What is Web Design and Why is it important?

In this post we’ll tackle what web design is and why it’s important to almost every business and designer out there in today’s digital world.

Rachel Hurry

Websites haven’t been around that long - in fact, the first website was published in 1991, and since then over a billion unique sites have made their way onto the internet. But in those short thirty-odd years, the world of websites and their purpose has changed and evolved extensively.

What is web design?

“Web design” in basic terms, refers to the process of organising information and visuals in a beautiful, interesting and user-friendly way. It usually involves rigorous planning and an artful balance of structure and creativity.

The craft of web design as a whole includes various practical aspects, often fulfilled by different people - Strategy, planning and research, static design and development to name a few. “Full-stack” designers are those wonderful unicorns who can do it all - if you find one, look after them and if you are one, say hi?

The components of Web Design broken down into basics:

  1. UX (user experience) and strategy: The planning part of a website - this involves understanding who is going to be using the website and how they will navigate the online space to find what it is they are looking for. Over and above that, it also considers what a business or individual might need the website to achieve. We call this “website goals” or “desired outcome”.

Web Design planning process

  1. Graphic Design & Image creation: A part of the process often overlooked - a truly custom website will require certain graphic elements to be created. This can be anything from icons to fully fleshed out illustrations - it depends entirely on the brand. This component can also be outsourced to a specialist illustrator or designer, but it is a vital part of the overall web design process.

An example of graphics and image creation for Flux Academy’s website

  1. Static Design: The part where a designer will bring together all the graphics, content and imagery for a website inside a tool like Figma or Adobe XD and create “mockups” of what the end pages of the website will look like.
Wireframing and static design in figma. Source: Strala Design

The difference between design and development:

A necessary segue - often design and development are muddled together and confused to be the same thing. So, what’s the difference?

Web design:

This refers to the visual side of the website creation process - the part of the job that includes the laying out of information, imagery and the planning of how a user might interact with a website - this is what we’re talking about in this blog post. We also have a FREE introductory course on YouTube to Web Design which you can check out below:

Web development:

This is the more functional side of the process and includes the actual building of the design onto a system that guarantees the site will actually work. There are many ways to develop websites these days - one of our favorites is Webflow of course. We recently posted a video on our Youtube channel talking about how much you can earn developing sites in Webflow. Check it out below:

Why is Web Design so important?

In today’s world, websites are about so much more than just aesthetics or being an online “shop window” for businesses. Now, websites need to function as multi-faceted marketing & sales tools that connect to an audience and allow companies to grow their businesses on auto-pilot.

No matter who you are; if you run a business, a marketing team, or if you’re a creative, you’ll more than likely come to a point where you need a website, or someone tells you you need one and it’s time to work out how and why.

So, let’s go over some of the reasons the design part of the website process is absolutely key.

First impressions matter - Strong design can drastically improve your credibility within seconds and help customers remember you.

The reality is, as visual and sensory beings, first impressions make a really big impact on how we make decisions. Every human cares about design. They might not know it - but each of us is influenced by visuals, and naturally attracted to good design, even if on a sub-conscious level. Good design is what facilitates natural and enjoyable experiences, both online and offline. As Jared Spool, expert on the subjects of usability, software, design, and research once said:

“Good design, when done well, should be invisible.”

More and more research is proving that buying decisions are made on a gut level based on visuals first - and justified with logic and reason later.

💡 75% of users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on visual design alone (Source)

If your potential clients and customers are exploring the web in search of a service or product similar to yours and they find your website, you want to ensure that their experience represents the quality of what you offer. If your site’s design is outdated, unclear and difficult to use you’re telling the world that’s how you run your business. If your design is strong, on-brand and enjoyable you are far more likely to keep users on your site and turn them into paying customers.

Engagement & Ranking

It’s not so much what great design can do for your success online, but the damage bad design can do to your credibility, engagement and ranking online. Even if a user is loyal and determined to engage with your brand, bad design and user experience can result in losing up to 1/3 of your potential customers.

💡 38% of people will stop engaging with your website if your content and layout is unattractive (Source)

Personality and Competitive advantage

Beyond what great design does for your metrics, when done well, your website’s design is where your brand really comes together. It’s one of the few places (if you’re an online or service based business) where potential customers will experience your voice, vision, personality and value all at the same time.

It’s a unique opportunity to really tell the story of who you are and where you fit within the industry. Great design can help users tell you apart from the competition - whether it’s through color, illustrations or the way your copy is crafted and laid out.

It gives you a chance to show the world you brand’s personality and character, and in turn will serve to engage and attract like-minded customers who want to buy from your brand because of how familiar and aligned it feels.

You can use all the marketing tools in the world and pump thousands into campaigns but if your users don’t feel connected to your brand’s personality and the visual representation of that, they definitely wont be coming back!

With all that in mind, why should creatives and designers consider going into web design as a career? Is the industry too saturated? Why become a Web Designer?

Relevance and a dynamic, ever-changing industry

Websites aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They are still one of the only online platforms a business can have almost full control over (social media can be subject to algorithms and trends) and they are considered a premium marketing tool, often carrying a high price tag.

Web Design is one of the most relevant and sought-after skills in the digital industry and will continue on this path for years to come. In fact, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), if you start in web design today, you’ll have 8% job growth over the next 10 years and if you join an agency, you can expect a higher starting salary compared to other professions.

With that being said, it’s also one of those skills that allows you to build your own business and go freelance if that’s what tickles your fancy.

Independence and a wide range of opportunity

As a web designer, you can pretty much work from anywhere. As long as you have great internet connection and a good laptop or computer you can make it as a web designer (👉 Check out our “Web Design: Becoming a Professional” Course if you want learn how to design websites clients will love)

Web design is a craft that has relevance in every industry. You have the chance to make a difference in companies of all sizes - from small mom and pops to large corporate companies. Web design is and will continue to be an important and necessary skill for the online success of businesses.

Break free of physical limitations & work on a global scale

Because of the nature of web design as a career, as mentioned above, you can really work from anywhere. But not just that, you can work with clients ALL OVER THE WORLD. You can earn foreign currencies and play on a global scale.

For the most part, web design is a globally recognised and appreciated skill, meaning you don’t need special certifications to work with clients in other countries. Design is design (at least in its purest form).

We are proud to have students in our Web Design: Becoming a Professional course who have managed to break free from difficult financial situations by becoming web designers and developers. It’s a career full of possibility and freedom.

Learn the art and strategy of high-value web design

Wrapping up with a quick summary; web design is an absolutely vital part of growing a business online. Not only will great design help to establish a strong first impression for potential customers, but it’ll keep them engaged and interested in the content, eventually converting them into loyal, paying customers.

As a designer, web design is one of the most important skillsets you can have and one of the most relevant career paths of the digital era. The industry is growing and will continue to do so for many years into the future.

Whether you’re looking to outsource the design of your next website to a professional or you’re considering a career in web design - you’re investing into the future.

For more on web design, freelancing and Webflow check out Flux’s Youtube Channel or if you’re looking to really hone your skills and dig into the world of web design specifically, enrol in our Web Design: becoming a Professional Course here.

Over 2000 students have taken the course so far and are loving it. Find out what some of them have said here.