Choosing a Design Layout for Your Website

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Greetings once again to all our Surpass Blog readers and online viewers. When I, as a freelance web design and developer, am dealing with my clients on a daily basis, I occasionally encounter with some clients that they seem to be overwhelmed when it comes to deciding about their website design process. As a matter of fact, this is quite a natural phenomenon, especially if the needs and requirements of the website have not yet been defined!

MTO Approach

When you're ready to have a website, there are many factors that must be considered. It's not enough to have a catchy logo, the right colors, and the information your customers need. While these features are important you also need to give careful consideration to how to present them to your readers. If you've missed already, I suggest that you read my short article: "Web Design Based on Steve Jobs' Principle".

Now, I would like to share with my valued clients and readers, the Mind & Thoughts Organizing Technique - MTO Technique, which has been designed by no other than ... myself! :)

Web Design Steps Based on MTO Technique

1- What is the "Soul" of my Website?

Why do you think you need a website?! The fact that you are reading this article about web design process, indicates that you are either certain or at least hesitant to have a website of your own. "This is the starting point in MTO Technique. However, most often, people just move passed this step prematurely. Perhaps this step is the most important step in web design and development process. Every website has an underlying spirit or soul. And the soul of the website is the first thing we need to define."

In order to answer to the question of" Why do you think you need a website?!" you can ask yourself: "What will happen if I don't have a website?" Then write down at least five most important consequences of not having a website. Your answer is nothing but the soul of your website. The more clear and well explained your answer is, the better the soul of your website will get shaped. Brainstorming with your colleagues or family and friends is advisable.
Estimated time needed: 15-30 minutes.

2- What is the "Skeleton" of my Website?

Right after you become sure that you've given a complete and detailed answer to the first question of MTO Technique, you are good to proceed to the second step.

How to avoid consequences of not having a website? Go back to your answer on what happens if you don't have a website. As we said earlier, your answer is the soul of your website. But this soul needs a skeleton (we call it layout in web design)! That is what you need to do at this step.

In front of every consequence, find a right measure or solution. For example, if one of your answers (consequences of not having a website) was: "Without a website, I need to spend lots of time and energy to explain about my business/products over and over again to my customers." Then an effective solution would be to consider a well-designed Products Page with sufficient textual, graphical and video information.

Do the same with all other elements of the soul and you will get a complete skeleton.
At the end of this step, you should be able to identify the number of pages and tentative names for them. There is this so-called 3 web design layout forms that you also need to know at this point.

a. Full width size or 1 column layout with no sidebars: It is used for drawing maximum attention of the viewers. Full width is normally associated with the front page of a website, but can certainly apply to the entire layout of your website.

b. 2 column layout or main container with sidebar at the left or right side of it. It is used when there are lots of details and information to be delivered.

c. 3 columns layout or main container with 2 sidebars at both sides. Mostly it is used on websites that have a lot of content to display. A perfect example of this would be a periodical or newspaper site. Sites like CNN like to have multiple sidebars to attract attention to many news pieces and also video. Another area where having multiple sidebars is handy is with a very technical site. With sites with lots of search or other function, you might have one sidebar to complete a particular task and another sidebar to show ads or general information on the site.
Estimated time needed: 30-45 minutes.

3- What is the "Cloth" for the "Skeleton" of my Website?

How to cover the skeleton with a nice-looking cloth? Just because your website has a soul and skeleton, doesn't mean you should scare your viewers off, unless it is time for the Halloween! :) Now that you have names of the pages of your website and you know exactly what kind of information to put there, you need one last thing to do, give it a nice look. But how to do that?

Well, we all have heard about the concept of "Beauty from inside or from within." But, does it make any sense in our topic at hand? Well, sort of! What we mean here is that the cloth should be fitted to the soul and the skeleton we shaped earlier.

First of all, the theme or main colors of your website should be chosen based on the brand identity or at least in harmony with the field of your business or profession. You could choose to have a slider (animated images scrolling automatically or manually, usually from right-to-left placed normally on top of the home page to draw attention and deliver graphical/textual information). You may ask for a static banner, background color or image. Deciding about the types of font and their colors to be used are also parts of the style.
Estimated time needed: 15-30 minutes.

4- Is Your Website "Cloth" Considered to be Attractive to Others?

The final step in our MTO web design technique is to go out on the web, visit some of the competitors' website, take note of their merits and weak points, have another look at your own design, repeat steps 2 and 3 and make final adjustments.
Estimated time needed: 30-45 minutes.

After you are done with this, you may call your preferred web designer and discuss about how they can help you to get the job done for you. Basically you will need to provide them with:

• Logo and all of the images;
• Colors and fonts if you have specific needs or requirements;
• All written content for descriptions, articles, pages, products, etc.;
• If you already have a host and registered domain, you need to inform them about it.


I stay next to my valued clients to help them decide what kind of website they want. Even with few minutes of conversation over the phone, chat, or email, we can start sketching the layout. But, I recommend the abovementioned approach for efficiency purposes.

By: SurpassAdmin
Posted on April 25, 2016