4 reasons why you should NEVER ask a print designer to design your Website

Despite several fairly obvious connections, print media and digital media are fundamentally very different animals.

While a print designer might have spent years building an impressive portfolio of work, this accomplishment doesn’t automatically mean that their skills will transfer successfully into the digital sphere.

There are many different reasons for this but, ultimately, it is important to remember that people interact with print and digital media in very different ways. When you design for the web, you are essentially designing a goal-driven experience for users to engage with. The goal is usually for the user to find the information they want quickly, which may or may not lead to an online purchase or booking.

So how is designing for digital different?

1. The importance of creating a seamless user journey

When thinking about designing for digital, it helps to visualise user journeys as pathways through your online experience which direct users to the information they’re looking for. Each user journey will typically include several key decision points and actions which should always take users seamlessly from one step to the next.

Web designers must ensure that each journey is clear and frustration-free, directing users to their end goal in a few hyper-relevant steps. The ability to meet audience needs effectively within the design and technical limitations requires an understanding of user goals and tasks, journey mapping, user expectations and user behaviours. This contrasts with the often disconnected channels associated with printed media.

2. Interactivity: the secret ingredient of web design

The most successful websites all have a certain 'X factor' which makes them uniquely appealing. A distinct combination of function and design, website interactivity engages audiences, grabs attention, and creates an environment in which your visitors feel valued and comfortable.

Getting creative and adding interactive elements to your site can make you stand out from your competitors and will ensure that your visitors remember you for all the right reasons. With everything from live chat features, interactive quizzes, games, calculators, videos, polls and surveys to consider, increasing audience interaction can drive engagement and build credibility in a variety of ways.

Contrast this with the entirely unidirectional communication associated with printed media. You print, your audience reads now but acts later. The call to action in printed media may direct the user to a website or call centre but in an asynchronous, disconnected manner.

3. The significance of a positive user experience (UX)

If you want to stay competitive, your website’s UX is something you simply can’t afford to compromise on. As your most valuable digital asset, it's essential that you engender positive feelings in your audience when they’re interacting with your digital experience. Why? Because you only have a very small window of time in which to gain their trust and hold their attention.

Crucial for user retention and brand recognition, a correctly designed and implemented UX directly translates to increased business, making potentially complex website structures easy for audiences to use and to interact with. This is an entirely alien concept in printed media with the closest parallel perhaps being a linked series of adverts or articles.

4. Designing for different devices

The number of different devices we use to access the internet is staggering. From on-the-go browsing to surfing from the comfort of their own sofa, your audience might want to access your website from their phone, tablet, laptop, or even their smart TV. As such, you need to know that your site will not only function but also provide the consistent UX your customers expect from your brand, regardless as to which device they've chosen to use.

There are several ways to design for different devices and responsive design is currently one of the most popular. Including flexible images, media queries and fluid layouts, responsive designs adapt to virtually every resolution and screen size instantaneously, ensuring that your content is always readable and always accessible.

An experienced digital designer will be able to apply the right approach to your digital experience according to your objectives and users needs. For example, if your audience is predominantly using smartphones, a Mobile-first design approach would most likely be recommended.

In summary
Whilst some of the visual elements may translate from print to digital, the degree of interactivity and the real-time elements of the digital user journey contrast sharply with those of printed media.

To achieve a successful web design you need the expertise of an experienced web designer who understands how to tap into the psychology of user behaviour as well as optimise the opportunities presented by the digital media. Combining this specialist knowledge will ensure that your design is truly effective at delivering a superior online user experience and drive business results.

If you would like find out more about how an experienced web design and user experience agency can take your digital presence to the next level, call us on 01256 329972 or complete our enquiry form.

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