Websites are becoming more and more sophisticated. Hundreds of separate elements like buttons, icons, and forms are combined together to create a cohesive and positive experience for users. These elements need to be defined by a set of rules to help the entire project team understand when and why they should be used. When this collection of elements and rules is compiled together it’s called a web style guide. Here are the reasons why your website needs one.
Consistency is one of the most important aspects of the user’s experience on a website. It may seem relatively simple to achieve, but it is easily overlooked. Let’s say a user is about to purchase a pair of shoes from a company’s eCommerce website. They’ve found the shoes they want, have put them in their cart, and proceed to checkout. But when they get to the form to enter in their credit card information, they notice the form is styled much differently from the rest of the website. The user may be thinking “why does this form look so much different than the rest of the website?” or “is this a scam?”. This lapse in consistency may be enough for the user to drop their purchase and lose trust in the company as well as their website.
After a designer has received the final approval from the stakeholders on the designs for a new website, it’s time to pass off the designs to the developers and build the dang thing. But as the site begins to take shape, crucial details can begin to fall through the cracks. Details like button hover effects, margins, and spacing, and image overlays may not be clearly communicated, leaving the developer to take their best guess as to how they should look. By defining all the possible elements in a style guide, the developer can work more efficiently and not have to make any guesses while developing. Removing the guesswork saves time on the project, resulting in less money spent and a shorter timeline to launch!
Building for the Future
So your website is finally finished and it looks great! The web style guide helped the developer efficiently build a detailed and beautiful website that looks just like the designs. But now what use is the web style guide? No website is ever truly finished, there are always new features or products to add on in the future. With a web style guide already created, it will be easy for any member of your team to jump right into the project and take down these new features with consistency and efficiency!