The viewer will discover five key benefits of performing research before beginning any design process.
- [Instructor] Design without research is like decorating a room without knowing what the room will be used for, or the kinds of people who will use it. It's just not practical, and it's a huge waste of time and resources. Ever heard the phrase form follows function? The idea behind it is that how something looks should be informed by what it is used for. The term comes from the field of architecture in the twentieth century, but it's long been co-opted by other fields, like graphic design, interior design, and industrial design to name a few.
Before a web designer even begins working on a concept, he or she should surely research the client's business, their target audience, and their competition, along with exploring and understanding the project's goals. Only then should the designer attempt to create a moodboard, or get to work creating a wireframe, a prototype, or a mockup for the design. All of the aesthetic decisions should support the project's goals in some unique and visually pleasing manner. Here are five key benefits of performing research before beginning any design process.
First, performing research can give the designer insight into a field they may be unfamiliar with. Second, research can identify key competitors, from which ideas of what works and what doesn't work can be gleaned, and use as a guide for elements to include or avoid. Third, research can help identify industry color palettes, textures, patterns, styles, typography, and image usage. Fourth, research can be used to build a target buyer or user personas, which can then be used to understand the needs, habits, interests, and preferences of site visitors.
All of these bits of information can be converted into aesthetic elements within the design, such as larger fonts, bigger buttons, and colors with sufficient contrast. Fifth, research can focus the designer's attention on key areas of a design based on the project's goals. For instance, if the main goal is to increase conversions within a specific timeframe, then the pathway to making purchases needs to be clear and focused within the design layout. Research like this now generally falls under the purview of the UX, or user experience career path, which exploded around 2007, and has been growing swiftly ever since.
You will also hear UX, or user experience field referred to as UXD, UED, and XD. With the knowledge and insight that research provides, the designer can then create a design where form follows function. Some designers begin with the moodboard, wireframe, or prototype, while others get right to the work. Whichever method you prefer, your design will likely make better sense when the look of the site matches its purpose.
To learn more about this exciting new field, check out these courses in our library. There is UX Research Fundamentals, with Amanda Stockwell, Foundations of UX: Prototyping, with James Williamson, And Foundations of UX: Content Strategy, with Morten Rand-Hendrickson.
- Understanding aesthetics
- Picking harmonious colors
- Structuring your layout
- Using space to organize your design
- Communicating with the right fonts
- Aligning objects to achieve balance
- Adding movement with scrolling and animation
- Achieving proportion by scaling objects and text
- Creating CSS for different devices