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I am going to design my first website. Basically, a redesign of a website I care for. I've been identifying goals and functional needs. Now I want to see if I can get the experience right or more engaging.

Am wondering, what's a good way to begin designing a website's experience, once goals for it is somewhat clear?

  • if there's a tip to help narrow the question down further i'm open to hearing it, or if there's another place i should check out for a question like mine. Not sure how to narrow it, honestly. – L. Liu Jul 4 '16 at 4:13
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There isn't really one best way of handling this. I've seen different systems used successfully, and those same systems used unsuccessfully when poorly applied.

However, depending on the complexity of the site, I find it useful to start off with some rough page flow diagrams, which look like really nasty wireframes (I'm only interested in what action opens or connects to another page) with lines between the actions and the page the action takes you to.

Here's a conceptual example of what I mean taken from vikingcodeschool.com (not my work) page flow diagram from vikingcodeschool.com

From there it's an iterative process of refining the wireframes and improving the flow. Repeat many times, and when you're done, you're usually in a position to work on some of the design specific (or as I like to call it "pretty") work.

  • Thanks John. can't get over the beginner blindness to do just that, but guess I'll have to. – L. Liu Jul 5 '16 at 21:07
  • @L.Liu Don't expect that your first drafts will be any good. They will be terrible. The main point of the first draft is to have something that you can improve on, not to be something you would want anyone to see. – JohnGB Jul 6 '16 at 9:46
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It sounds like you've already looked at the company, it's strategies, goals and products, and how they want to interact with their users. That will help guide you.

You mentioned you haven't do logo design or web design before. Have you looked into visual communication? That's the practice of taking a message and conveying it in visual form. I did alot of this in college, and then dropped it to "get a real job". Twenty years later, I'm picking it back up again. I'd recommend getting books from the library, and looking up free courses online (there's one on coursera). Visual communication is the basics for turning the goals that you found into a visual message.

Another piece of advice I'd give is . . . just start. It won't be perfect. That's okay. Get okay with being imperfect. Just starting, at least for me, for lots of people, can be the hardest part. Then, like you said, you can iterate over and over again. Just start, and don't get hung up with your first idea. Make lots of ideas, then it's easier to break away when you realize it doesn't convey the message you intended.

And get lots of feedback! The feedback from your stakeholders will also help guide you.

I hope this helps you get started! All the best!

~ Marie

  • Thanks Marie. I'm a huge perfectionist and it's my biggest barrier. I've take some HCI coursera courses. – L. Liu Jul 4 '16 at 3:46
  • I've thought about getting an associates at least in design / graphics, but I definitely want project based stuff as opposed to theory, and i feel it is too slow. I do hope to take a class or two soon in person. Still wondering how to get through this project effectively; i guess i was hoping someone could break down the steps. – L. Liu Jul 4 '16 at 3:53

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