Template-based, do-it-yourself web design is increasingly accessible, but custom web design still offers benefits that its simpler alternative does not. As the name suggests, one of those benefits is customization – not just for yourself but for the visitor. And not just for the visitor as an individual, but also for the visitor on the basis of when and under what circumstances they are accessing your site.
There’s one very basic example of this type of custom web design, and you’ve probably seen in it in a number of social media platforms and other applications. But it’s also a window into a much larger world of possibilities, which can help you to make your site appear more accessible and more user-friendly for a wide variety of potential visitors.
The example in question is “dark mode,” and it allows users to switch the color palate of a website or application in order to create less eye strain in low-light conditions. Some sites utilize custom web design to toggle this feature on and off automatically, by responding to the local time associated with the IP that is accessing it. Others simply make it a prominent feature that is easily enabled, so as to convey sensitivity to the visitor’s comfort and preferences.
Depending on your own experiences and the demographics that you’re trying to capture with your online marketing campaign, you can probably think of some other ways in which this message might be conveyed. Eye strain is an issue for almost everyone under certain conditions, but it is a more serious and constant issue for some of us, and one that custom web design can at least partially address.
You’ll want to talk with your web developers about implementing that custom web design if, for instance, a significant portion of your audience is elderly. Visitors in that demographic might benefit from larger font sizes, and perhaps also from more subdued colors, less distracting visuals, and other things that might trigger physical pain or confusion. But this isn’t to say that you should design your entire site around those principles, since doing so would not have the same appeal for younger visitors, or even for elderly visitors with more youthful preferences.
Custom web design allows for you to appeal to multiple demographics by having multiple versions of an entire site – just like dark mode and light mode, except designed with more specific accessibility issues in mind. This type of custom web design can be used to accommodate any number of groups that you think you might be serving, from people with certain types of colorblindness to people on the autism spectrum, to people who simply prefer a particular design aesthetic and want to see it respected by the partners they work with.
Even if you find that the practical benefits of this sort of custom web design are minimal, it may still have a significant impact on your branding and public relations. In the first place, it demonstrates a level of attention to accommodations and equal access that many people – especially younger consumers – will respond to. And in the second place, multiple versions of your site simply make it more exciting, less predictable, and unique in a way that might make visitors more likely to come back and experience it in more than one way.