Tip number one, before you ever start doing a single line of code before you ever touch your computer, make sure that you fully understand the brief and what the website design is supposed to accomplish. Make sure that you understand what the goals of your client or your employer are and what the business reality surrounding the project are. Take the perspective of this and use it to influence all of your decision making rather than thinking purely from the perspective of a designer or even a coder.
What might make sense from an artistic or from a functionality perspective may not help accomplish the end goal of reaching new business, new clients or selling products or services so you really need to make sure that that is a priority in your mind and you understand what your client really needs for you so that your execution aligns to that. Short version, make sure you have a brief that just clearly communicates what the outcome and the expectations need to be. If a client doesn’t provide you with a brief, then make sure you’re asking them the right questions.
Mock Up Designs
Tip number two, before you ever go to a computer and write a single line of code yet again, there’s one more other thing that I would really say you should be doing and that’s that you should mock up your designs. You can even use pen or paper or you can do what I’m starting to do which is you can use Adobe Comp CC as a mobile app for iOS to mock up your designs and lay them out and get a real feel for where in the placement of all your different elements should be. This can help you inform your design process because by the time you go to the code in the computer, you’re just executing on the road map that you’ve already outlined for yourself so this can be extremely helpful for you so that you’re saving time and you’re being very effective.
The other thing is I would also road map out the file structure of the website so that you know what directories and sub directories or how pages are related, this could also save you a ton of time so make sure that you’re making a solid plan before you ever execute on the design.
Tip number four, have an emphasis on mobile design. Familiarize yourself with responsive design workflows and tools like Bootstrap as a framework for responsive and mobile design. This is going to be extraordinarily helpful to you in your career going forward because now there’s a bigger focus on mobile design and mobile experience is because it’s usually the first way that an end user interacts with a website today so make sure that your websites are designed for mobile first and that they look good on all the devices that they need to.
My fifth and final tip for this video is to make sure that you’re thinking about the user experience. UX design is something that’s very trendy to talk about right now but the reality is you just need to really take a step back and not think about it as a designer or a coder and really think about how someone is going to use it. Think about how your best friend or one of your parents or one of your grandparents would use this website. Think about how a six year old child would use this website.