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How much time and effort should go into designing a site?

The design of a website is important in that you want to make sure it is customer friendly. A website owner will experience several stages of understanding, just like grades in school. First Grade would be the jewelry store owner who is setting up their first website. They want to design it themselves, usually modeling it after another website they have seen. Imagine a child in a store pointing to a a toy saying "I want that!" The child does not have a true understanding if the toy is good for them or not. The child wants something fun to play with whereas the parent wants to make sure it's fun and educational.

The jewelry business is a very visual business. Thoughts of fire and brilliance abound all the time. Jewelry store owners usually want to control what their website looks like, down to the location of that very last period of the headline on the page. This type of control will usually delay the design process, and I've seen the design process extend for months, through 40 or more various mock-up designs before a choice was made. This is a waste of time and money. We refuse to let our customers request more than 7 mock-up designs of a website before moving into the programming phase. If we cannot help them with 7 designs then it's clear to us that they need to learn more using their website as a customer service tool before they continue wasting our time.

Every jewelry store owner I know that has gone through more than 8 mock-up designs will end up with a website they are not satisfied with, and they will complain about it after the site is live for several months. When I say "every" I really do mean EVERY one without fail that has had 8 or more mock-ups.

The design of a website should include a layout build using human heuristic studies, yet still include ascetics. Trust the design of your website to the experienced designer you hire, and don't try to control every last position of words and graphics. Here's a rule of thumb to remember: If your website takes more than 4 weeks in the design phase you need to stop and educate yourself before continuing, and please don't blame the designer for not creating something that you can't fully articulate on your own. The design of a website is never set in stone, and it should be changed every 18 months or so as technology changes. Don't waste months of time designing something that will be out of date before it even goes live.

The best recommendation is to simply purchase a website design template from a 3rd party design house. The cost usually starts at $62. Pick one you like. Just change the colors and the photos, but not the layout. Then get that website live as fast as possible, you have customers waiting at their keyboard to open your store!
Confused and worried about your mobile website options? Click here to find out how to get your own website evaluation and a game plan to make it better.

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AT: 11/13/2009 08:23:19 AM   LINK TO THIS ARTICLE

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