What Interior Design Teaches Us About Web Design

Posted on March 16th, 2009 by Jason Shindler

By Jason Shindler
Curvine Web Solutions is constantly evolving and learning, and we like to pass our knowledge on to our clients. But sometimes it’s our clients that do the teaching. Recently, we’ve worked on Web sites for a number of interior design firms. And true to form, we’re passing along the lessons we’ve learned from them to you.

Start with good bones. Every structure has to start with a solid foundation, sound walls and roof. Before you approach a Web site designer, understand your own approach to interior design and finding clients. You should be able to explain your vision easily. This understanding will help direct the designer in selecting colors, creating a unique framework, and even the font resulting in a site that successfully promotes your business.

Show your work. There may be many nice stock photos that fit within your own design aesthetic that you could use on your Web site. Don’t use them. Your portfolio is surely filled with fantastic examples of your own unique style and vision. If you don’t have enough high-quality pictures, invest in a better camera or hire a professional. The amount of money you spend will be balanced out by having examples of the great work you do. Plus, you’ll never have to explain in a face-to-face meeting why none of the pretty pictures on your site are actually in your portfolio.

Let your own talent be in the spotlight. Your clients want to discover what you can do and understand your sense of style to decide if working with you is a good fit. No one needs the distraction of seeing what you didn’t do (the before pictures). By using pictures of your own work, you allow your talent to truly shine.

Accessorize. Think of your Web site as your favorite room. Some things stay the same, like your favorite chair and coffee table. But, the accessories should change frequently to keep you interested and engaged. The photos and images on your site are the accessories; by updating them frequently, you’ll keep customers coming back and hold their interest. Change your photos at least once a season. And if you have an accomplished design that you’re especially proud of before the season changes, don’t wait! Show off your work like you’d show off the latest designer find to a favorite client or friend.

Edit. Take a good look at your finished Web site and inspect it like you would right before you show off your finished project to the client. Does the artwork set the right tone? Are the colors too brash, or are they spot-on? Will the design last, or be outdated by the next season? Are you forgetting anything? The most commonly overlooked aspect of a good Web site is the copy.

Your Web site needs well-written text. In order not to detract from the main focus of the site, the copy on your site must be used sparingly, yet pack an emotional punch. It needs to fill in the blanks your pictures, images, and artwork leave behind, completing the overall impression.

For this important task, consider trusting a professional. Hire a copywriter if you’re unsure of how to express yourself in a few short sentences. If you know exactly what to say, you should still hire an editor. A copyeditor will ensure that you didn’t make any grammatical mistakes, and that the tone of your copy matches the tone and feel of your Web site.

Keep up with the trends, don’t be a slave to them. Your Web site needs to highlight your unique talent, not the talent of your Web site designer. While it’s tempting to use all the available technology to show that you’re in touch with today’s world, using too many bells and whistles may drown out your own personality.

Ask questions of your Web site designer. Together, you should be able to examine the latest technology trends and understand the best application of each trend. Some of them will work with your vision, some of them may not. Be sure that you’re comfortable with how they will impact your client’s experience on your Web site.

In summary, a good Web site design is like a well-appointed room. A good Web site stays current without being trendy, sets a clear tone and vision of the owner, and puts the visitor at ease. Adopt the idea that your Web site is merely an extension of your own business and treat it with the proper respect, attention and care that it deserves.

3 thoughts on “What Interior Design Teaches Us About Web Design

  1. Yes Yes Yes, I cannot stress enough how much I agree with the comments on having photos of your own work on your interior design site. Stock photos have NO place on the website of a creative professional. Further, having just a single picture of your work can’t represent the breadth of your work as well as images of at least four or five projects. If you are just getting started, its time to makeover your own home – that will give you four new rooms to play with and photograph. Finally, make your images big enough to SEE. Your work is visual, and no one should have to work to see the image – scrap the thumbnails and put up big, bold, beautiful pictures!

  2. I think it’s also useful to mention that you can create your own website without having to hire a web designer. If you have access to iWeb on Mac computer, it’s very easy to do even without web design experience. I created my website myself and have received a lot of compliments from people saying they were surprised to know I did it on my own. It’s nothing fancy, but in the world of interior design, it’s the content & the portfolio photos that make a good website, not the flashy tech-y stuff. I used godaddy.com for the domain and the hosting site, iWeb to create the site and Fetch as the FTP provider.

  3. I have found Bigblackbag.com to be an invaluable source. They have hosted my site for over four years and I have complete control over the content. If you have a eye for graphics, this is the place for you. Though, I must say, some ID’s webites are just horrid. No complaints because it just makes mine stand out. But I am suprised at how many designers don’t invest in a quality website. It’s your portfolio!!!!!

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