Digital markets have experienced significant growth and dominance by a few companies and their platforms, raising concerns about competition, consumer choice, and data access. To address these issues, both the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have introduced regulatory reforms.
The EU has implemented the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA), while the UK has proposed the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill (DMCCB) and the Online Safety Bill.
We’ll look at the regulatory approaches taken by the EU and UK, highlighting similarities and differences in scope, applicability, the importance of consent and how to get started with compliance.
Data privacy regulations in the European Union
The Digital Markets Act applies to companies designated as “gatekeepers” by the European Commission. Gatekeepers are the owners and providers of what the Commission identified as core platform services (CPS), such as search engines, social networking services, video-sharing platforms, and cloud computing services.
Companies designated as gatekeepers must carry out self-assessments to determine that they have met and continue to meet both quantitative and qualitative criteria. The list of gatekeepers may grow or change over time based on these criteria.
The quantitative criteria include a minimum annual turnover of €7.5 billion in the EU and at least 45 million active monthly users on the relevant platform or service in the last three financial years. Qualitative criteria consider the impact, importance, and market position of the CPS provider.
The DMA’s requirements are similar in many respects to those of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but are broader in some ways, addressing additional access to and uses of end users’ personal data.
Data privacy regulations in the United Kingdom
The Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”) covers the general processing of personal data in the UK and came into force on 25 May 2018, just before the EU GDPR took effect.
Following the end of the Brexit Transition Period, the EU GDPR became part of UK law through the European Union Withdrawal Agreement, and the Data Protection, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2019 (Exit Regulations).
The EU GDPR gave rise to the UK GDPR, which came into force on January 1, 2021, as the EU GDPR no longer protected UK citizens’ data. It includes the provisions of the EU GDPR with only minimal changes to the core principles, rights and obligations for data protection.
The UK GDPR and the DPA 2018 (amended version) are now the principal data protection regulations in the UK. They require businesses to protect individuals’ data, obtain consent to collect and use it, and protect data subjects’ rights.
The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) implemented the EU’s ePrivacy Directive (Directive 2002/58/EC) and sets out privacy rights relating to electronic communications. The PECR came into force in 2003 and .
The “British DMA”: Enter the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill (DMCCB)
The DMCCB applies to digital commercial operations in the UK or affecting the UK market, which are deemed to have Strategic Market Status (SMS). The definition of a digital activity is broad and includes any service provided via the internet.
To qualify as an SMS, a firm must meet criteria such as conducting a digital activity linked to the UK, having substantial market power, and holding a position of strategic significance. Turnover thresholds of £25 billion global turnover and/or £1 billion UK turnover are also considered.
Obligations and requirements
European Union: Digital Markets Act
The DMA imposes various behavioral obligations on gatekeepers. These include allowing third-party interoperability, granting access to user-generated data, promoting fair competition, and prohibiting preferential treatment of the gatekeeper’s services.
Gatekeepers must appoint compliance officers and submit annual compliance reports to the Commission.
Additionally, gatekeepers are required to inform the Commission about mergers (any “intended concentration” irrespective of whether they’re notifiable under the EU Merger Regulation or national merger rules. (DMA Art. 14.).
United Kingdom: Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill
Strategic Market Status (SMS) firms in the UK will be subject to strict behavioral obligations under the DMCCB. These obligations revolve around fair trading, open choices, trust, and transparency.
The specific requirements will be tailored by the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) and the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the regulatory bodies overseeing the DMCCB and the Online Safety Bill, respectively.
SMS firms must also report proposed acquisitions meeting certain thresholds to the DMU.
EU vs. UK processes
European Union: (Digital Markets Act)
The EU’s legislative-driven model designates gatekeepers based on size and imposes behavioral expectations through regulation. The European Commission develops and enforces these requirements for compliance from gatekeepers.
United Kingdom: Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill (DMCCB)
The UK’s approach involves more regulatory discretion. The DMU and Ofcom determine if a company has Strategic Market Status and tailor specific remedies accordingly. This approach allows for a more flexible and tailored oversight of digital platforms.
In the UK, both the DMU and Ofcom adopt a participatory regulation approach. This means regulators work closely with target companies to develop behavioral expectations and codes that can be enforced. The companies conduct their own Duty of Care analysis, which is reviewed by regulators that provide guidance and work collaboratively to define behavioral codes.
