A Well Optimised Website Or A Well Designed Website: Which Is More Important?
When building a website it's important to consider both the design and the functionality of the website. Both will play a big role in portraying the way you will be seen by your traffic and they can both make or break your website, but which is more important?
What Is Website Optimisation?
Website Optimisation could mean a variety of things but in the case of this article, it refers to the usability and responsiveness of your website.
Website optimisation is all about making your website easy to use and a positive experience for your visitors. This includes features such as:
- Fast load speeds
- Mobile responsiveness
- Alt-text for all images
- Clear, easy to read text
- Proper spelling and grammar
- Fully working interactive features
- Easy website navigation
- Much more
When a website lacks these important aspects, it can easily drive traffic away by failing to give them a satisfying viewing experience and they will soon look to other websites that are better able to give them a positive interaction.
A big part of website optimisation is ensuring that it is accessible. This means that it is accessible for users that have disabilities or have limitations in what they can do online. Visitors with visual impairments may struggle to read small text so you should make sure your text is a good size. Users that have a poor internet connection have the option of turning off images in order to reduce load times. This is why alt-text is crucial for your images. As well as making your website optimised, having an accessible website will raise your SEO score.
What Is Website Design?
Website design refers to the visuals of your website and the way in which it's structured. Designs can vary massively from bold, simplistic visuals to colourful, animated websites, and the style of design you choose will portray many different tones. Design is especially important as this is where your brand is shown. The colours, graphics, logo and theme all need to reflect you’re branding both in style and message.
If you want to give off a professional, corporate image your website should reflect that by using a simple, white theme with large, high-resolution images and bold heading. If you want to show the fun and creativity your business stands for try using a fun, colourful design with animations and graphics that pop out.
Design is what people see when they first arrive on your website so it's the first impression you give. And we all know that first impressions are important.
How Do They Differ?
This may seem like an obvious question but these two aspects of your website actually overlap more than you might think. Take a look at the graphic below to see a breakdown of the features each controls:
The majority of the features that overlap do so due to accessibility. Any content that is added, whether it be image, text or video, needs to first be optimised to allow for users with limitations. Text font is important as it will affect branding, business message and readability. The layout of your page will be heavily influenced by the amount of content and the stress it can put on loading speeds. Navigation should be both visually pleasing and simple.
Which Is More Important?
If you load up a website that works perfectly, loads instantly, interacts exactly as you'd expect but has boring or off-putting design it would make the highly optimised website useless as no one would stick around to use it. Likewise, if your website was stunning to look at and invoked the perfect feeling for your brand but took minutes to load and was difficult to navigate people would grow frustrated and leave.
This is why it's important to have a balance between being useful and practical. Your website should consider both aspects of a website and strive to find the perfect middle. Together, they will work to create a website that people love to use.