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Why Research is the Key to Effective Web Design

What do you believe you’re getting when you hire a web designer? Many clients think they’re paying for artistic skill and technical expertise. That is true…in a sense. A finished website is usually the “deliverable” at the end of the project. But, in our experience, the real value comes at a different point in the process; the research and Discovery Phase.

At Atlantic BT, our belief is that not all web design time is equal. In fact, what you think you’re paying for might not be the most important piece or step. Let’s elaborate.

Discovery Time Offers the Biggest Payoff

The Discovery process is an essential kick-off point at the beginning of a web design project. This research stage includes interviewing clients and asking about their organization, needs, and challenges. But, many web development companies will treat Discovery as a formality. It’s an unfortunate step to not appreciate. We know that the Discovery phase is where the magic really happens.

Once a creative team knows what a client truly needs, they can move forward with confidence. The layouts, flowcharts, and content are custom made. They fit a specific situation, marketing personality, and audience. The creative team is aware of past work, current processes, and future goals. They can see the big picture and understand their client’s character, inside and out. Knowing what their client needs and the parameters of the project allows for focus. The team can develop the right solutions for the right problems.

An experienced, professional web designer can make new layouts and color schemes easily. Figuring out what will help a client meet their needs is much more challenging and vital. This leads us to another important observation.

Don’t Rush Through the Interview and Data Collection Process

A thorough Discovery meeting can provide buckets of inspiration and information. It makes everything else that comes later in the web design process, easier. On the flip side of that, rushing through Discovery interviews will come back to hurt you.

A lack of understanding leads to a product with no real purpose. If your web development team doesn’t understand what you want or need, what can you expect from them? They are likely to present you with work that needs major revisions. Everyone involved could be missing important details throughout the process. In the end, you’ll find yourself with a web presence that isn’t as effective as it could be.

Lots of executives like to rush through interviews. More than a few web designers are the same way. They all want to get busy designing samples and layouts. But, this almost always backfires. Designers end up reinventing the wheel again and again. In the meantime, clients get more and more frustrated.

There are Two Ways to Spend Time on Web Design

Decades of experience with both web design and development has taught us this truth. It takes time to plan and build a great website. Spending that time at the beginning to learn, research, and ask questions, is valuable. The project moves forward smoothly and naturally. Rushing those preparations helps no one. It will only make the project difficult, delayed, and costly.

Consider this approach to research when outlining your web design or redesign project. Don’t move too fast through the most important step. Refuse to work with anyone who rushes you through the Discovery phase. If you do otherwise, you’ll regret it later.

Ready for a Better Approach to Web Design and Development?

There are hundreds of companies out there who can build a website for you. Very few can handle institutional web design and development in a professional way. Work with a creative partner who can keep your project on target, on schedule, and on budget. Contact Atlantic BT, located in North Carolina, to schedule a free consultation.

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