This means that beyond what’s defined by the two regulations, gatekeepers and SMS are required to determine their own privacy requirements to apply to third-party businesses using their services.
The importance of consent management for EU, EEA and UK companies
While both the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the United Kingdom’s Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (DMCCB) emphasize the significance of obtaining user consent for data processing activities, there may be variations in specific requirements and implementation.
To address these differences and get ready for data privacy compliance, follow these steps:
1. Understand the regulations
Familiarize yourself with the specific consent requirements outlined in both the DMA and DMCCB. Identify any variations in terms of lawful bases for processing, explicit consent, and additional obligations.
2. Assess your website or online platform’s data processing
Assess your organization’s data processing practices and identify any areas of noncompliance. Scan your website and check its degree of GDPR compliance.
3. Implement a leading European consent solution
Choose a consent management platform that enables GDPR and ePrivacy-compliant user consent collection and signaling for DMA compliance. Ensure that the CMP provides features such as granular consent options, secure recordkeeping, and user-friendly interfaces.
4. Customize consent banners
Tailor the consent banners displayed on your website or online platform to meet the specific requirements of each regulation. Provide clear information about data processing activities, purpose specification, and the ability to manage preferences.
6. Train your team
Educate your staff about the nuances of both regulations and the proper implementation of consent management. Ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities in obtaining and managing user consent.
The UK and EU regulatory initiatives are creating de facto global digital risk management standards, by taking significant steps to regulate digital markets and addressing concerns related to market dominance, competition, consumer choice, and data access.
While the EU has implemented the DMA and DSA, the UK is in the process of enacting the DMCCB and the Online Safety Bill. The approaches differ in some aspects, but there’s a shared goal of promoting fair competition and protecting consumer interests.
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- Read our comparison between Sitecore and WordPress here.
- Read our comparison between Drupal and WordPress here.
- Quality Assurance Testing
- Migration and Launch.
- Website Data
- Target Audience
- Industry Landscape
- Your target audience now has a shorter attention span, and less patience when browsing websites and services online
- Your target audience also has more choice of options than ever before when choosing who to buy from.
31 January, 2023
SoBold launches bespoke online platform that is considered a “game-changer” for global financial services firm
SoBold, the High-Performance WordPress design and development agency, has delivered an industry-first portal for Rede Partners, a private equity fundraising advisory firm that provides fundraising services to PE funds across Europe, North America and the APAC region.
This bespoke portal, built on the WordPress platform, allows institutional investors to navigate upcoming funds advised by the placement agent.
Rede approached SoBold wanting to create a better user experience and improve fundraising outcomes for its customers. Rede wanted to achieve this by replacing its ‘Current Fund Offering’ mailout and PDF with an interactive, personalised, and secure online portal. Rede and SoBold worked in close collaboration to devise a simple, bespoke solution capable of delivering on a complex set of requirements, and that online portal soon became RedeWire.
RedeWire was fully integrated with Rede’s CRM system, Dealcloud, passing back data on user interactions and page views, allowing the team to follow up with interested clients.
RedeWire has been built fully personalisable for users, meaning that limited Partners are able to set all their preferences on first login, and through their account, allowing them to tailor the funds they see on their fund offering dashboard.
As part of the RedeWire platform, SoBold also designed and developed a bespoke front-end editing and approval interface to digitalise their offline fund approval process. This process has enabled Rede Partners and their clients to send out live previews of how a fund will appear on RedeWire, gather real-time comments, or make fully audited edits to a page’s content before submitting it for approval and publication on the RedeWire portal.
RedeWire has now launched to Rede’s full customer base and initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The platform has already seen a high number of account activations and interactions within its first full week of use.
SoBold and Rede will continue to work together to develop RedeWire’s capabilities further and improve the portal’s user experience. SoBold will provide ongoing support to manage the platform and deliver enhancements on a monthly basis.
You can read more on our working relationship with Rede Partners here.
Gabrielle Joseph, Head of Due Diligence and Client Development for Rede Partners said,
“The SoBold team has been a real pleasure to work with and has successfully made our vision a reality. Originally conceived as a game-changer within our industry, we are thrilled with the outcome of RedeWire and have had several clients highlight how intuitive and easy-to-use the platform is.”
