All websites have a purpose, even it’s just to appease the ego of the author. Most websites’ purpose is either to sell something, or to provide some relevant information. In both cases, authors and designers need to take a practical approach to their creations, ensuring that their work assists the website accomplish its task and fulfill its purpose.
From a design perspective, this has one giant implication: understand your website’s purpose and design for it.
Drawing up a website that has a “cool design” is great and all, but if your cool design is completely counterintuitive to users, you’ve just created a poor user experience, and hindered your website’s purpose. The idea sounds simple, but can become a challenge, especially for designers who get caught up in their own creativity and never step back from the canvas.
A lot of times, there are smaller examples of this philosophy, hidden in the grand scheme. For example, let’s consider an online magazine website. The designer knows that the website has to display lots of written stories in an organized, digestible manner. He/she knows that the site has to be flexible with content, dimensions, and, to some extent, layout. But woe is the designer who forgets to incorporate advertisements into his/her photoshop sketch.
Too often, designers out there seem to care more about their own beautiful artwork than the ultimate reason for their creation and the necessary planning & critique that go along with it.