Designers have enough to worry about when doing a design. From trying to decipher what the client wants, to getting a hold of the appropriate assets and choosing the right colors and fonts to use, which only scratches the surface of what goes into a good web design.
Here are a few thing that you are safe to forget about when you’re designing the website, you’ll have plenty of time to think about them later on with the other people involved in building the website.
It is very tempting to see what is hot in the industry and jump on the bandwagon, producing similar designs. I try and avoid trends in my work, for two reasons.
I want my design to stand out from the crowd, having a design that is like everyone else’s, makes that very difficult. It is much better to be the one starting a new trend than being someone who follows them.
You also want to avoid picking a style just because its popular right now. Picking the right style for the website is better for the long term success of the project than what is techniques or styles are hot right now. Even if something isn’t in vogue right now doesn’t mean you can’t use it for your design, especially if it is the right one to you.
It has often been said that a good designer should know HTML/CSS to avoid problems while coding. I say that’s not the designers problem. If designers start to worry about what HTML/CSS is able to do we will never push the boundaries of what is being done.
Also, a designer won’t have the time to stay a breast of all latest developments in front end coding (it’s not their job to do so), so what they think is or is not possible may not be accurate.
Updated: The reality is that most designers have at least a basic understanding of HTML/CSS, some are able to code their own designs, and yes that is a good thing. Even still I’m suggesting that while you are designing you forget what you think know about how the design will be built. If you start thinking about that, you’re not thinking about what is best for the design. Yes you will work with your team to figure out if some things need to change in the design due to the implementation details (usually time is the biggest factor). It is better start with what you want to do and scale it back, than self edit as you design.
Cross Browser Problems
Similar to ignoring HTML/CSS capabilities, designers should ignore problems cross browser. Just because something isn’t possible in IE, mean’s you shouldn’t design it. Let the front end developers worry about hacking the browsers to make sure things work cross browser. They may come back to you to create a slightly different treatment for the older less capable browsers, but that’s ok.
With the proliferation of the high speed connections, speed of connection is something you shouldn’t worry too much about, unless you’re designing for mobile devices, and even some of those have high speed connections.
Yes there are many people out there still on dial up, or other low bandwidth connections, but you really shouldn’t let them be the rulers of the design. If it turns out that low bandwidth users are a big issues it is easier to scale back the design than scaling it up.
Don’t design the website for search engines, design them for people.
Google is the god of free traffic (paid too!) and this can influence people to change the layout and design of their websites to improve their rank. This is one of the worst things you can do. The primary ranking criteria for Google is back links. Design your pages for search engines and users will hate you, and you’ll have no backlinks, and your Google ranking will suffer. Treat your users well and Google will treat you well too.
What things do you ignore when designing?
Response to some of the comments below:
Designers are getting more involved in the build of websites, this can lead changes in the design due to build factors, not because it is the best thing for the design. Sometimes these changes are necessary but often they are not, they are made due to the designers understandable lack of knowledge of current development techniques. Yes it can be helpful for a designer to know how the build of a website is done, but that knowledge should not affect the design just because they think something is hard or easy in the implementation.
Some people have suggested that this article says that these things are responsibility of other people and so the designer should ignore them, and that this is awful advice … A designer typically works as part of a team to design, develop and deploy a website, I think it is wise to rely on other parts of team to do the things they were hired to do. To think a designer should do it all, is irresponsible and definitely won’t produce the best website for the client. Yes there are a few geniuses out there who can do it all, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
In the comment people have suggested it only 20 minute to learn HTML/CSS so why shouldn’t a designer learn it. That’s is simply a foolish statement, sure you can pick up the very basic rules in that tiny amount of time, but to be able to do a good job of coding a website is something that people never stop learning.