The title question is the one I have to answer surprisingly frequently. Why am I surprised? Well, mostly because I don’t know the answer to how long does the good design creation process take. I always try to talk it through and show that the duration of the process depends not only on designer, but both on him and the client (or rather the person that is responsible for this process on the client’s side). In this article I will try to explain, as good as I can, why is it so complicated for me to answer this seemingly easy question. The most common belief is that me, a Web Designer, should know the answer easily, but the truth is nowhere close to that. Since design is a multi step process, I will try to explain it step by step and to stress factors that can reduce or increase its duration.
First – Research
Well I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone, but every Web Designer project should begin with research. It is one of the most important issues that, in my opinion, makes a good designer. The ability and, above all, the desire to do research is crucial if you want your design to be good. The duration of this step depends on the industry, type of the web page and ability to find the reliable resources. Typically, in this step, I focus on three key points: Competitors, Trends, and last, but not least, Target Audience.
Competitors are decent source of information: if there are some patterns that are duplicated on websites among industry, what is the leading company or similar. Knowing the answer to all this questions is very important. One of the goals of almost every company website is to make the company stand out.
One of the goals of almost every company website is to stand out among other companies operating in the industry
Trends is a part of a research, which duration depends on how well we know the industry. If one is to design the Dashboard for some application, while being interested in UI Design – he or she should be aware of current trend. Of course, it’s different if one has little information and needs to dig in before the start.
While doing research we cannot forget about Target Audience. Imagine a situation in which you enter the website of a metal band and it is in pink and orange. Accordingly surprising could be a bloody red website of a church. All the time we need to think about, what the user’s impression will be, the moment he or she enters the website. In the end it is them, who you are designing this page for. It might be company that is paying you, but still, the company representatives are not the ones who are the Target Audience.
This one is somehow not that simple for all of us. Data understanding improved my web design process a lot. First of all I had to realize a fairly obvious fact that I don’t know everything. I am a skilled professional, when it comes to Web Design, but I know little about how houses are build or heavy machinery. That’s why I am always enquiring my client about the materials I received. Of course there are situations, when all the needed data is prepared right away in fully understandable way, but usually – it is not.
That’s why you need to go back and ask deeper about the materials. Which information is crucial? What data should be presented in form of the paragraph/ image/ infographic? What exactly is the machinery on this photo? These are questions that should be answered in order to prepare the good design. Only knowing your materials, you can go to the next, very important step…
Wireframe is a MUST
Sometimes I’m being asked, why is it so important to prepare a wireframe? But I found out that doubts can be quickly dispelled. The client, who has an impact on this very early stage of content distribution, has stronger influence on the project and is more satisfied with it. And I am not talking about doing the Axure interactive mock-up for a whole website each time you start a new project. Sometimes it is enough to sketch a simple wireframe on a sheet of paper and talk it through with the client.
It is good both for the customer and the designer. As I mentioned before, the client is more satisfied with the project and feels more connected to it. On the other hand, the designer can avoid amendments that could interfere heavily with the project, which he worked on. Even though it requires effort that was not planned in the beginning, it saves money ultimately.
The resulting project
Here’s where the nice part begins. If I have worked hard on the previous parts, it should be a real pleasure to put some magic into wireframe and create a beautiful website. Otherwise, I can end up making another project that neither me, nor my client will be satisfied with. This part is usually the most time-consuming. The fact that you prepared well can help to shorten this step, but still it needs some time. There are factors such as complexity, requirements and inspiration that affect the duration of the process.
So to answer the title question – design takes as much time as necessary. If you want your page to be designed well, you should realize that it needs to be thought through. Remember that it is easier (and cheaper) to make changes at the designing stage, than when the website goes online. Good Web Designer will take his time to make sure that his creation will benefit as much as possible.
Let me know what you think about this process in the comments I’ll be grateful to discuss it with you!