“Throughout the project, SoBold clearly understood our vision and provided thoughtful solutions to our needs. Choosing to partner with this team was one of the best decisions we’ve made, and we couldn’t be happier. We look forward to continuing to work with the team as the site evolves.”
Will Newland, Managing Director, SoBold said,
“We’re delighted to see such high early adoption of the new platform. The user feedback has been excellent so far, and this is the first of its kind in the private equity space, creating a personalised experience. We’re continuing to roll out enhancements on a monthly basis and can’t wait to grow the platform further.”
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28 February, 2023
Seven Simple but Effective Tips to Improve the Usability of Your Website
Providing your website’s visitors with a great user experience (UX) is a challenge. Especially for corporate websites that require sophisticated features and functionality, this can be an ongoing struggle. But it’s a challenge you need to solve if you want to stay relevant and remain competitive in today’s digital business landscape.
Usability is the measurement of how easy or difficult your website is to use for your audience. Good usability makes the experience of using your website as convenient and simple as possible for all your site’s visitors.
Despite the obvious value of this, usability is often neglected by businesses when building a website. That could be because you don’t have the time or budget to follow best practices, you don’t have the in-house design expertise, or you simply aren’t aware of just how important usability is today. Whatever the reason, you can’t afford to take the risk of releasing a site with a poor UX.
Understanding the Importance of Web Usability
You’d be amazed by how many websites these days fail to give their users an experience that delivers on their basic expectations. If your website falls in that category, poor usability may have an influence on whether your users adopt or reject your site. This could be the difference between a visitor abandoning a poorly designed page or sticking around and converting to become a customer.
So, how do you ensure your website doesn’t end up on this ever-growing list of failures?
The key is to focus on your users’ needs, and put yourself in their shoes when planning, designing, and developing your site.
Even if your site isn’t customer-facing, good usability is also crucial for internal systems. Employees are users too, and their adoption – or rejection – of your technology will also have an impact on your business.
This is easier said than done, we know. That’s why we’ve provided a selection of tips and advice to help you overcome this challenge.
How to Improve the Usability of Your Website
1 – Keep it Simple
Whenever you’re thinking about UX, always follow the rule that simplicity is best. If a website has a design or functionality that’s complicated, its usability will suffer. Try to keep things as simple as possible at all times.
2 – Nail the Fundamentals
While some design choices, like colour and font, can be argued as subjective, there are certain aspects of usability that are more objective. Getting the fundamentals right will help you ensure you’re delivering great usability.
For example, optimising your site to ensure its pages load quickly, organising your pages with proper headings and sub-headings, making sure clickable buttons and links stand out, avoiding making any text or touch-points too small, even providing clear, useful error messages, and so on.
3 – Adhere to Accessibility Guidelines
Usability shouldn’t be confused with accessibility. Accessibility’s purpose is to make all technology accessible and easy-to-use for everyone, equally, with a significant focus on those with disabilities and other difficulties.
To ensure your website meets the current requirements for accessibility, you need to follow a set of principles and standards known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), linked here.
If you’re working with an agency, they should have best practices for accessibility already incorporated into their approach. Make sure you check this anytime you’re evaluating agency partners for a website project.
4 – Learn from Experience
We’re all users of websites, and we all know how it feels to encounter a frustrating UX. Use your own experience of this to try and build empathy for your users and what they might like and dislike. Any time you come across a website that gives you a bad experience online, make note of this and ensure you don’t allow similar problems to creep into your own site.
5 – Don’t Make Assumptions
While the previous point is important, it’s also crucial to realise it’s not enough. Using your own experience will only get you so far and, in some cases, it could even cause additional problems.
Remember that usability is dependent on delivering for your target audience’ personal preferences when interacting with your website. It’s always risky to assume you know how your users think and feel.
Don’t make decisions about design and functionality without considering who the target users are and what they need from their experience. This leads us nicely into the next point.
6 – Test With Real Users
It’s always necessary to test the usability of your site with real people who are part of your target audience. The best way to ensure your website will provide a great UX is by asking real-life users to test it out, collect their input, and put that feedback into the final version. This is known as usability testing, which is a phase of the design and development process that every successful project requires.
