Challenges of planning a website design
Web sites change all the time. Websites that stay and are liked by visitors evolve, responding to the changing needs. What they start out as is not where they stay over time. Websites scale, change, scale and change again. Bottom line is no website should sit dormant for long periods of time; they should be consistently changing and scaling up. Even search engines no longer like stagnant websites. They reward evolving, scaling, changing websites.
When designing a website, business owners and web designers should keep an eye on the future and make sure they design for scalability. The possibility of popularity necessitating change should always be in the designers mind when designing a website. Websites need to be flexible for changes that may be needed after the website has launched.
There are two sides to this coin. On the one side, the present need of the website demands immediate attention, while the flip side of the coin are the future possibilities and needs. How does your website need to grow in the future? Balancing the two is the tricky part.
Why is Scalability in Web Design Important?
Web design involves cost and effort. Keeping these costs and efforts to a minimum should always be the primary goal. Think how hard it would be to redesign the site every time a new product or service is introduced, or if the website has a new need. If this was the case, the website would always be under construction and vary rarely be available to the public for viewing. Major changes will inevitably occur, but the cost and effort of those changes can be reduced by allowing for easier, iterative updates and transformations, thus saving the major redesigns only for when they are really needed.
Finding the balance between future and present can be a bit tricky. Many times the designer can get trapped in the importance of normal, day to day changes, as well as the demands of the present situations. Not giving thought to future endeavors can be a common lapse by both web designers and businesses. The need for additional sections and content is identified in the future, it may not be able to fit into the initial design and a massive redesign would be required for even the smallest expansion.
The opposite is also true, though less frequently. Sometimes project teams focus on the long term without an understanding of the present situation. They look at where the site will be several years after launch — or where they want or wish the site to be — and design for that amount of functionality and content without acknowledging and designing for the present day.
The key to avoiding these problems is to have a thorough understanding of the business goals and user needs, for both the short term and the long term and planning accordingly and designing for scalability.
Web Design Scalability is about Goals & Future Planning
Business goals and user needs will indeed change, but there are certain basic principles that will not. Knowing today’s long term business strategy will provide a foundation on which to plan.
The main goal to remember when planning your website design is the likelihood of additional areas that could be added to the site if and when needed. Many times the original business plans don’t always work the way we would want them to. Leave room for new ideas, new products, features or changes in strategies. When designing a website, you need to design for scalability of any feature changes that might need to be made. Have a clear cut goal on the priority order of the planning process.
It is always better to plan ahead, keep probability in mind. Be prepared for a large or small change, that way you are covered regardless of the nature of the change needed.
Make sure to revisit business goals and user needs on a regular basis to prepare for any scalability challenges that you may encounter. Do not let your website sit dormant without designing for scalability.
Good Web Design is Scalable Web Design
There is more to good web design than aesthetics and present-day functionality. Designing to today’s needs can make your website outdated too soon, necessitating revamps and redesigning. Likewise planning too far ahead can make your present site completely unsuitable for today’s audience needs. Good web design calls for striking the right balance — a function that’s much ignored by web design companies. This is where a professional web design company like Flying Cow Design can make a difference to the present and future of your website. If you need a website that will work for you — today and in the future — talk to us.
CEO, Flying Cow Design
Attended University of Auckland
Lives in San Francisco Bay Area