Web design is a branch of graphic design consisting in the planning and development of websites. As such, it needs a balance between aesthetics and functionality. A good design should be pleasant to the eye, attractive, interesting from a graphic point of view. But it should also ensures a simple surfing and quick access to information, not to mention the fact that it should make a good impression of the company it is representing, and its products and services. Therefore, if any of these requisites were not fulfilled, the design would be faulty –and consequently it would need correcting.
However, in order to explain what Web design is the best thing to do is to speak of the website. A website has some distinctive characteristics that make it different from the other elements of design, among which we may highlight interaction. Then there are certain characteristics that it does share with other design elements, although in its own particular way.
Interaction: this is by far the most distinctive feature of Web design. Graphic design works just transmit a message from a company to the public and that is all. A Web page, however, makes it possible that the message transmitted by a company is answered by the public and so forth, thus encouraging interaction. So the website is essential for a firm to get in touch with both consumers and potential clients, as through it they can ask questions, make suggestions, etc. In this way, this firm gets to know its target public well –their preferences, aims, etc. But human interaction is not the only interaction that a website permits: the way in which the user can surf on it and familiarize himself with the things a company offers makes this design element incomparably versatile and adjustable to what each particular user needs.
Presence in the market: the lack of a website is inadmissible these days –people’s first approach to a company is by means of its Web page nowadays. So failing a website, your company will be unreachable and will have an old-fashioned appearance. Neither possibility is desirable, of course. However, the greatest benefit of having a website is to strengthen one’s position in the market. First of all, your company will be above all those competitors lacking a Web page. Secondly, the Internet being a worldwide market-maker, clients from remote places will multiply. Last but not least, there is another advantage, namely that of online purchase (e-commerce), which will result in a rise in the sales levels.
“Virtual office”: as time went by, and with the coming of industrialization and globalization, companies stopped being part of small communities and became part of a sort of “global village” instead. In the time when a company was part of a small community everyone used to know its buildings, its workmen, and even its owners. However, none of it is true any more –companies nowadays are just an abstraction that exists only in people’s minds. That is why a website is so important. But that is not all: although advertising is certainly an effective tool to install something in people’s minds, the website offers another possibility, namely that of being a company’s virtual customer service office. In fact, it has the proper interactive qualities to deal with the clients’ needs perfectly alright and, being aesthetically nice, it will make the company look really good, too.
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