7 – Know When to Ask for Help
All of these tips are helpful to be aware of, but for the average business they can be daunting and difficult to put into practice. That’s why the majority of large businesses with outstanding websites have worked alongside a specialist agency partner with expertise in user-centric design. To ensure your site has great usability, it’s often necessary to find the support of an agency who has proven experience delivering similar projects successfully.
Usability Should be a Priority
Usability is crucial to the success of any website, but it’s something most businesses are still struggling to get right. Ultimately, though, your users are the ones who will determine the success or failure of your investment.
You have to put yourself in their perspective when designing and developing your site, and that includes getting real people’s feedback and approval. Only then will you create something that meets your target audience’s expectations for speed, convenience, and simplicity.
If your website provides a clunky or frustrating UX, most users today won’t hesitate to go elsewhere rather than waiting around to complete their task on your site. If that task in question is purchasing a product or service, you’ll see that poor usability will eventually begin to have a negative impact on your business.
Following the tips and best practices listed in this article will help you avoid that trap and create a UX that’s better than most websites. Doing that will begin to drive positive outcomes like greater adoption rates, improved customer retention and loyalty, and a stronger return on investment.
To continue learning with a deeper dive into the topic of web usability, including more insight into its principles, additional guidance on design best practices, and current trends and future predictions, read our related article here.
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5 January, 2023
WordPress vs Umbraco – Comparing Both Content Management Systems
When you’re tasked with selecting a content management system (CMS) for your business, you’ll likely appreciate that the number of viable options available can make things complicated. From Drupal, to Umbraco, to WordPress, there are plenty of quality technology platforms to choose from.
But finding the CMS that’s most suitable for your specific business is an important process that requires careful consideration and a lot of research. Of course, devoting sufficient time to this can be difficult when you have dozens of other priorities on your mind.
To ease this challenge for you, this article will make the process of choosing between two popular CMSs much simpler. In this new content series, we’re providing direct, objective comparisons between some of the leading options for CMSs today.
This second article of the series will look at the comparison between Umbraco and WordPress, and you can find links to the rest of the articles in this series at the bottom of this page.
A CMS is a software-based technology platform upon which you can build and manage websites and applications. While most CMSs are similar in terms of their fundamental functionality, they each have varying levels of complexity and development requirements.
It’s important to start by noting that Umbraco is a platform intended specifically for developers with a certain level of technical proficiency.
When you first set up Umbraco, it won’t be approachable for the average marketing manager or any other non-technical users. Initially, much of the key functionality expected from a CMS will be missing. The purpose of this is to encourage you to spend time and money developing the platform. Often, this has been known to rule out Umbraco as a viable option for a lot of businesses.
To get full value out of Umbraco, you’ll almost certainly need to hire someone – either an agency partner or an in-house developer – to help you get things up and running.
Having said that, no matter which CMS you choose, you’ll be significantly better off working with a platform-specific web development agency supporting you. For most businesses, an agency plays a crucial role in helping you implement your new system and develop your site (but more on that later).
WordPress is the polar opposite of Umbraco, in the sense that it’s designed so that anyone – even if you have no previous content management experience – can use it easily. That’s why it’s the most popular CMS available today, with around 45% of all websites on the Internet built using the platform.
Almost everything you need to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of your website comes readily available in the software, making it much more suitable for a wider range of businesses.
This allows you to begin building immediately and facilitates a quick time-to-market for your websites and applications. WordPress’s rich, dynamic features that come pre-existing with the platform “out-of-the-box” are to thank for that.
Content Management and Usability
You should consider ease-of-use as a key indication of whether or not you want to invest in a CMS. If a CMS doesn’t offer simple, intuitive usability, you’re probably better off avoiding it.
As mentioned above, in its initial state, Umbraco can be very difficult to work with for the average user. It’s mostly intended for more technical users who have coding skills or some development experience to build the infrastructure.
However, once you’ve invested sufficient time and money into tailoring the platform to your own preferences, it becomes a great tool for publishing and editing content on a website. Umbraco has a wealth of features that allow you to create high quality websites and dynamic web pages.
On a side note, if you’re a Microsoft user, you’ll be pleased to see some similarities in the structure of Umbraco’s user interface (UI).
