While technical proficiency and creativity remain the heart and soul of great web design, specific client needs can vary by a lot of factors, including region. Not every city or state has the same proportion of industries or income, so how a given website looks and operates can change depending on who the target customers are in the area.
For instance, one of our main offices in Manassas, VA, serves a lot of Washington D.C. area clients, so being able to adapt our expertise to the needs of a big city with plenty of different industries is fundamental to our focus of helping people local to our branches. It’s no accident that this strategy also helps maintain extremely responsive customer support so clients feel like they can be involved every step of the way.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best websites we collaborated on with our clients around D.C. to get a feel for what’s similar and different between their individual and industry needs.
Public companies and public office
It’s no secret that websites for institutions in the public sector can be informationally outdated, visually unappealing, and not user-focused, but this doesn’t have to be the case. While public websites are often designed to represent people from numerous demographics instead of specific groups, the visual and navigational design principles for public sites isn’t so different.
Someone in an elected public position, like Ruth Anderson, Virginia’s Occoquan District Supervisor, needs a campaign website that is easy to navigate and shows how in-touch they are with local issues. Unlike many private positions, Anderson’s has some implicit calls to action she wants accessible to visitors, like committing to vote or voting absentee, both of which are selectable options on her site’s header bar. The “About Me” section is specific to her, and thoroughly describes a professional and personal lifetime of accomplishments that make her, in particular, suitable for the role. She makes separate web-pages for her overall campaign theme and more specific professional ambitions as a way to give evidence for both her broad appeal and deep-issue expertise.
Department of Economic Development
More than just a DC suburb, the City of Manassas offers a lot of professional opportunities, historical value, and a growing population. Their Department of Economic Development’s site uses the city’s downtown logo with a slideshow just beneath describing recent industry-leader investments in the area and how the city’s stylish historic district continues to attract entrepreneurs. The “Fast Facts” homepage button brings visitors to a fun-to-read information sheet about the city’s offerings at a glance. Each homepage section tells you crucial information about the city, with quick links to local business services, data and demographics and the area, and even locations where larger businesses moving to the area could buy real estate. All the site information treats visitors like prospective movers, and even the URL is a call to action about committing to the area.
The Arc of Greater Prince William County is a nonprofit that needed help recreating their online presence without breaking the bank. We were able to closely work with them to help rebuild their branding based on their artistic logo across the entire website. As a company that offers development opportunities for intellectually and developmentally disabled people, their homepage images of happy participants and descriptions of their clients’ personal achievements go a long way in establishing credibility with visitors. Their central homepage bar offers every page with easy-to-navigate drop-down menus.
The V2 Systems company serves the entire DC-Baltimore metro area, and let you know via their homepage’s bright orange contact bar at the top. As a Managed IT and Security firm, their main slider image provides a call to action about learning more about their specific services, while just under it they describe their expertise and track record since the company’s inception in 1995. They also present a unique description of their average employee tenure, which is 10 years on the job. As a self-described small company that only employs a select few, those people’s experience and general expertise are paramount toward convincing new clients to choose V2.
Renovation and construction
As the DC-area’s population continues to rise, homes need to be made and remodeled to meet housing demands. A company that specializes in construction or home remodeling will definitely want to show their work online, but different degrees of construction and renovation appeal to different groups, so it’s important for a site to focus on communicating how a particular business meets a specific audience’s needs.
FA Design Build
Based in Fairfax, VA, FA Design Build’s website has an elegant and responsive look. The header bar buttons and homepage background image thematically look like wooden boards to build a home, and their main image slider is a high resolution portfolio of their interior remodeling work. They have a helpful chat service for questions right from their homepage and an impossible-to-miss “Follow us” page where they upload progression pictures of current remodeling projects at various stages.
Regency Commercial Construction
The Regency website takes a more initially immersive approach, giving widescreen images of their custom professional spaces the whole homepage for visitors to see, with contact information and social media icons on the footer bar just below. Their simple navigation menu sticks to the essentials so you can easily view their diverse project portfolio. Their “how we build” section is especially informative and lets Regency break down their process into manageable chunks for readers so everyone’s on the same page.
The D.C. area’s Eller Group is a project management and owner’s representation service company, meaning they’re always focused on retaining and recruiting new clients in need. Their minimalist presentation shows a stunning image of their office and a thorough description just below to better help visitors understand the more social and abstract nature of their work. Everything on the site just feels crisp with a white and dark blue palette and very concise descriptions of what they offer. Their portfolio section is some of the best we’ve seen, including project costs and the specific work they did, all without looking unnecessarily complex on the page.
Event planning and food service
Every type of business benefits from a great website, but visual appeal and strong branding really add up when organizing large events and working in food service.
With a home office in Washington DC, the event management company CSI DMC has some of the best web design around. Their homepage video loop shows highly curated events involving chefs, professional dancers, video games, and historical tours in the area. These vibrant-looking possibilities come just before a grid of selectable options about the services they can deliver, including dining choices, special events, team building exercises, and transportation. Each category comes with its own description page with more specific details and a short example video from an event they’ve managed.
Takoma Bev. Co.
There’s no shortage of coffee shops in most big cities, so how should D.C.’s Takoma Bev. Co. stand out among competition? By focusing on quality crafting and themes about social engagement, Takoma’s site uses detailed images of coffee beans, coffee-prep tools, delicious snacks from the kitchen, and a row of alcoholic beverages to indicate that their business isn’t just about grabbing your cup of morning Joe and grumbling back out to work. Their homepage calls-to-action cleverly hit on their nearly all-day availability, with “Begin your day,” “Hang Out With Us,” and “Relax With Us,” sections describing the shop’s compatibility with average customer needs both during the work day, around lunch, and near happy hour.