Your online identity is as vital as say, your physical identity. It should be relatively unique and should stand out. For websites, that means the layout of the pages, the color combinations used, the fonts and even the navigation map should be different than your competitors. But not too different, or else your website will stand out as an anomaly.
Readymade templates are available online in both flavors, free and paid. However, the biggest drawback of these templates is that all websites using the same template will tend to look similar unless you make drastic changes to the design and layout.
Custom web development is the creation of a website that is built specifically to your brand or product. Its design is created to appeal specifically to your target audience and is meant to give you an edge over your competition.
Would creating a custom site from scratch have a high enough ROI to warrant the cost? Let’s find out.
UI/UX Design and Why Is It So Important
When we talk about websites or apps, one of the most common factors when discussing their design is the user interface. The impact of a good user interface is directly proportional to its user experience. That means the better the user interface, the better the user experience.
But what has that got to do with our topic at hand? What does UI/UX design have to do with custom website development?
Well, when we create a custom website, we can design our user interfaces the way we want, to improve the user experience. Many professional web designers and developers tend to work with UI/UX designers to create websites aimed to please their consumers.
However, templates tend to restrict that. Even WordPress, a highly useful web development technology with a massive following, sometimes requires custom development to address the limitations of bringing a UI/UX design to life.
That is why a custom-designed website will have its UI/UX design implemented from the get-go, making the website feel and look more naturally appealing. But why do we need to implement UX design in the first place? To put it simply, the better the user experience when interacting with your website, the higher the chance they will adopt or return to it. And in the competitive business world, experience is a massive factor if leveraged well.
Critical Elements of UI/UX Design
Whenever we create a new UI/UX design and implement it, there are a few factors we need to cover. These factors are designed to ensure that the effort going into developing a custom web design and UI/UX design, is well worth it.
Let’s take a look at what they are.
Information Architecture – One of the most critical factors when creating UI/UX designs, the information architecture includes all the information required to fulfill the business requirements of your website. Let’s suppose there is a web app a team of designers and developers are working on. The information architecture will ensure that the app works and acts the same, no matter what web browser they use.
Wireframing – Wireframing is an essential task that is used to test a web page or app before the product is launched in the market. This is especially useful when you are working with custom software development. Wireframing is used to build a mockup of the website or app in question, and then specific procedures or interactions are tested out to see how the product will react in real life.
Visual Design – Visuals are an essential part of the user experience process. Good visuals can affect the behavior and acceptance of an end-user. And while visuals like images or custom graphics can be useful to the website, their primary function is to affect the audience positively and influence their behavior.
Interaction Design – Interaction design, as the name suggests, is the process of creating a hypothetical design of how a user would interact with your product. That is why, brightly colored calls to action, big bold fonts, audio and visuals can be used to influence the interactions a user has with your website or web app.
Usability – Usability refers to the ease of usage or friendliness of your website or web app. Usability means how easily can users access the information they desire from your website, and how issues like incorrect inputs or interactions are handled by your product.
The Impact of User Experience
As we discussed earlier, custom-developed websites allow us to think and design from the user perspective from the ground up. Implementing features in post-development that are designed to improve the experience may be helpful, but it often fails to have as strong of an impact as a custom-designed user-friendly website.
Many amateur designers believe that a good UI/UX web design means a graphics-intensive website. That is not the case. User experience is all about leveraging your design in a way that makes it easy and comforting for the user to browse. We see simple websites with a beautiful implementation of UX design, while many visually appealing websites are considered very bad by UX standards.
Templates, especially those available freely, have often been designed with no consideration for user experience. And even if they have been designed to make the process enjoyable for the users, there is no guarantee that it will have the same effect on your website too.
A custom-developed website, however, will start with your prospective users and what they like or expect from your website. Then, taking that information, they will create a web layout that will offer a great experience to your audience.
Custom vs. Template
A lot of people support the custom development of websites over template-based development, while others believe template-based development is the better option. How can you choose one over the other? Let’s take a look.
Uniqueness – Uniqueness is a factor that sets your site apart from the competition. Custom web development offers a far better chance of being unique than template-based development, as easy for each design will be made from scratch.
Website Speed – The loading times for different web pages and all their elements are often quicker in custom-developed websites, due to the absence of bloatware that is often found in template-based websites.
Scalability – Scalability is an important factor nowadays, with businesses looking to create websites that could be expanded along with them as their business grows too. Template-based websites often find it difficult to scale after some time, if they scale at all, and may require changing the theme. Custom websites too need to be designed for scalability, otherwise, they won’t be able to do so when required.
Customer Journeys – Customer journeys are mockups where a business can map how a prospective customer will interact and navigate their website. That allows developers to create a more seamless browsing experience, as well as better access to required data. Custom websites can be designed according to your customer journeys, while template-based websites have limited room for editing and changing.
In the end, while template-based websites are a great option for many businesses, custom web development is far superior when it comes to factors like user experience. From improved browsing speeds to a customer-first design approach, custom-developed websites can be the difference between a website becoming a great hit, or just one of the many.