272 Part III: Designing Sites for Long-Term Success The World Wide Web is in fact a global environment, with many languages as well as religions, customs, and ways of life. Creating visually stimulating designs that work for your clients no matter how near or far they might be requires an understanding of a variety of practices: excellent Web graphic design skills and an awareness of the psychology of color and space. While this chapter can t make you a designer, it can point out some of the most critical issues of the day and provide solutions to some of the more problematic issues with visual design and Web sites. Secret #184: Visual Design and Site Intent Your site svisual design must always match the intent of your site.We vediscussed a lot about how to define intent and goals, as well as how to define your audience. By doing that very important preliminary work (and occasional re-evaluations of the same), you should be able to clearly define exactly what it is your site does and what it is you want your site visitors to do once they get there. I refer to this relationship as appropriate site design, because you want the visual design to appropriately meet your goals and your audience s needs. Unfortunately, many jump in and start designing without working through these considerations. The lack of preliminary work can result in flawed sites. Other problems can include the following: Designers designing for themselves Designers having to accommodate the whims of superiors who often want a feature that is inappropriate to the site Clients wanting to determine the site s visual design according to their tastes and not the audience s Frustrating scenarios, but certainly all of us have run into these problems. So, how do you solve them? Certainly, in a well-run project (see Chapter 2, Managing Your Web Project ) the majority of these problems should be solved, right from the start. If you re on your own, make sure that you do a comprehensive assessment of the situation, and explain to your clients the choices you are making and why. Finding the right balance and keeping interferences at bay are no easy tasks, and there is no single answer. It is up to the designer to weigh the issues within design. The use of color, type, iconography space, size, and proximity of objects and text content must be balanced between the need to properly serve your audience and help them achieve what they came to your site to do. Secret #185: Defining and Maintaining Your Brand A brand is the means by which your company or organization is identified. This can be in the form of its name, such as IBM, or its memorable logo, such as GE, or a slogan, such as It s the real thing ,which most readers will know is Coca- Cola.
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