Let’s imagine a situation that you are an entrepreneur and want to promote your products or services via the Internet. Or you have an existing business promoted with the help of social networks, but this is not enough for you. In view of this, you decide to have your own website or application. And then the problem of choice comes up. The problem of choice between a template solution or custom design.The first option can be implemented faster and at lower cost, the second one will take more time and money, but it can be 100% customized to your target audience and niche and show all the advantages of the product you are selling.
Here are presented the reasons why it is better to choose the custom design: 1. Thoughtful usability and involvement in the project The maximum convenience and simplicity for a user will always be the basis of a good interface. Saving simplicity and minimizing the number of user actions, while placing all the necessary functions into the interface, is not an easy task. But it is achievable for professionals who are ready to go through several stages of product development. For a one-page or a small site, this can be a well-thought-out design; for a large site, interface or mobile application, the development process will include few stages:
Stage No.1 Analysis of the initial information
What does this stage include? This stage comprises a direct communication between the customer and the contractor, during which the main task of the project is formed, details are clarified and documentation is written. Why is this stage needed? During this stage the team to whom you entrusted your project could go deeper into the matter, having thought through all the details. From your side, you could get familiar with the solutions that you are offered and choose the best one. Effective design does not begin with the opening of the graphic editor, but with the contractor’s acquaintance with the person who owns the business and its target audience. A team that is able to catch on the real issue, understand the problems of the entrepreneur, will manage to direct their resources to solve these problems. Design is not only a beautiful visual; design is a search for an effective solution. And this solution is not always fitting into the standard template.In the process of communication, it may turn out that the product to which you were oriented at the beginning is not exactly what you need. In our company's practice, there was an example when a client came with a strong desire to make an e-commerce with a complex structure: an admin panel, a checkout including several steps, etc. The company’s staple goods - clothes from stock mainly in one or two sizes, low price policy. The client has already used one of the standard advertising platforms. The turnover was large and fast. After discussing all aspects of his business, we came to the conclusion that adding an item through the admin panel, then adding an extended description of each item and filters would take more time than turnover of this item. We could follow the client and earn many times more than we did in the end. But if our design is not effective, this client will never cooperate again and will not recommend us as professionals with good expertise. There was made another decision: to start with the e-commerce with the most simplified functionality, where the main focus was on photo content. Customer benefits: saving money on the design process, that can be redirected to photo equipment, saving the daily time spent on the operating system. Benefit for the studio: a satisfied and loyal client willing to work on an ongoing basis and recommend its services to others.
Stage No. 2 Mindmaping
What does this stage include? Basically, this is the stage of development of mindmaps and pattern of behavior of the customers ordering the product. At this stage, the designer thinks out all the interface screens, user steps and options for action.
Why is this stage needed? This stage gives a general idea of the size of the project, and as a result allows you to estimate the future timeline and costs. It is at this stage that you can most effectively rebuild the structure if you need to “fit into the budget” or develop a Minimum Viable Product (basic product version) to test its relevance to users.
Stage No. 3 Wireframes and Prototyping What does this stage include?A schematic, or approximate to the future design, display of interface screens. Why is this stage needed?During this stage the "skeleton" of the future design is created, which also allow you to test the functionality with the help of special services (Adobe XD, InVision, MarvelApp ...) Stage No.4 Design What does this stage include?At this stage, the designer gives the prototype a visually pleasing look. Why is this stage needed?For elaboration of a general style: color combinations, fitting typography, animation significantly increases attendance and conversion from users. The so-called "design tricks" can become the signature of a brand or company.
Stage No. 4 Product Testing What does this stage include?This process is not limited in time and starts from the beginning of work on the design with the help of testing inside the team. And it continues after launching a website or application using special resources (Google Analitycs, Mix Panel, AppSee) Why is this stage needed?For collecting statistics on various indicators of product success (attendance, conversion, cost of attraction, etc.) and allows you to adjust the design.Each of these stages can be realized separately from the others and allows the maximum adjustment not only for the product or service that the business owner sells, but most importantly for the consumer.2. Unique styleIn addition to the functional value of the design, the image value still remains important. Even a person who is not affiliated with the IT sphere can recall at least one example when a nice design attracted attention to a product. A unique style helps user to distinguish your product from a dozen of similar on the market. It's not just about color combinations and fonts. It's about the holistic style in which every detail is thought out. With the help of custom design, the designer will be able to convey the essence of things that are boring at first glance using graphical objects: icons, illustrations, selection of font combinations, play on contrast. This, in the end, becomes the distinctive feature that catches the user's eye.
3. RelevancyIt is no longer enough to make just a good design to attract loyal customers. It is necessary to make a product which is interesting, dissimilar to others and what is most important relevant to its time.Designers track the latest trends and use new technologies, so that the user does not get bored. Trends from Instagram and YouTube are transferred to sites and applications, and vice versa.A design template that has been on sale for months or years will not be able to adapt to new trends and attract users.
Disadvantages of templates:1. Do not solve the problem by 100%2. There is no interaction with a professional: it is impossible to get objective advice.3. Just like everyone else: it’s likely that your direct competitors may have almost the same website or interface.4. Standard, “boring” decisions. How many times have you come across a one-page website that had the following “must have” sections: “About the Company” with a huge canvas of text, “Our customers” with logos of unknown companies, and “Testimonials”, with stock photos of people and fake accolades.Perhaps it is enough for just to try a new business niche. But if you expect to move forward you need a unique product. Here the principle “Do your job, do it well” works.