.” Design is more than creating images – it’s problem solving. It’s coming up with a plan to attain an objective.

When I look at a design brief, I see a puzzle that needs to be pieced together. Site goals, navigation structure, core features – these are all elements that form a successful “Web design.”

Much thought has to go into where elements are placed. But, more than just placement and style, good designers consider how these elements react. How will they behave when the user interacts with them? What new issues could arise? And how do you handle them when they do? These are all things that must be thought through before a single pixel is pushed. The nicest looking design could also be the worst design if integral elements like usability and user experience are ignored so that the final product looks like art that could hang on a wall.

Today’s Internet is a truly interactive medium, and because of this, we must take the user into account when designing what will be an “experience” for them. We need to make things intuitive, help them reach their objective, give them guidance when necessary, and make sure that in the end, our clients’ goals and intentions for the site are met.

This is not to say that Web design cannot and should not be beautiful. It should. But what lies under the facade should be a well-constructed skeleton. Colors and graphics alone will not do.

So the next time you think of a Web designer, tuck away the vision of the starving artist staring at a blank canvas and consider instead the problem solver who plans and architects the online experiences you have come to know and expect. Good Web design is strategy problem solving underneath the visual presentation – and all of that is an art form.