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Graphic designers are the greatest. Sometimes they feel like the best kind of mind readers – the kind that can take a suggestion like, “can we make it feel bolder but less intimidating” and physically represent what that means to you. That’s AMAZING.
Here’s the thing, though: they’re not actually mind readers. Especially when it comes to non-design concerns.
So you want to redesign your site. You want your designer to put together a mockup, take that mockup to a fabulous developer, and end up with a fast, pixel-perfect theme that’s easy for you to update and for your readers to browse. How can you make that happen?
(Spoiler alert: Melissa knows about today’s speed trends. How do I know? Because we talk about it. We consult on it for every project we do together, so Melissa can specialize in design while Once Coupled specializes in fast themes.)
If you’re working with a designer that’s knowledgeable in the development process and understands today’s site speed standards, you could just tell them you want your site to be fast.
That’s tricky, though, because how do you know that your designer knows about speed?
Better yet: is it reasonable to expect them to know about speed? Their expertise is design, after all.
Let’s say that your designer doesn’t know about site speed. What can you do about that?
First and foremost, work with a developer that knows about site speed.
Second, ask your designer to consult with your developer. This way, you get two brilliant minds collaborating on your site together.
After all, there’s nothing more disappointing than finalizing mocks with your designer and hearing your developer recommend you “remove the slider” (your favorite part) and “decrease the size of the images” (your second favorite part) leaving you wondering if you actually need to have the whole home page redesigned already.
What if you can’t get your designer and developer to work together (and you’re still going to work with them, despite this)?
Here are some features I’d recommend against:
- Sliders & carousels
- Heavy use of images above the fold
- Unnecessary scripts (often from sliders, content networks, email captures)
- Social counts
These items tend to introduce “render-blocking” issues, which not only slow down your load time but can make other recommendations harder to fix, as well.
I’m for these features, though:
- Image sizes using the same crop ratio to improve image quality without requiring a million GB of server space
- Notating everything so your developer knows what your designer intended (and can make a speed-first plan with that in mind)
- Limiting the number of fonts needed, using an icon font, consolidating small images into sprites, using SVG when possible, and otherwise reducing resources where possible
If you’re thinking about redesigning, consider our Limited Edition theme. Melissa Rose and Once Coupled have worked together to follow all of these recommendations and more to make this theme as future-friendly as possible.
If you’ve recently redesigned your site and want to know what front-end improvements could be made, consider a site speed audit (which includes fixes to common recommendations! ?)