I found a wonderful blog entry that talks about six design lessons from the Apple store. It’s an old blog–from 2004–but the message is still valuable. Store design is like Web site design, and this piece makes it clear. So here is the Web context for each of the design lessons.
1. Create an experience, not an artifact.
Consider your site as an experience for the visitor, so that every aspect of that experience helps convey the message you’re trying to communicate.
2. Honor Context
Think about the visitor’s point of view when organizing your site, not your point of view as a business insider. Your categories don’t matter; the visitor’s do.
3. Prioritize your messages
You can’t say everything you want to say to each Web visitor. Decide what’s most important and say that–clearly and emphatically.
Use all the tools you have to convey your image. Make the site design consistent with your products, if you have products, or your offices if customers visit your offices. And be sure that all those tools are consistent with the message.
4. Design for change
Marketing is the discipline of continually changing how the company deals with a changing marketplace, and this is exactly what happens on the Web. Search engines actually give higher rank to sites that change often. So design choices need to enable change.
5. Don’t forget the human element
Remember that the next step after your site is the encounter an interested visitor will have with your people. Make sure that they also reflect the message of quality and consistency and service that you want to deliver, or your visitors will quickly discover that there’s little behind the pretty site.
There are parallels between Web site design and the design of a retail store. In both cases, every aspect of the design and how our employees behave within it should be used to convey our marketing message.