Listening to Michelle Schulp at WordCamp Chicago talk about how a website that is designed well, not just beautiful. Part of this discussion will be for business owners and part for designers. So, if you do have questions as a website owner please make sure to ask.

Design is about Problem-Solving. Design is not for the the designer, not art, and not for your customer. The following sites are

sites that serve a purpose, but are not traditionally great designs.

Google Website Screenshot

Google-is very simple and minimalist, but a very effective site.

Lings Car Screenshot

Ling won an award for the worst designed site, but make millions of dollars.

Good web design is about solving the problem. What we like is irrelevant, because it has to make sense in context of it’s audience.

Our goals as website owners and designers is to make sure that we convert a feeling about the color and look of a logo or background color, and turn it into goals. Then we add that along with the budget, and a complete design process.

Design a website is like Jazz, you have a beat to what works in the site.  This is the process she uses.

Good way to do this is to have a gray screen prototype and a white screen prototype.

The Grayscreen Prototype is a functional site that has no visual elements, and address the general layout of the site. Use WordPress themes helps with these prototypes.

Design: Style Tiles-Addressing the different graphics styles for the site. Looking solely at colors and graphics that can be added to the site.

Design: Style Guides-start putting everything together.

Design Specific Graphics-This is where we set up the different graphics that we need for the client.

WhiteScreen Prototype: Full functionality with plugins and development. Need customer sign off from client.  Content creation should be created at this time as well to fit the design of the site and fit with the structure.

Then you start using testing and design to make sure everything is working, and that the entire structure works together with the users.

Design adds value to the client by elaborating their business strategies.

Here is Michelle’s LinkedIn Page. The slides from the presentation are below for clarification of her discussion.