There is often a disconnect between web design and marketing. It’s not unusual to come across an ugly website with high converting copy. And it’s also not unusual to see aesthetic websites without a hint of marketing finesse.
This is not the fault of either the web designer or the marketer. The truth is that both are specialists. It’s rather like the difference between a car mechanic and a race driver. Both are experts on cars, but in completely different ways. One knows how to fix them while the other has specialized in how to operate them.
Adding to the confusion, business owners may not know much about design or marketing. They may be good at a completely different set of skills. They may know how to spot a promising opportunity. They may know how to bring a product to market. And they may know how to structure a business entity.
This is why creating a functional and aesthetic website is a team effort. It’s more realistic to assemble a team than expect to find the right person for the job. It’s rare to find someone talented in the elements of design and the psychology of persuasion.
Top 5 Qualities of a Web Designer
The primary qualities of a web designer are not what you might expect. It’s not a list of technical skills. It’s not a summary of artistic sensibilities. And it’s not about sophistication with different design software. Instead, it has more to do with personality. What separates good designers from great designers is not necessarily technical skills. It’s their ability to execute and refine the client’s vision.
1. Empathic: Great designers try to get a “feel” for the website owner’s vision of the business.
2. Analytical: Great designers are experts at translating usability testing statistics into usable design elements.
3. User-friendly: Great designers are a little like great athletes. They make impossible things look possible. They make complicated things look simple. And they make difficult things appear easy to do. They can create websites that even technophobes like.
4. Strategic: Great designers direct users to where they want to go with the least effort. The DIRECTV website for NFL fans has an interaction design. It offers the visitors options without overwhelming them. This site has every team’s 2015 schedule, yet the information is organized in a way that makes it easy to find. There are no complicated drop down menus linked with excessive sub-menus. Users see blocks of content. They can chunk down the information they need to know and are not distracted by too many things trying to grab their attention.
5. Ego-less: Great designers are rather like Samurai warriors. Samurai warriors never struck an opponent out of anger. Instead, they were intentional in a sword fight. They only struck their decisive blow when the moment was right. Similarly, web designers act without the burden of a need to be right. Their only concern is to do the right thing at the right time in the right way.
Top 5 Qualities of a Marketer
Marketing is a critical function for business success. The top qualities of a skillful marketer go beyond technical skills. Expertise has more to do with knowledge and personality.
1. Innovative: Top marketers seek originality to stand out from the marketing noise. When they propose something new, it still seems familiar. If something is new, it catches attention. But if something is too novel, it frightens people away. If something is familiar, it is comforting. But if something is too familiar it is boring. Thus, a marketer has be original without appearing radical.
2. Futuristic: Top marketers try to extrapolate the future based on present evidence. It’s not enough to spot current marketing trends. Building a brand also depends on future vision.
3. Strategic and tactical: Top marketers try to grasp the 30,000 foot aerial balloon view. Yet they later resolve this information into practical steps.
4. Discerning: Top marketers may not be good at design, but they can spot a good design over a bad one. They can discern the marketing elements in any type of information. This includes technical information.
5. Customer-centric: Top marketers are customer-centric. They like to view things through the eyes of their customers. They often use surveys to ask their target audience open-ended questions.
A Functional and Aesthetic Web Design
Websites are used in almost all industries such as retail, entertainment, sports, and so on. Each industry has a different target audience with different wants, needs, and desires. What is functional in one industry may be baffling in another. And what is aesthetic in one industry may be either too austere or gaudy in another one. A website owner has to coordinate the efforts of a web designer and marketer. He or she also has to meets the needs of a consumer in a particular industry.