Web designers love to have feedback from our clients as we proceed through the design process – the clearer the better. However, there are some common terms that we hear frequently that we often understand differently than our clients. Here are some of them and what they mean to us.
“Clean” – Take a white t-shirt and bleach it. That is clean. When we hear clean, we understand that to mean there is a lot of white space and very little clutter on pages. And we love clean – it makes for a nicer look and better user experience. Of course, most websites that start out with a client asking for clean, end up anything but. We're just sayin...
“Dynamic” – Dynamic means characterized by constant change. In web design, dynamic means have the capacity for change, or content delivered based on certain conditions such as user search or selected parameters.
“Interactive” – The web IS interactive. Users enter a URL and in response to that URL entered, they see a website displayed. Users click navigation and in response to that click they receive the content they have requested. Users enter parameters for a search and see results. That is interactive.
“Sophisticated” – Sophisticated is rather confusing to web designers. It can mean complicated or intricate, which we do not like. It can also mean that which appeals to a certain class of users (sophisticates). Web designers always try to design for the intended target audience who actually may or may not be all that sophisticated.
“Modern” – For us modern is easy – html 5, CSS 3, Responsive. Design trends do change over time, but there is no such thing as ‘modern’ visual design. That is always dictated by function, audience and client branding, etc.
“Pop” – One website that people seem to like universally is the Apple website. We like it too (it is actually clean :) There would be some argument about whether the Apple website ‘pops’ or not. What we would say is the elements that need to ‘pop’ do, and that makes the website effective.
So what is my point? It’s actually a really good one – because there is often a linguistic disconnect between web designers and clients, we believe that web design needs to be collaborative and open-ended. Our process starts with an initial concept based on conversations with our clients and research, and from there it moves along collaboratively until our clients are satisfied that what we have designed fits and works for their business or organization.
Words like those above mean very little, but the collaborative relationship between designer and client is invaluable.