01 – How much does a website cost?
- At ocreations the Web Design phase costs between $3,000-$30,000. The minimum investment you can expect at ocreations is $1,500 for a completed PSD landing page, the average is $5,500 while much more advanced websites can have much higher totals.
The price ranges for websites are similar to transportation costs, from owning a car to flying on a private jet – there is a full range of choices and ancillary costs associated with the purchase.At ocreations we ask clients to consider “What kind of website will actually accomplish my goals?”. This article covers pricing full: Website SPEC (Project specification phase).
02 – Web Design and Web Development differences
- Web Design is the phase where the look and feel for a website is defined. Web Design produces a mock-up in a non-interactive format while Web Development will produce a working interactive version of the website. The two phrases are not interchangeable but they can be done in either order and often are combined together into one large project. Web Design can come before Web Development but in many cases (such as AGILE, SCRUM or “Live Development”) development can be done right alongside the design, before it or even without it.
When Web Design precedes development Web Standards for mobile and responsive design need to be considered and a final mock-up can include 5-10 variations for different screen sizes for every page that is designed. This creates the opportunity for precise design control but can also inflate price if designs are so unique that they are not compatible with existing development frameworks.
If Web Development is done before the design phase then less mock-ups are needed as a development framework is used. This creates a very specific set of predefined design rules that are automatically inherited by the website (and must be followed by the design) therefore limiting creative web design control but lowering the overall design costs. In this scenario the design will “evolve” itself based on the framework, inheriting the framework look and feel. Doing development before design comes with risks that should be carefully weighed.
Building a website always comes with certain risks known as “Volatility Requirements” which is a fancy way of saying “clients change their minds and technology changes too, so we can not reasonably anticipate everything”.
It is important to note that the user experience must be designed as well as developed. The most successful websites are never done, instead they enter into a versioning state, version 1.0 (worthy of a launch), then version 2.0 (after a few months of updates and revisions) on to version 3, 4, and so on. During website versioning phases a website’s design and it’s development will continue creating an endless cycle of improvements, features and revisionism.
03 – The importance of Modern Web Standards
- There is an actual law (ADA compliance) and specific set of compliance guidelines (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG) about how websites should work for disabled users but because there is no “regulatory body” that legally governs how websites should look the world wide web is the “wild west” when it comes to design.
This created an explosion of website styles and types, some worked great and others were totally unusable creating chaos and confusion. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recognized this “wild west design problem” and set out to create rules and guidelines called “Web standards” to promote consistency in the design and code of a web page.
Web Standards help us decide “how a web page should display” in a visitor’s browser window by giving good reasons for how a design is constructed ranging from speed all the way to how it reacts on mobile devices. The rules need to be considered during the design phase are different based on a wide variety of factors such as the device type and the size of the browser window.
We ideally want a certain kind of design on a mobile device than we would want on a desktop computer, and we may want or need to consider a different look for an Apple Device as compared to an Android or Microsoft phone. The website I want a user to see the first time they are there versus a repeat customer is also different.
Web Standards have been employed long enough that end users now expect certain things to work a certain way. Consider the hamburger icon as a controversial case of web design standards for example, the 3 lines that 98.95% of users know means “click here for the mobile menu”. The hamburger menu icon is not a requirement per say, it’s not even the same on every website – it is an optional design standard that is employed via UX that has become a universal language that says “I am a menu button” but only to the % of users who speak that design language.
Next up we consider Designing for Web Accessibility Standards, these are a collection of rules that by law some websites need to have in order to work for disabled users such as blind people. While Accessibility is primarily a facet of development the line blurs, for example, seasoned web designers know that one of the rules for Web Accessibility requires designing for a specific percentage of contrast in text legibility, for example light grey text on a white background may look nice and subtle but it’s hard to read for certain users with visual impairments. Turns out there are combinations of color that make text totally invisible to color blind users.
Knowledge of and experience with Web Standards for design is what sets ocreations apart from the competition. You need a website that works as good as it looks, right?
04 – Web design consistency during campaigns
- Have you ever seen a billboard and then later gone online to find a website that does not at all look like the billboard? Have you ever clicked on an Ad to land on a website that seems nothing like the Ad you clicked? That kind of lack of consistency will lose money for companies. When a customer is even remotely confused about being in the right place or on the right website then consistency is lacking. We need to make sure your web design matches your brand and when that brand is taken online there are very important design considerations.
A key part of the Web Design process is to design the user experience across multiple platforms and around several mediums – from print to digital and back again. The campaigns, social media, billboards and brand collateral should match the website design and when users click on your ad in a PPC/CPC campaign they need to instantly recognize the website they landed on is the proper destination based on the ad they just clicked.
Web Design plays an important role in consistency across all mediums that a company may employ, especially print! For this reason ocreations knows that handling the print design alongside the web design phases is the best way to accomplish consistency and create a good chance for a brand to thrive online and offline.
Now, more than ever, when a brochure is designed as a companion or caveat into the website