Worldwide, people spend an average of about seven hours a day on the internet. For us Filipinos, the figure is closer to 10 hours, thanks to our love of smartphones and Facebook.
But even though most people spend a huge chunk of their daily lives on the web, relatively few of us stop to think about the work that goes into designing and making the websites we enjoy.
If you didn’t already know — it’s a lot of work. At least, this is the case for popular ecommerce websites that actually convert their visitors. Behind every successful ecommerce site is a team of tired digital marketers, writers, developers, web designers, and SEOs.
Because web design tools and templates are readily available to most businesses, web designers often wind up as one of the most under-appreciated of this bunch. This lack of appreciation has led to some funny web design myths that even some web designers believe.
See if you believe any of the common web design myths below:
1) You Don’t Need to Know How to Code
Generally speaking, professional web designers should at least know HTML and CSS. This will allow them to easily make changes to websites and will help them work with developers to create a more cohesive UX. Coding skills are especially useful for freelance web designers, as they cannot always rely on a web developer to give them the prototypes and UIs they need.
So while it’s true that coding skills are not strictly needed, you won’t find a successful professional web designer who doesn’t know a thing or two about code.
2) Web Design is Easier Than Web Development
This myth has probably come about for the same reason a lot of people believe making art is easy. The fact that web developers have a more technical role and are generally paid more than web designers may also help contribute to the myth.
While web design is less technical than web development, in practice, it is no less demanding. Web design requires empathy as well as a good understanding of marketing and how human users interact with technology.
Additionally, web designers also need to have a good grasp of advanced graphic design and UX best practices to help them create site mockups and prototypes that serve specific business goals. It also helps if they’re detail-oriented and cognizant of different cultural design preferences.
3) SEO is Separate From Web Design
It’s one thing to make an interesting website. It’s another thing to make great visual and UX designs work in a way that helps meet a business’s goals.
This means that, in practice, you cannot separate SEO from most web design. Things such as mobile-friendliness, website loading speed, readability, and page taxonomy can dramatically affect your site’s search engine visibility. You can have the prettiest or highest-converting website ever and it would still be a moot point if people cannot find it on the world’s most popular search engines.
For these reasons, web designers should understand the basics of on-page SEO and have a healthy appreciation for what it brings to the table. Freelance web designers and developers should also consider diversifying their skills to include on-page SEO implementation, as this knowledge could significantly impact the performance of any site they work on.
4) Any Web Developer Can Do Web Design
This is not exactly a myth. Literally anyone can do web design. The question is whether they can actually create a design that engages visitors drives conversions.
Many business owners fail to understand this and end up passing web design jobs to individuals who may have the technical aptitude but lack the nuanced understanding of human behavior and design that is required to excel in these areas.
And if the business owner and the developer know enough to make a website but not how to make it engaging, any site that’s published could easily represent a missed opportunity. Even worse, a haphazardly constructed site may even damage the business’s credibility.
5) Websites Have to Be Super Focused
This applies to some business websites but not all of them. A well-focused website can make sense for most SMEs given their usually limited range of offers and narrow target markets.
However, it’s not impossible for a more complex website to succeed at converting customers from different demographics. It’s often a matter of understanding the similarities between the different target markets and being willing to make some design compromises to meet the business’s goals.
There are many practical challenges in building a website that engages multiple types of customers. However, all of these are surmountable with decisive leadership, a good marketing team, and, of course, an experienced team of web designers and developers that understand the planned site’s specific goals.
6) Written Content is Interchangeable
While you might not actually hear a business owner or marketer say this, the prevalence of sites with substandard content proves that this myth is widespread.
Businesses that are serious about driving conversions should invest in developing engaging content that goes beyond answering the basic “whos, whats, and whys”. It should be credible, unique, true to the business’s brand, and present a strong case to any potential customer.
You can’t always do this with just words on a screen. A lot of the time, the content has to be contextualized by other web design elements such as pictures, graphs, animations, or even augmented reality features.
You also have to consider the most efficient way to present your content, given the constraints of your website design. Some web designs can look cluttered and unprofessional with walls of text while others could accommodate it.
Given all this, it’s clear that content is not interchangeable. The tone, length, and even the look and layout of the content all have to be consciously selected to help the site meet specific business and design goals.
Learn More About Web Design
We’re just scratching the surface of the web design myths that could be ruining your business website. If you enjoyed this article, make sure to tell the web designers in your life just how much you appreciate them.
To learn more about improving your website’s design, make sure to check out our web design archive. You can also get in touch with the SearchWorks team to find more ways to drive customers to your business website.