I started designing web sites around 1996 when web site design and usability was a concept in infancy. At that time I was busy inventing new structures and experimenting with formats for user interactivity.
Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.
Web design is many things, but principally it is the design of interactivity. What ever the content, the user needs to be guided through a site towards easy to find content. Providing options for the user as to which path they may take, good web site design guides a user towards their goal, while expressing the personality of the brand, individual or company.
There are two main points from which most people determine whether a web site design is “good” or “bad.” There’s a strict usability standpoint, which focuses on functionality, the effective presentation of information, and efficiency. Then there’s the purely aesthetic perspective, which is all about presentation, hot animations, and sexy graphics. Some designers get caught up in the aesthetics and graphics and forget about the user, and some usability gurus get lost in their user testing and forget about visual appeal. In order to reach people and retain their interest, it’s essential to maximize both.