Functional Design - Useful UX

Great website designers know that the end product is more than just the design. Design is important. We all want sites that people talk about for their quality and visual appeal, but there is an aspect that is much more than visual and that is the User Experience (UX). Fantastic web designs can be rendered utterly useless if it is impossible to navigate or find the content that you are looking for. Here we find what separates good designers from the great ones. So how can we have the best of both worlds?

Functional Design

Great designers are always thinking of you, the end user. They have a purpose for every item they place on the page. We call this Functional Design. It is more than just crafting something that looks great, it is designing something that will benefit the end user at every possible avenue. Design with purpose. Nothing makes it in if it doesn't serve a greater purpose. Adding unique artistic touches can make a big impression, but functionality still must be the first concern. After all, you're not paying for an amazing picture of a website you could have, you're paying for one that you will have and you want it to work just as good as it looks.

Direction

The best designers know how to direct you. They pull your attention to the most important aspects of the site and they use those "less important" pieces to get you there. I say less important cautiously. I do not mean they are purposely placing unimportant things in the design. There are levels of importance, typically defined by you, the client, placed on individual pieces of content and great designers know how to leverage that content to get it to move forward. In the end it all becomes a very important process. A successful design is one that gently nudges the user onto the correct path, be it through the main menu, links in  the content or very specific calls to action. 

In the end this is the kind of design you want. It is a design that not only looks great, but it works great. It is a design with purpose where nothing is useless. It is one that can assist your end users every step of the way in finding the content that they want and need. Do not settle for half a design that only looks good. Get the whole package and make sure your end result is just as functional as it is beautiful.