In this installment, the aim is to give design inspiration that can help direct a future corporate web design project. It could be said that one of the things that we lack most as a society is the energy to consistently think creatively. For that reason, and a general lack of time, innovation is at a premium. The line of reasoning that leads companies to copy rather than reinvent the wheel is both a blessing and a curse. If there is another school of thought on design, it might be that copying is the best form of flattery. A backer of this philosophy might ask:
“where else might we get these ideas?”
It is somewhere between these lines of reasoning that I think the design process should exist. You don’t have to be an expert to notice a snippet of an interior design that struck you, or have a degree in graphic arts to notice that a certain out-of-place smudge just doesn’t look right.
Consumers have the experience of being offered products and services on a daily basis, filtering out noise, and seldom being compelled to act, oftentimes out of these general consumer category areas:
* Predicament * Problem * Passion
Predicament – A consumer walking the street with no prior plans, might happen onto a hipster-looking bistro, smell a waft of mushrooms, instantly realize a hunger urge, and decide to grab a bite for lunch.
Problem – A new father might search for a pair of noise-canceling headphones to drown out the constant din of his precious newborn baby girl.
Passion – A mother of 3 lovely children may take up crafting, and everything craft-related because of an insatiable urge to preserve amazing memories.
For a team designing a corporate website, it pays to acknowledge which category of business you fall under in order to identify your design approach. There are many different ways to determine whether your audience is responding to the value that you are providing, but the constant should be to increase your awareness of, and to improve what you have.
Sometimes the best way to improve is to get the creative juices flowing with some inspiration, followed by a bit of customization, and finish up by catering to your audience. The following examples won’t even begin to span the spectrum of industry-specific sites, or even company categories, but they may serve to guide you in a particular direction.
The goal of this exercise has a few indirect purposes:
* To train your estimation of which consumer category is being served
* To refine your identification and categorization of current design trends
* To help you ask better questions concerning the goal of design features
* To determine the added value of additional features
The point concerning the value of additional features should be stressed, because more often than not, adding extra bells and whistles does more to harm desired actions than help them.
Keep in mind that this is not a popularity contest, and that these examples do not represent any design standard; rather, that each industry example displays principles that a consensus of consumers and experts agree to be pleasing designs.
Software App Website Design
Lawyer Site Design Inspiration
Web Design for Doctors, Healthcare, Dentists, and Orthodontists
Restaurant Web Design Inspiration
Web Design for Real Estate and Mortgage Brokers
College & University Website Design
Web Design for Gyms and Fitness Centers
We examined a critical aspect of the design process: inspiration. With the goal of approaching our corporate design from a consumer category angle, we dove into what our consumer might be looking for, as well as how the design might accomplish that goal.
Actually performing the exercise of browsing websites in different industries does the job of training our awareness of similarities surrounding what level of design might be expected from our consumer.
From here you will be better prepared to communicate with your design team, ask better questions, and filter out those website features that may not add themselves to the end goals your company has in mind.