Designing a website can be tough and complicated. For those of us new at this, there are many buzzwords getting thrown around that are only known to experts. It is important to know these terms, otherwise, you might end up with a product completely different than what you expected.
Two such terms are website design and website structure. For many of us, these words are used interchangeably, but to the seasoned website developer, these two terms mean something completely different. The following should provide some clarification on the differences between the terms.
Website structure is a term that refers to the overarching website concept. Generally, websites are made up of at least a homepage, and, depending on the size of the website, additional links or inner pages. In this case, website structure refers to these parts and how they fit together.
There are many factors to considering when determining website structure. Some of these are target audience, what the target audience is looking for, and how you want the target audience to interact with your website.
When creating a proper website structure, it is important to balance placing too much information on the page and not putting enough. Both extremes can have unwanted effects.
For instance, the more pages that users have to click through to get the information that they desires, the more likely they are to lose interest. On the other hand, if a page has too many links to other pages and subsections, the user is likely to be frightened away.
A perfect website structure is easy to use and is streamlined to allow for the user to quickly and easily get the information they need while encouraging them to remain on the site.
Website design refers to the general design that is common among the pages that makes them seem like one single website rather than a collection of separate web pages. Essentially, this refers to the minutiae and design details of a website. Website design is very important because poorly designed websites can also detract users from the site.
The first place to start when designing a website is with the proper layout. A webpage should be designed such that it highlights important information.
For instance, tabs and drop down menus should be in different colors and in slightly larger font than the text of the page. Also, information in the text that is considered important should be highlight or bolded to help quickly attract the attention of the website user.
When designing a website, it is important to take into account the tastes of the target audience and based the design of the website on something that will appeal to them. For instance, brightly colored and flowery banners should be reserved for websites involving females and moms, while dark colors should be reserved for death metal fans.
Furthermore, knowing the difference shows that you know what you are talking about, and may help get across the vision of your website much better.
Although the difference between the two terms seems minuscule, and sometimes the terms “website structure” and “website design” overlap, it is very important to know the difference between the two terms, especially if someone else is designing your website and you are providing instructions or creative input.