The first impression is the most important – on a date, or in business – it decides whether we succeed in appealing to the client or we fail. Particularly in e-Commerce, the first impression is even more vital than in the traditional trade. After all, it is incredibly easy to discourage a customer by leaving a small detail unchecked. One click on the “backspace” button divides our customer from leaving our website and going to the competition. Consequently, every software house should employ a graphic designer to prevent this from happening. In Global4Net it’s Monika Chojnicka who guards the quality of the first impression. In this article, she’ll tell us how to create a website that will both mesmerize the customer and won’t cause problems to the developers.
Duties of graphic designer in a software house
Here, in Global4Net we work on Magento platform implementations. Crucial for these operations is the development department. However, it is not only the code that makes the software house working. Moreover, in e-Commerce it has become a standard to deliver comprehensive projects. Here, among others, enters the graphic designer.
First of all, we have to acknowledge that every client has different needs and expectations. Similarly, the customers of different industries will expect different visual styles. Therefore, the graphic designer has to work according to the pre-agreed conditions between the client and the software company. They have to design attractive and functional elements for an e-store. To point just a few of them, the graphic designer is responsible for creation of:
- visual packaging of functions,
- photographs and illustrations of products and services,
- updating graphic elements, like logos or widgets.
What does a graphic designer do?
Every project’s graphical style must be prepared accordingly with the previous potential users analysis. In addition, as we have said, the graphic designer ought to comply with pre-supposed agreements and complete the targets. Likewise, this strategy has been put to use during the web-building process of the new Global4Net website. Monika has been working on it for a few months already.
She has been keen on graphic design since a young age. Monika was learning the craft by herself, attending special courses and reading the trade press. Later on, she has combined her creative fervour with studying visual communication at the University of Wroclaw – a course incredibly embedded in the e-Commerce area and the presentational side of business. She has used this mix of creative innovations and solid knowledge of rules and priorities of the business world ever since she had joined Global4Net. Here, she creates high-quality websites’ projects and other visual solutions.
Graphic design and websites
In Global4Net, graphic designers work on multiple projects. From the visualisation of websites, through image and illustration production, to presentation of the team and the office. Oh, and let’s not forget about merchandising. They do that, too. Monika’s responsibilities consist of all these tasks. At the moment she is working on the most important one of them, which is to design a new company website. What does the job look like?
What is a layout?
First are the UX wireframes developed in programs such as Adobe XD. Secondly, the graphic designers plan, coordinate and design layouts for projects implemented by the software company. Layout is a visual structure of a website. It includes elements such as the colour scheme, font families, the location of decorative and textual content.
The key to effective design of e-stores is graphical consistency, which is virtually a visual imprint and message from the brand to the customer.
In e-Commerce it is very easy to make a mistake. Henceforth, the elements and solutions introduced to the website must cooperate optically and practically. In other words, the webpage cannot consist of alien and disqualifying styles, because this could endanger the brand personality and make it non-coherent. And as one may suspect, the customers don't remember what they don’t understand.
The colour scheme
That is how we call the choice of colours meant to be used in a layout. Usually, their number varies from 2 to 4. The graphic designer adjusts the colours to the one used in the logo and to the actual trends in the given industry. For example, in electronics a popular colour scheme is a combination of blue and white.
The correct choice of the fonts families are also one of the responsibilities of a graphic designer. Apart from being attractive and compatible visually, the font has to fulfill the target. Therefore, every graphic designer should keep their finger on the trending heartbeat and adjust the implementation accordingly with the changing fashion. For instance, the choice of serif font in the IT industry is at best quite extravagant. Today the design has a new royal couple: minimalism and user-friendliness. Monika and other graphic designers had to ensure that the new Global4Net website would meet the expectations of the modern user.
Not all graphical elements in e-Commerce should be static. Moreover, it is best if a project contains animations, videos or original transitions to ginger up the design.
When creating animations and other mobile graphical solutions, it is important to remember about the files' bigger size, which causes longer loading time. Therefore, the aforementioned solutions must be suitably optimized. This can be performed in specifically prepared graphic design programs.
What tools should a graphic designer use?