WordPress is far more straightforward when it comes to usability. It provides you with a convenient, efficient user interface (UI) that allows seamless publishing, management, and editing of content on your sites.
It’s simple editing content on a page-by-page basis in WordPress, which saves you valuable time, with a handy block-based design.
The ease-of-use makes it possible to share responsibilities across your team, even if some of you don’t have any previous experience with a CMS, unlike the more technical Umbraco platform.
Customisation with Umbraco
Umbraco is known for being highly customisable and flexible. It’s best used as a clean slate for developers to tailor to the business’s requirements. However, this isn’t easy to do for the average user.
As mentioned earlier, Umbraco isn’t suitable for the average CMS user in its initial state. Unlike most CMSs, you’re required to spend some time customising Umbraco in order to make it into a platform that’s approachable and easy-to-use. Once you’ve done that, however, Umbraco can become an excellent CMS with great content editing capabilities.
Customisation with WordPress
WordPress allows you to customise it to your own liking as well. The difference here is that you don’t need to change much about WordPress’s set of tools and features before you can begin using it comfortably.
This allows you to create quality content from day one, with the freedom and flexibility to make adjustments to the platform as and when you require. WordPress is also an easier platform to upgrade with custom features due to the quality of its community-sourced plugins.
How Secure is Each Platform?
Cyber security is becoming a greater concern each day for businesses. Choosing a platform that delivers robust security should be a top priority, so you can have full confidence in the protection of your data.
Umbraco comes with a high level of in-built security. The software is based on Microsoft’s .NET platform, which gives it support from Code Access Security (CAS). Working alongside that CAS, Umbraco provides identity-based security, and that makes it considerably more secure than the average CMS.
Having said that, you shouldn’t let this act as an excuse for your agency partner to take security for granted. Every web development project should be approached with security at the core, no matter what in-built protection the platform has.
It’s also important to note that Umbraco is an open-source platform, meaning a community of developers regularly creates updates and new features within the software. This means that any new additions should be tested carefully for security in case they create new vulnerabilities.
While it is generally very secure, WordPress is another open-source platform backed by an active developer community. It’s important to be cautious of the raft of new features, updates, and plugins that are regularly released.
From a security perspective, be mindful of plugins, both in terms of where they come from and ensuring they’re correctly tested, maintained, and updated. For any CMS, these issues are best left to an experienced agency partner who has the expertise to minimise these risks for you.
Aside from that, WordPress does offer enterprise-grade security, with organisations like globally renowned pharmaceutical company Hutch Med and leading venture capitalist firm Balderton Capital using it today.
How Scalable is Each Platform?
Scalability should be another important part of your criteria when selecting a CMS. Fast, agile expansion is crucial for the platform, just as they are for your business as it grows.
Therefore, you need your digital infrastructure to be able to scale cost-effectively with more pages, additional functionality, and perhaps even more sites.
Scalability with Umbraco
Umbraco’s scalability is one of its strengths. With Umbraco, your site can seamlessly evolve as your business grows and your requirements change.
It’s especially useful for teams that need to manage a high volume of pages simultaneously, making it very suitable for large businesses.
Scalability with WordPress
In the past, WordPress mistakenly had a reputation among some for being most suitable for smaller businesses. However, its excellent scalability proves that to be nothing more than a myth.
Just like Umbraco, WordPress is agile and scalable enough to grow alongside your business and adapt to your changing requirements.
Cost and TCO
A CMS is a big investment, and should be considered a long-term one. In order to ensure you’re achieving a strong return on investment (ROI), it’s helpful to find a platform that offers good value and a low total cost of ownership (TCO).
When assessing this, it’s important to factor in costs such as hosting, licenses, agency fees, maintenance, bespoke development, and more.
Umbraco’s Up-Front Work and Ongoing Costs
Because it’s open-source, Umbraco can be free-to-use.
However, as mentioned earlier, it’s a platform that requires a great deal of technical expertise and initial development work. That will typically involve longer timelines with your agency than other CMSs, which inevitably mean high costs. Because it’s a complex platform, you’ll also face higher costs whenever you need to develop new functionality or work on integrations.
