Are web templates making you lose sight of your goals?
“Man, he is constantly growing, and when he’s bound from a set of pattern or ideas on how to do things, that’s when he stops growing.” – Bruce Lee
Whenever you need to create or redesign your website, it’s very important to keep control of the process and keep focus on the final result you want.
Since naturally all of us want to save time and nobody is trying to reinvent the wheel –unless you are in the wheel business, or you’re me– it’s been a while that many companies have been adopting design templates for their web presence. Nothing wrong with it per say, but when you do so, it’s paramount to make sure you don’t let the attractiveness of the designs you find, change your initial vision.
When looking for templates, it’s very easy to get excited about what you see, and change your project based on the designs you find available; but oftentimes this will not help your cause.
Let’s look at the good ol’ process to create or redesign your website (simplified version):
- Understand your goals
- Figure out your message
- Produce your content (or determine your content structure)
- Think about the different ways your audience will get in touch with your website
- Think about the path you would like your visitors to follow, before, during, and after landing on your website.
- Design your website according to these criteria, starting from a blank page.
What usually happens when the template becomes your starting point:
- See a design you like (with other content in it)
- Think about what you could write or what media you could use to fit in that design
- Produce media according to the design
- Keep potentially distracting elements you would not have used otherwise
- Realize the template you are using is not helping you maximizing the value of your traffic
- Try to modify the template
- Realize it would have been easier to start fresh with another design
- Back to point 1.
Your web design should always be a result of your strategy, not your strategy a result of your web design.
So, how can you use templates and never loose control of your goals?
- Define the message and the requirements for your website, before looking for templates or any other similar examples.
- Keep in mind the standards your website should have and the ones it doesn’t have to (article on this coming soon, stay tuned).
- Decide what you would like your users to do before, during, and after visiting on your website.
- What elements do you necessarily need on your page?
- What elements are not needed or even worse, distract your users from performing the actions you want them to perform?
- Stick to your plan
- Find a good template that fits the bill (article coming soon)