Functional Web Design – What’s The Cost?

The pandemic of COVID-19 disrupted the status quo of what our daily routines looked like. Citizens of most countries were driven to restrict themselves to the confines of their homes as governments across the globe resorted to heavy lockdowns and quarantines in a valiant struggle to contain and mitigate the explosive outburst of the virus. 

While the far-reaching impacts of the global outbreak have been crippling, it has not been without a silver lining. The advent of the pandemic has caused the growth of the digital market to boom at an unprecedented rate, as the closing down of several critical institutions necessitated the transition from in-person to ‘virtual’ of everything: from school and college classes to board and parliamentary meetings. 

This shift to a more virtually connected world has made it crucial for companies and brands to strengthen their online presence and ensure high visibility for their products. One of the pivotal steps that companies can take in this direction is to ensure that they have a great website that resonates with the company's values and emphasizes the distinguishing features of their products. 

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What is web design?

The field of web design is vast, encompassing diverse areas ranging from user interface design to organizing relevant information, ensuring functionality, and even search engine optimization. 

It is very important to get this right, irrespective of whether you are launching your unique brand or setting up a platform for your company because the right tuning can mean the difference between being on the first and second pages of a search result. 

What is the importance of a great website?

A good website can have a huge impact on your search engine performance. Besides providing a global reach and opening new avenues for businesses to pour in, a website also breaks the barriers of limited working hours. 

Customers can access it at any given time and provides credibility to your brand or company as most people these days do their pre-purchase research online. Along with being a cheaper form of advertising than the traditional print media, it can also serve as a tool for interacting with your valuable customer base and getting their opinions and feedback on your products and how they can be further improved. 

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Which web design approach should I adopt?

The two most common approaches to web design are functional and creative. Functional web design minimizes complexity in the overall design and usability of the website. It ensures that the system is highly cohesive but loosely coupled. This approach works to divide the entire system into groups of interoperable components. Each component is allocated a singular task and which it tries to accomplish with the least side effects on the rest of the system. 

This division of labour makes it possible to analyse the system from a functional standpoint and enables easier review, maintenance, and reuse of the individual components. The functional design takes into account the goals of the product and how the customers will ultimately use the product. 

Clarity and simplicity are the differentiating features of this approach. Functional minimalism embraces negative spaces, making it very clear for users where to go or find the things they want. It focuses on the essential details.

On the other hand, creative web design leverages the power of computer-generated graphics and digital animation to provide a strikingly memorable experience. The creative design aims to make one stand out amongst the vast online competition. 

Some of the tools utilized to achieve this are creative typography, illustrations, and drawings. Web designers today have access to an abundance of resources. With the large computing capabilities easily accessible today, the only limitation is one's creativity when it comes to making mind-blowing videos, text stylization, or even out-of-the-world transitions and selecting colour palettes for websites. 

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Challenges in each approach

While each of the approaches mentioned above has unique benefits, they also have their downsides. Focusing too much on the creative aspect may cause the actual product or message to get lost in all the commotion of vibrant colours and stunning effects. It could also prove extremely difficult for those who are not particularly adept at using technology to traverse complex web navigation systems, causing you to lose potential customers and restrict yourself to customers well-versed in technology. 

Furthermore, including a lot of visual detail on the website runs the risk of significantly increasing the page's load time. On the other hand, resolving to be extremely simplistic and minimalistic would require sacrificing the benefits of using enrapturing visual designs, which would pique the curiosity of the users and encourage them to explore further. 

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A website must be easy to find, easy to use, and easy to navigate. Functionality must always be its top goal. Creative designs can be incorporated if they add value to your offering, help your customers relate to your brand, and also differentiate your products. 

At the end of the day, your website is another tool for you to connect with your consumers, and there is no one-size-fits-all. Over time, with tweaks and fixes, each company has to evolve and build a niche for itself.

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