WordPress Value and TCO
WordPress comes with a far lower TCO than most other CMS options. Its ease-of-use and flexibility out-of-the-box make it a very cost-effective platform.
WordPress licenses are free, so your implementation costs would be limited to just hosting, agency fees, and post-deployment support.
Any plugins or extensions you want to apply to the platform will be licensed and paid for separately, but it’s unlikely you’ll need to add many new capabilities because it’s such a feature-rich platform by itself.
If a technology platform is supported by a strong community of developers, that will be highly beneficial to your business. Dedicated users from around the world work hard to continuously create improvements, additions, and updates to help the software become the best it can be.
Umbraco has been around since the year 2000, making it one of the oldest CMSs. That means it’s had a long time for a large, skilled community of developers to grow around it.
As touched on earlier, Umbraco is built on a Microsoft-based infrastructure, using a C# framework, and is the most popular platform of this kind.
However, it’s important to note that Umbraco is facing some decline. More popular platforms, like WordPress, gaining widespread adoption have seen developments with Umbraco slow down in recent years.
WordPress has a healthy global community devoted to constantly improving the platform.
WordPress developers are renowned for their creativity, producing a wealth of innovative new themes and plugins that can be used by any business with ease.
The WordPress community also regularly holds free events to help people learn more about how to use the platform. For instance, WordCamp is a non-profit event that has been running since 2006 across several continents.
The Important Role of an Agency
As touched on throughout this article, another factor which will influence the success of any projects with your chosen CMS is a development agency.
When finding the right CMS is such a challenge by itself, many businesses underestimate the importance of finding the right agency partner to support you with your CMS.
But as mentioned earlier, how well you handle critical aspects of the platform like security, testing, usability, and even your TCO are often determined by your agency.
With Umbraco, all the platform’s functionality has to be custom coded, which makes development time in the back-end longer than most businesses expect. This also makes Umbraco difficult to work with internally, as well as for any maintenance and updates. When working with an agency, this will see your costs increase when compared to WordPress technology.
Whichever CMS you pick, they’re all considerably easier to use, and to achieve healthy ROI, with a specialist partner supporting you. Finding an agency with the right experience and expertise to help you unlock the full potential of your platform should be another important part of your overall decision.
Making Your Decision
So, how do you take all these comparisons and decide which CMS is right for your business?
In all honesty, both Umbraco and WordPress are both good options that would work well for most businesses. Although, it is generally accepted that Umbraco is a less approachable platform than WordPress unless you have technical skills within your team.
In order to determine which one will be more suitable, it’s useful to look at each of the characteristics listed in this article in relation to your unique requirements and business needs.
Remember that every business, and every web development project, is different. Think carefully about your specific strategic objectives, budget, users, technical specifications, and any other important factors. That should make it clear which CMS is the better choice to deliver what you’re looking for.
If you need more help in your evaluation of the various CMS options:
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18 April, 2023
Exploring the End-to-End Process of Web Design
In this article, we’ll outline the end-to-end steps of what takes place in a thorough user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) web design process and discuss what modern web design requires to be successful.
You may have read our in-depth guide to creating a brief for a web design and development project. A brief can be used to capture all your ideas and requirements before discussing your project with any web design and development agencies.
Once you’ve completed your brief, and evaluated your options for agency partners, you’ll be ready to launch into your website project.
An end-to-end website project is typically organised into phases, which will usually be structured as follows:
We’ve provided a detailed breakdown of these phases in a recent series of articles. This series is intended to give you a clear understanding of the full end-to-end process involved when working with an agency to design and develop a website. This will help you remove any apprehension heading into this kind of project and set you up for success.
The Current State of Web Design
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and former CEO of Apple.
While web design does focus on the visual aspects of the site, there’s a lot more to it than just the aesthetic elements like colour schemes and typography.
Web design is a complex blend of branding, user experience (UX) design, user interface (UI) design, graphic design, content creation, layout and structure, accessibility, and much more.
The design of your website needs to be visually attractive but, more importantly, it also needs to be simple and easy-to-use. Your website needs to find the perfect balance between supporting your strategic objectives and serving your clients with a seamless experience. Of course, that’s much easier said than done, which is why it’s so important to find an experienced partner you can trust to guide you through the process.
