Web design is the graphic design area in charge of the comprehensive development of an Internet Web site. A Web designer takes care of creating Web designs and, very often, improving those sites created by people not very skilled for the job. The Web design specific work object is the Internet site and we will deal with it in this section.
A Web site has three main aspects. The first one is being part of corporate identity. The second one, being distinctively characterized for its interactivity. And the third one, promoting the company. Each of these aspects has a special development and it is necessary to approach it from a special perspective. Our suggestion is to think on the Web design from its work object, the Web site, and its features.
We will begin with the first aspect. A company’s Web site is an essential component of its corporate identity, it is not any component. We must consider the Web site as a basic component, only preceded by the corporate Logo. All the graphic-visual components of corporate identity respond to the same logic, consisting on respecting certain parameters, together with keeping each element’s particular features. Thus, it is essential for the company's site to stay within the parameters posted by the Logo and all the previous designs composing the corporate identity. If this did not happen, that is to say, if the site did not respect the adopted criterion, the corporate identity would be seriously affected because a crucial component of it would be broken. Since it is not the same if a monthly offer catalogue does not respect the criterion than if a very important component as the firm’s Web site does not do it. However, the particular features of each design should not be tyrannically subject to the parameters adopted: the company’s Web site must underline those features distinguishing it from the other designs, but it must do it with versatility and intelligence so as to avoid destroying the limits composing the company’s image. The Web site aim is to convey a message in the way only it (this type of design) can do it. On the other hand, the parameters' aim is to keep the corporate message strong, a message conveyed differently once and again, respecting the special features on each case but being always the same and unique concept.
The second aspect of a Web site is its interactivity and this is its most particular aspect, feature, distinguishing it from any other design advertising device. The interactivity we are talking about is produced in the following way: all the other designs composing a company’s corporate identity convey a message from the company to the public; however, the Web site is not limited to address the information in just one sense but it sends it to the public and gets back the answer raised by the message sent. At the same time, this answer will find a reply on the part of the firm and so on and so forth, establishing a dialogue. This ability is exclusive of the Web design and its work object. And this is not all: the Web site proposes an interaction between the public and the information provided by the company, making the former distinguish the latter. This means that when somebody gets a flyer, he cannot choose what he is interested in and what he is not because that is not what the physical and communicative features of the flyer seek but quickly shock the recipient, but a Web site offers the user the chance to visit those sections he wants to and to be related to them in the way he likes to.
The third and last aspect is the advertising. The advertising power of an Internet site is not always appropriately taken into account. Today, Internet is the most used means when doing business. People choose where to buy not because they are familiar with the company but because they find its Web site and they like it, they consider it reliable and because they can ask whatever they want in the comfort of their home. This is the positive benefit of having a place on the Net. The negative benefit is the following: a company not having an Internet site is considered old-fashioned or obsolete by potential customers. Many times, it is not even taken into account because it is absolutely overlooked, nobody knows it and nobody buys things from it. To achieve a greater business benefit using a Web site, the designer can be asked to create an e-commerce site. These sites are suitable to make online shopping without leaving the computer. These sites do not only increase the firm’s sales because they are comfortable but because they widen the company's area of action at unforeseen levels: through Internet, sales will be made to people or entities in any part of the world.
Other advertising aspect of a Web site is closely related to the placing on search engines. Being well-placed on a search engine will make a site come to life, attracting people that never heard of the company owing this site before and visits, as well as sales, will exponentially increase. But a good placing on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN does not only allow Web sites to get more visitors and, thus, the company to get certain customers, but also gaining an undeniable prestige. People believe that the search engine results depend on the page quality, the company’s power or the search engine support of the well-placed site. This is not true: there are people working to achieve those results. However, the fact that people believe that your good placing depends on your site being great, your company being successful and your site being supported by huge corporations such as Google, Yahoo or MSN is not something to disregard.
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