Are you sure your print designer can design your website?

Author -  Labyrinth Solutions

As a website design and online strategy company, we’re often told by potential clients “No need to design the website for us, we’ve got an in house print designer – we just need someone to build it”

I refer to our website design approach as a 'holistic' one. There are natural design skills that print designers have that are used in web design, but the intricacies involved in designing for the web design are far more deep than are seen just on the surface.

Here's why it’s important to use a web design specialist for web sites 

  1. A print designer has a fixed ‘canvas’ and boundaries to work within. They don’t consider anything outside the crop-marks like a web designer needs to. A web designer considers designs that are outside the initial viewing area, reachable by scrolling and browser scaling. Also different browser rendering - each with their own quirks (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome etc) and a range of different monitor sizes need to be taken into account with website design.
  2. A print designer is purely concerned with layout and presentation. They don’t have to take into account the data size of images, down load speeds and call-to-action to ensure viewers are lead through your website effectively.
  3. Navigation is a key design element for a website. By contrast, a packaging designer needs only to design a compelling image, something that draws the attention for a few seconds only, and a magazine or news paper designer doesn’t need to consider navigation, even though there are multiple pages because the navigation route is simple – you simply go to the next page when you’ve finished the present one! We are all conditioned to that.
  4. Web designers however need to consider ‘Persuasion architecture’, i.e. catering for different personality types and driving each through different routes through the site, sometimes to different end destinations! Links play an important part here as does clear sign posting or navigation tabs. Where the website has extensive information and touch points, multiple navigation devices need to be designed and logically introduced in an almost subliminal way so as not to over complicate navigation.
  5. A web designer has additional constraints placed on their artistic flair that a print designer doesn’t need to consider. For example, a site image rich and text poor is not optimised for the search engines, meaning it will perform poorly in search results and therefore undermining the full nature and purpose of a website intended to reach the masses. Consideration needs to be given to the correct use of the headings, again for search engine optimisation.
  6. Web design is very much a moving platform, influenced by technology changes and by user expectations, and it is essential that a web designer stays abreast of these changes. For example, a few years ago, many sites had fancy entry pages. This is rare on sites now as they act like a brick-wall preventing viewers getting into your website. The current thinking is to get the visitor into the site as quickly as possible. Although print design also evolves, it evolves far slower than web design.

Our client partnerships see the immense value of using a web design specialist for this most important of areas when it comes to online success.

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