As always in such complicated instances, the answer is: it depends. Thus, in majority, it depends on the kind of e-Commerce platform used by a software company. For example, in Global4Net, the specialists utilise one of the most powerful solutions available on the market – Adobe Magento. In consequence, it has been essential to adjust the tools for graphical operations to the platform, in order to provide the highest compatibility possible.
Monika, just like other graphic designers in our team, uses Adobe XD and Photoshop.
Together, these two applications provide a range of all the functions necessary for e-Commerce practices. While Photoshop offers numerous tools for creation and treatment of illustrations and pictures, XD accommodates them to the restrictions and needs of web interfaces. What is more, it allows on conversion to vector graphics, which in turn results in lossless elements. At the same time, both of the applications include tools for compression that lowers the loading time of the elements. To sum up, it should come as no surprise that these are the tools used by top software houses in the e-Commerce industry.
Graphic design and its role
The importance of graphic elements in the e-Commerce industry is invaluable.
As we have said before, the main page of our website is a business card for our company. The customer assesses this first contact and, basing on whether they like it or not, is going to decide if he stays on the website or leaves it. A graphic designer has to ensure that the main page is appealing to the target audience, that it is functional, unique and integral with the brand personality.
Inappropriate use of visual elements of an e-store can affect negatively work and solutions of other departments. What good comes from innovational steps in fields like, customer journey or PIM, when the graphic design of a website discourages the consumers before they get a chance to use the said innovations. We, in Global4Net, know that the key to success in this field is a cooperation and compatibility of all the e-store elements, including the most important for the presentation of it – graphical design. This is the path that leads to satisfying the modern and demanding customers.
What requirements must a graphic designer meet?
While working on the new G4N website, we must’ve balance between numerous requirements.
Most importantly, graphic designers must take into consideration expectations, requirements and limitations of customers. The designers need the information and research on what the customers expect and what elements are most appealing to them. It is vital to preserve practicality during the design process and implement solutions that guarantee comfort and understanding for the customer.
Monika further warns:
We need to halt ourselves before we reinvent everything according to our opinion.
Too fancy and too complicated graphic design can deter the potential customers, and render it difficult to move around the webpage and use the functions. That’s why it is important for graphic designers to accommodate their ambitions to possibilities and likings of the customers. But not only theirs.
The in-company cooperation
When creating a website we need to achieve the pre-specified goals.
The business owner estimates how the final project must look and what conditions (functional, or organisational) must be met. It is the task of the graphic designer to embody these plans. Every correction ought to be consulted with the rest of the team. Arbitrary changes to large segments can bring incompatibility to the project. These can have a grave impact on the quality and consistency of the whole enterprise.
That is why it is indispensable for the designers and the website owner to cooperate. The corrections must not interfere with already established solutions. Fortunately, in Global4Net our specialists use applications made by Adobe, which allows them to implement changes rapidly. Moreover, the same source code enables the personnel to quickly test the compatibility of individual elements. Consequently, this increases the chances of successful projects and the high quality of the virtual “business card” of the brand.
The success can also be obtained through the efficacy of the cooperation between graphic designers and other departments.
When you work to create a functional and visually attractive website, constant communication with every involved team is essential.
When working on new implementations Monika, along with other specialists from Global4Net, participates in weekly target setting meetings, planning of tasks, and routine consultations. These operations aim to ensure the highest compatibility and quality of the finished G4N webpage. These regular meetings are able thanks to the organisational platform Jira.
“By collaborating with copywriters and developers, I ensure that every subpage of our website is going to be produced to the highest standards.”, says Monika. “This streamlines the process of the webpage design and saves up time and resources.”
What characteristics should graphic designers have?
Graphic design is an ever-living profession and so should be every designer: full of ideas, creative, open-minded, and always active. This is what’s necessary for new solution making and taking different routes that could enrich and make a project unique. In the digital world “the next big thing” is always right around the corner, five minutes away – to have any chance of not missing that moment, a graphic designer cannot succumb to stagnation nor can he work routinely. In this field such an approach equals failure.
Graphic design is a field requiring artistry and creativity, nevertheless e-Commerce demands effectiveness and the customer’s comfort. It is vital to remember that when thinking about working as a graphic designer or looking for a suitable candidate.