Outlining the Web Design Process
Phase 1 – Research and Planning
The phase that underpins EVERYTHING!
A good agency will have absorbed everything in your project brief. They should also have worked hard to understand your perspective and your requirements from your website, before you’ve even agreed to work together.
Once you’re preparing to launch the project, the research and planning phase will then go beyond that initial information gathering exercise.
The objective of this phase is to define the full scope of the website, including its design, its features and functionality, its content, and everything else involved.
Your site will be discussed in extensive detail, and then research will be conducted into some key areas that will inform your design and development, such as:
Whether you’re making small updates to an existing design or completely rebranding your business, it’s equally important to use this research to inform every decision you make. That’s because every element of your site’s design must be made to support your business goals and serve your target audience with a great user experience (UX).
This research and planning phase is essential in enabling you and your agency partner to do that.
Phase 2 – Visual Exploration
This exploratory phase involves defining the most appropriate and effective visual direction to take with your site.
The main tool used to help determine the right visual identity for your website is a set of mood boards. These are a visual compilation of different options for colour, typography, structure, images, and other visual components that are used to tell your brand’s story through your website’s design.
A good agency partner will usually present around three mood boards to help shape the direction, then collaborate with you to narrow it down to one final version.
Visual exploration, like most processes within web design and development, will be collaborative and iterative. You’ll be presented with ideas by your agency partner, then given the chance to provide feedback across several rounds of revisions.
Phase 3 – User Experience (UX) Design
The UX design process is the phase in which you work with your agency’s UX specialist to create a blueprint of the website functionality.
This involves creating wireframes (either low-fidelity or high fidelity) that help you visualise the design and outline your website visitors’ flow through the pages into your main calls-to-action. This is the way the website’s design works strategically to drive outcomes that align with your business goals.
This phase takes place before working on the site’s visual design to ensure the two separate aspects complement each other.
Phase 4 – User Interface (UI) Design
From there, your user interface (UI) will be designed. The styles, fonts, and look and feel of the site from the mood boards will be applied to the wireframes.
Your agency will likely present you with a design for your homepage before moving on to the rest of the site. This will typically be done on a desktop screen size, but it can be done on mobile if you want to take a mobile-first approach. Once this is complete, it will then be designed across the relevant breakpoints.
After completing this process, your agency partner will be ready to enter into developing your website.
Making Complex Processes Simple
As technology continues to become more advanced, more and more of our daily lives now take place in a digital-first context. This means:
In order to succeed, your website’s design requires careful planning, research, and a strategic approach if it hopes to meet the demands of the modern client.
Working with a specialist design and development agency is a proven approach to ensuring you gain a website that meets your requirements and delivers on the expectations of your target audience.
Completing a process like the one outlined in this article will enable you to design a website that can become your clients’ go-to online source when they have a need.
As mentioned earlier, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to each of these phases to make the process even easier for you.
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8 March, 2023
5 Women To Shape the Design and Tech Worlds
March 8th is still an important date to remind us of the brilliance of being a woman in our society. Even though it can be a struggle every day, we know that women are capable of anything and we are very proud to celebrate the achievements of these creative and intelligent women.
Who can live without Wi-Fi nowadays? In 1942, Hedy invented the technology that later helped the creation of wireless signals.
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
If you’re not in the programming world, you may not have heard of COBOL. This programming language created in 1952 is still used on business applications to this day. Grace was one of the first ever compilers and her work led to the creation of COBOL.
Even in the age of Sat Nav, you’ve probably relied on a road sign at some point, right? Either driving or walking down the street, the reliable signs are a source of comfort when technology fails. Margaret was part of the team that redesigned the whole UK road sign system. It all started in the late 1950s and her work still guides us even to this day.
‘Just do it’ – the famous tagline from a brand you might have heard of, called Nike. The tick logo was first developed by Carolyn when she was just starting design and the idea behind it to represent speed and motion. Even though the Nike tick is now one of the top 10 most recognised logos worldwide, Carolyn has only made $35 from her design.
We all know Apple. We all know that they’ve conquered the world of technology by consistently presenting unique designs with both their hardware and software. What you probably didn’t know was that Susan was the designer responsible for developing all the typefaces, icons and other elements that serve as the core for what we now know as the Apple brand.