What is Web Design?

Ian Hancock Web Design

Web design as a question

Well, depends who you ask really.

If I was to ask our (Scottish) in-house designer ‘what is web design?’ he would probably start talking about usability, ergonomics in design, web ready sites and future compliance. My Hungarian programming colleague would not answer as he would be too busy working on complex technical algorithms that would be enhancing one of our many clever sites and that I’d asked him to do. My wife (and yes before you ask; married life is amazing) would tell me to shh and stop disrupting her(/our) enjoyment of Keeping Up With The Kardashians… and my three year old son would listen to the question, put his head to one side and begin to tell me about his Playmobil animals not being very well, that ice-cream is very cold, the slide in the park was is very dirty and how his sister had her hurt nose whilst trying to ride on his scooter (she is alright though).


All of which are not the most useful of responses but still mildly enlightening, slightly entertaining and providing a little insight into the individual minds of each of those concerned.


For my own part, I like to think that my three year old son’s reply is the most accurate and erudite but that will be purely based on the fact that he’s my son!

Web design, to me at least, is that seemingly ephemeral thing that happens the other side of my desk (where our designer sits). It involves being surrounded by large coffee-table type design literature and nice pencils, pens and posh cameras and jaunty, sketchy, mind extractions all of which, I assume, helps him to work his own brand of Adobe related magic to produce our websites that are both usable, clear, easy on the eye but most of all effective.


Effective at delivering content to the visitor, whether that be selling shoes, hats, Playmobil or providing information about how to invest your money in gold.

Here are 3 examples of web design, with the emphasis being on the design:


These three just seem so straightforward. Emphasis on font, typography, nice use of white space with a clarity in conception that you only tend to see highlighted on blogs about website design… and yes, the last one is Google but someone has designed it. Things of this simplicity and quality don’t happen by chance and I dare anyone to say they haven’t used it or don’t know how it works.