Web Design is the branch of design devoted to planning, developing and fitting out an Internet site. This branch of design is in charge of one of the chief elements of the corporate identity, given that, we may say that, a companyfs Web page is the major design element after the Corporate logo.
In this section we will deal with two issues: the work object and planning in Web design.
Web design, just like any type of design, is a method, and as every method it has an object: the Web site. The importance of a Web site rests in five key points: presence in the Internet, virtual location of the company, advertising aspect, corporate identity and interaction.
Presence in the Internet: this item must be dealt with from two perspectives: the positive and the negative. The positive perspective deals with the commercial benefits of having a place in the Net. The presence of a company in the Internet is indispensable for it to be known in the market and generate sales. Since a couple of years ago, the Internet has grown to be the most popular consultancy means regarding commercial matters: people surf the Net in search for a company to hire a service or buy a particular item. Being well located in the net will make any companyfs sales skyrocket. From the negative perspective we see how not being in the net prejudices the image of a business. A company that does not have a Web page conveys an aura of stalemate, of not being ahead of the times, of not knowing the media, or of weakness or smallness. And from the practical point of view it is also very unfavorable given that a person that looks for the company to buy a product or that looks for the product and does not find an answer from the company will not see to looking for the company through other means and you will have lost the selling or hiring of your services.
Virtual location: the passing of the centuries and the development of industrialization, globalization and capitalism after the American, French and Industrial revolutions has made companies and factories move away form the heart of communities. Before the boom of the world market, each community had its own local factory or company: everybody new its premises, its workers and its owners. But with the expansion of the market and the proliferation of new companies, this bond broke and companies turned out to be anonymous, or better, abstract: nowadays nobody knows either the premises of a company, or the company itself, it is merely an idea in the minds of consumers, an abstraction. As an abstraction, concept or idea a company needs two core things: a material element to allow consumers to acknowledge it and a place to represent it. There we have the Corporate logo and the Web site. The Logo of a company is a material element the public can get hold of to acknowledge a company as such. The Web site offers the company a virtual space (a site) that the consumers will acknowledge as the companyfs property, a place to resort to to present doubts, questions, complaints, to buy products or hire services. Given the level of abstraction that companies have reached, there is nothing better than a gvirtualh office to provide customer service to actual or prospect clients.
Advertising aspect: the advertising benefit of a Web page is superlative. As it has been said, Internet is nowadays most consulted means of communication in industrial and business matters. Therefore, it is very important for a company to appear in this means in the proper way. Web design is the indispensable tool to score this goal: the companyfs site must be efficient, esthetically interesting, representative and easily surfed. This traits are indispensable for the page itself to become an advertising springboard. However, there are other ways of using the Internet in an advertising way. One of them is good positioning in search engines. Appearing among the first places in the results of a search of a word related to the company is a completely profitable objective.
90% of the visits to a Web page come from search engines such as Google, Yahoo! And MSN. It is thus essential to be well positioned in them. Another advertising alternative is that organized by Google called AdWords. This service is based on placing a link to your site from related pages. It is a service backed up by Google and it is about gdirected advertisingh, this means that it is advertising addressed only to those who are interested in the topic. Both possibilities are pretty interesting. However, we are not dealing with conventional advertising in which the advertisement itself is what sells: they are links to your site. Therefore, what should sell your products is your site rather than the advertisement. In so doing, your Web page should have the above mentioned aesthetic and operative features.
Corporate identity: corporate identity is the body of design elements grouped coherently with the aim of conveying one and the same business message.
Within this body we give the site of the company a special place. This element of the corporate identity plays a key role. It is therefore vital for the development of a Web page to be done in accordance with the standards that have been built parallel to the group. That is to say, the group of elements of a corporate identity shares design premises that bond them together and allow all of them to convey the same message. The companyfs site must, therefore, be developed sticking to this criterion to avoid moving away from the created groupfs logic and confusing the receptor thus prejudicing the image of the company. The choice of colors, textures, typographies, text, images, etc. is essential for the process and it is something that should be paid careful attention.
Interaction: this is the particular and distinctive feature of a Web site with respect to other design elements. The Website is the only design element that is not reduced to sending a message to the public it can also receive a response from it and in turn answer it back: thus communication begins and this element becomes interactive. A fluid communication between the company and its public will enable the former to know the interests, wishes, tastes, desires, goals and doubts of consumers. This knowledge is priceless for a company and even more if it is planning to carry out a market research or a marketing camping. This knowledge will result in new and greater sales for the company.