Web design is the field of design devoted to the development of Internet sites. Through the application of the same graphic design tools plus adding other more specific ones, Web design builds a company Web page that will end up being a great and complex symbol. As any field of design applied to companies, Web design does not create messages, ideas or things to be conveyed, rather it creates the symbols that will back up the information willing to be transmitted to the public.
It may be difficult, but it is doubtlessly important to be able to see a Web site as an interactive and functional element as well as a sign: a great sign composed of several elements.
Web design targets Internet pages, reason why we want to focus on them. How does a Web site work? Web sites have three major functions: presentation, creation, and interaction. We will now explain each of them.
Presentation: given the colossal market growth and the proliferation of new companies, it can be said that the market presents a chaotic business geography: the location and recognition of a company becomes a titanic task. As a talkative grandfather would say, it used to be different, and each community recognized as its own the company that worked in their region. They knew its workers, its owners and of course, its building. This no longer happens: there is a clear division between companies and communities and recognition of a company is done through its public advertising presentations. What we call “public advertising presentations” is nothing more than each and every element composing the corporate identity. As companies seized to be recognized as companies through their material elements such as buildings or the people composing them. Companies are now an abstraction, an idea, something incorporeal. This is certainly not strictly like this: companies are an abstraction in the minds of consumers, not in reality. However, it is also true that the only thing that matters is how consumers see the business. Therefore, it will be best to offer the public a material element to get hold of in order to clearly think of the company that is represented by that element and for it to be fully recognized as a company. In the list of material elements representing a company and composing its corporate identity the corporate Logo takes the first place. This is so important given its indispensable, foundational and fundamental nature. However, very close to the Logo we can find the company’s Web site, that great sign that represents it in the market giving it its existence. As we have said, companies have become abstract and the public consumer no longer knows its premises.
Consequently, is there anything better than offering the public a new building representing the company? This time, it will be a rather more abstract building, something closer to what the public has in mind. Thus, it will no longer be a building made of bricks, it will rather be made of graphic tools creating virtual company premises. The Web site will become the new customer service office, an office that will not be reached by car or train, it will be reached through Internet search engines, instead.
Creation: the site of a company works not only as the new customer service offices but also, and from another perspective, as an element of corporate identity. The chromatic composition, textures, typography introduced in a company’s site will cooperate deeply in the creation of a solid corporate identity. All the components of a corporate image start with the Logo foundation and so hav to do the Web page. However, each type of design has its own and distinctive features that must be respected without stepping out of the standards that create a ONE AND UNIQUE message out of all the integrating elements. We must be very careful especially when we are dealing with a Web site. The standards that unite all the elements of the corporate identity are not something given once and for all they are, instead, something that is created out of the reassurance of the criterion (the standards) with the appearance of every new element. Let’s suppose a new catalogue with company offers largely escapes the criterion.
What happens? Probably the receiver notices that it is out of step with all prior public presentations of the company and thus throws the handout away and does not give it greater importance. However, if this happens with the Web site, the receptor may get confused and may believe to have misunderstood the message he thought correct before. This happens because the importance of each component is very different. If a handout fails, it does not mean anything to the receptor because he knows that the handout does not represent the company; it does only in an insignificant way. On the contrary, if the Web site fails, the receptor will not think that there has been a mistake in such an important component rather, he will think the mistake is his. The consequences of this could be tragic.
Interaction: it is the distinctive feature of Web design with respect to other fields of design. Web sites convey a corporate message as the remaining elements of the corporate identity do, but the Internet page has a double information entry. From the corporate Logo to any handout, the message moves in only one direction: from the company to the public. In a site matters change, the company sends a message to the public but also receives answers and has in turn the chance of answering. The Web site creates interaction with the public, it helps the company know it more thoroughly, know its interests, tastes, objections and it allows users to shape the message they receive from the company.
That is to say, in an Internet page there is no need to look at everything there is but merely what interests us and this is a chance given only by Web sites.
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