Web design is a branch of graphic design that deals with the planning and development of websites. This, as any other branch of design, is based on a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Where Web design is concerned, a good design is that which is attractive enough to call the user attention, thus persuading him to go over it. However, it is also necessary that it has an easy surfing quality, that its information is hierarchically ordered, and that it is truly representative of a company. Just remember that, to prove a website good, it has to be on the Internet. Otherwise, you will be testing a Web design instead, since a Web design needs programming to be a real website.
To clearly define what Web design is, we find it convenient to focus on the website. For this end, we will list its main, more important characteristics -those which you should take into account when thinking of a corporate website.
Interaction: this is the most outstanding characteristic of the website. It distinguishes it from any other element of design whose only function is to transmit a message from a sender to a recipient, and whose medium, i.e. the design, becomes worthless once this message has been sent (of course, this is not always true; the same design may well be used more than once and still be effective). Now, what is there about the website that makes it so different? Well, it does transmit a message from a sender (your company) to a recipient (clients), but in this case the recipient can produce an answer, thus becoming the sender, and vice versa. In turn, your company will answer the clients’ responses, and so on. In this way, a dialogue is encouraged between the company and the public, and nothing but a website can make this possible. This type of interaction we might call “user-company”, as it is someone appointed by the company who answers the client in question. But there is another possible interaction, namely “user-website” interaction. This is how it works: traditional advertising act as a whole, as something complete. Similarly, its only task is to inform about something in particular. Now, within a website, it is the user who decides what he does and what he does not want to know. This is very convenient, as the users surfing on a well-designed website will get acquainted only with those specific things they are really interested in.
Presence: there is no doubt about this: every single company must have its own website! Not being on the Internet is synonymous with total failure, as it closes the door on many things that are essential to any company. A website is of deciding importance for a company’s presence in the market, and this is our concern here. For instance, having a website will make a small business firm look much bigger, powerful and prestigious than it really is, and neither other element of design nor even an advertising campaign can do this. Not having one, on the other hand, will mean that a company is old-fashioned, off the progress track, and, worse still, unreachable. That is to say, for a very large number of prospective clients this company is nonexistent.
Virtual office: with the coming of globalization companies stopped being part of a community. Nowadays people do not distinguish one company from another -hopefully they know them by name, in actual fact. Owing to the Internet, the old customer service offices are no longer needed. So, which are the new customer service offices in these days when companies are just abstractions, entities only existing in people’s minds? Of course, the websites (the "virtual offices").