Designing a website for a designer
When Ginger Woods is interviewing potential clients for her interior design business, she is asking more questions about how they live than what they like. “Of course the space must be beautiful,” she explains, “but what’s most important is functionality. Whether we are talking about your home or your business, I focus on making your space work to achieve your goals.”
Substitute the word “website” for “space” and Ginger’s approach to design is the same as ours. So when she asked Hollister Creative to design the online home of Ginger Woods Design, we knew right away that this would be a successful collaboration.
Ginger had three clear goals for the website. Goal #1 was to convey to visitors that a real person was there to welcome them, the kind of person who could really, truly personalize their experience with interior design.
Ginger realized, however, that before a visitor responded to her welcome, the visitor would look at the photos on her home page and in her portfolio. Goal #2: Great photos in a pleasing display. “They won’t stay if they don’t see things they like,” she said.
Goal #3 was to show the full range of her services, which include Design for Aging in Place and Design-Based Downsizing. “I’m a problem solver,” she said. “I have a process for solving all kinds of problems with space, for all kinds of people and spaces. What you see on the surface is the final step in the process. All the prior steps make the space safe, comfortable and customized to the needs of the users.”
When designing a website for a person who designs something, follow these tips:
- Don’t compete with the portfolio. Place photos of the designer’s work front and center. Keep the website design simple and neutral, like the walls in a museum.
- Convey the designer’s personality. Visitors will quickly assess whether they connect with the designer’s work. They next want to know if they connect with the designer. A photo of her, a personal message from her and a voice throughout the text that speaks warmly and directly to visitors will help them connect.
- Show insight and understanding. When selecting a professional to provide a customized service, people want evidence that the pro has insight into the complexities of the service and understands the generally expected outcomes. This can be demonstrated by devoting a page to the designer’s approach and by explaining each service in a way that anticipates the prospective client’s questions and concerns.