A strong web presence is crucial to business success, and its importance will only continue to grow.
According to a new report by We Are Social, nearly 42% of the world’s population currently has access to the Internet, a yearly increase of 7%. And based on current trends, Internet penetration is expected to exceed 50% of the world’s population in 2016.
With almost half of the world’s population currently accessing the Internet and nearly 90% of North Americans doing so, it goes without saying that your company’s website is very important.
The Problem With Poor Web Design
No company sets out to have a poorly designed website. For many organizations, it simply happens over time. Sometimes technological advancements (and the design trends that follow) can outpace even the most nimble of organizations. In other instances corporate rebranding efforts like updated logos, fonts or colors may be adequately incorporated into traditional design materials including print ads, brochures and billboards, but overlooked in the digital space.
Whatever the reason, a poorly designed site is not just bad on the eyes, it’s bad for business. Why? For starters, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this adage holds true for websites. If your website looks like it was designed during Thomas Jefferson’s administration, what does that say about your company? Does thou still writeth with an ink quill?
Obviously that’s a silly stretch, but it isn’t terribly off the mark. We’ve all seen corporate websites that look like tiny islands in the middle of vast oceans when viewed on today’s monitors. These sites were clearly designed for a completely different Internet than the one we all now use. What message does that send to current and potential clients?
How Rhythm Solves It
A successful design is one that visually executes the brand in the digital space. Most of our clients already have an established brand identity when they begin working with us, and we regularly use existing traditional design elements including logos, business cards and brochures to inspire the digital extension of their brands.
It’s important to note that digital design doesn’t have to mirror printed versions, but it has to be a good extension – and we can often push it further. As a standard design practice, we study the competitive landscape by reviewing and interacting with websites of direct and indirect competitors, including sites in the same genre or field. We seek design answers to many questions like:
- Who’s doing it right?
- What are they doing well?
- What design strategies are they employing?
- What can we incorporate or improve upon?
We also draw from our own team’s experience of designing hundreds of sites across dozens of industries. If we’ve solved a design problem for client x, might it also apply to client y?
Once we’ve finalized a website design and received client approval, we’ll typically create or append their brand guidelines with a digital style guide that explains how to use specific design elements. For instance, digital fonts, colors and hex values vary from their printed counterparts and must be applied differently in digital applications like banner ads.
What Web Design Success Looks Like
At Rhythm, we believe that successful web design begins and ends with mobile. Why? Because mobile isn’t just the future, it’s also the present. According to StatCounter, the use of mobile devices to access the Internet has increased by 67% worldwide over the last 12 months (and 73% in the United States). Today more than 1 in 4 North American users regularly connects to the Internet with a mobile device, and that number is only expected to increase.
To meet the needs of the modern Internet user, Rhythm takes a mobile-first approach to website design. Because space is limited on mobile devices, we target the top 2 or 3 site needs, which helps create a hierarchy of information to design around. Our mobile designs are then translated into desktop versions – not the other way around. Take a look at the design process we took with FirstHealth, one of the Southeast’s premier medical systems. When FirstHealth approached Rhythm to help with their website redesign, we discovered that their current website was simply a scaled down version of their desktop site – it was never designed to be mobile friendly. So when the goal became presenting a group of community hospitals as the large medical network that they truly are, we did so with a mobile-first approach.
To accomplish the goal, we simplified the presentation for mobile viewing while adapting the site organization for multiple content categories including FirstHealth's four main hospitals, five major specialties and scores of doctors.
The result is a well-designed responsive website that works across all mobile platforms for all of FirstHealth’s audiences including patients, visitors, caregivers, volunteers, and philanthropists.
Is your company ready for a well-designed website? LET'S TALK