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As a web designer, whether you’re new or have been in the game awhile…you understand the importance of a solid design. It’s one of the first thing your visitors notice. You understand that color schemes can affect visit length, and that too much text or the wrong font could turn someone away without even giving your site a second chance.You know what effect you’re trying to go for, and the vibes you get when you feel like you have your site’s design exactly where you want it.

But, it can be so easy to get caught up in all of that…to focus on color schemes and gradients until you can’t see straight…that you forget something that’s just as important, if not more so: the fact that a website’s functionality is just as critical as it’s look and feel. As the designer, this is probably up to you.

We reviewed it in the community as well, but, a recent article on CMS Wire, “Web Experience: The Functional Heart of Web Design,” by Gerry McGovern explores this concept deeper.

“Design is not just how it looks. Design must also be concerned with how it works. For things to work on the Web they must be findable. That requires a focus on search and navigation. When these are found the customer must be able to do something with them; complete a task.

The nature of behavior on the Web is very impatient and fast-moving. If within a couple of seconds a person does not understand what a page is about they tend to leave. Therefore, we need very minimalist design that clearly and rapidly communicates the purpose of any particular page.”

As McGovern mentions, design is about purpose and function just as much as feel and flow. The way you choose to layout a site and how that translates into actual user experience matters. it can make or break a site.

Simplicity Matters

When you’re checking out Social HubSite themes and previewing your options…concentrate on simplicity.

That can be difficult. In many cases it’s easier to dwell on going above and beyond…on breaking the mold and creating new features and looks that cannot be found elsewhere. Could it make the site look better or provide a “wow” factor? Sure. This area of focus can backfire…easily.

You’re sites visitors are probably used to certain features…when they have to work too hard to figure out what’s going on, or how to navigate a website, like the article mentioned, they’re likely to move on and find something else, which is the last thing you want.

So, when designing, keep it simple and focus on functionality. Take the time to experiment with different themes, to try out different options and to make sure your functionality is solid. As a result, your design is sure to be a success.

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