All About Functional Design

What is Functional Design?

When a design is functional, it has a purpose and its features and functions allow it to achieve its intended goals.

Functional design is the process involved with producing positive outcomes for your business through your digital product–website or mobile app. This process focuses on desirable actions you want users to complete and how they happen.

In other words, the goal of a functional design is to solve a user’s problem functionally by encouraging the user to perform a specific action or make performing the action easier for them.

 For example, if you want users to fill out a contact form and schedule appointments, you may decide to click add a “let’s talk” button on a page. Your desirable action would be users clicking on the button, and your desirable outcome would be users making appointments.

A functional design communicates its purpose to users and shows them why the design should matter to them. Your design may entertain a target audience or answer a question for them. Ultimately, you want your design to support users who are a part of your target audience and support them.

Efficient and practical, a functional design allows you to create a digital product that works well for your business’s success.

In this post, we’ll explain how to utilize functional design for your company website or mobile platform to enhance the user experience and elevate your brand.

Effective Functional Design Strategies

Understand your target audience and their potential wants and needs.

Recognizing your target audience is vital to delivering the right message or solution. When you define this group of people and their demographic, location, gender, income, education level, employment, marital status, and purchasing behaviors, you can ensure you’re reaching the appropriate group of people. This will also provide you with a greater chance of producing an effective functional design, as you can tailor your design to meet your intended users’ wants and needs.

Make sure to show value to the user from the start. Your landing page should demonstrate who your brand is, what you do, and how you solve the user’s problem. This can be achieved by designing buttons, graphics and images, text, and other elements to resonate with intended users and make them more likely to interact with your brand.

Provide a balance of function and form throughout your design.

It’s important to remain consistent with symbols, iconography, and imagery in your design to continuously reinforce your brand’s messaging.

When it comes to communicating your brand’s messaging, you should also carefully consider the fonts you choose for your text. Fonts can be used to your advantage when it comes to organizing information and highlighting important aspects of your business. Choosing your fonts carefully can help to not overwhelm users as they navigate your digital site or platform.

Incorporate a visual flow to seamlessly guide users through the digital product while fulfilling the design’s purpose and intended functions. In other words, follow principles of rhythm such as patterns, colors and shapes, white space, text alignment, and the general spacing of pages. Decide the emotions you are trying to evoke through the design and create those feelings consistently through your rhythm choices.

Establish a visual hierarchy in the piece. According to HubSpot, “Visual hierarchy is the method of arranging graphic elements by order of importance. By relying on principles like size, color, contrast, white space, and more, you can influence how users interact with your designs.” Specifically, you can use different colors or play around with text size to emphasize key points and align elements on pages a certain way. Visual hierarchy is important for a functional design because it’s an opportunity to set elements up in the way in which people process information. You can guide them to focus on your design’s focal points, and away from less important elements.

Because you want your design to adhere to how people process information, the navigation of your design should mirror users’ habits and thought processes. Navigation plays a significant role in how users interact with your design and how it functions productively. Consider implementing principles of navigation design into your piece for a functional design.


Apply navigational design principles to your design to enhance the user experience throughout the piece.

Designers typically manipulate a variety of user experience patterns including links, labels, and other UI elements to provide relevant information and make interactions on the site easier (Costa, Rebeka. “Navigational Design: Almost Everything You Need To Know”. JustinMind, 12 March 2020, Navigational design can enhance a user’s understanding, give them confidence in using your product, and provide credibility to your design.

Since a design pattern is a general, reusable solution to a problem users may encounter, UX patterns can boost usability and increase the number of users who interact with your digital product. When selecting a navigation pattern that works best for your piece, think about it from the user’s perspective. Think about how it will reflect your brand and easily provide them with information.

Some common navigational design elements are breadcrumbs, call-to-action buttons, and tabs.

 Breadcrumbs provide a map of internal links on the product as the user navigates through the site to help them navigate the site by following the site’s hierarchy. This secondary navigation is beneficial for the user on a large website or mobile app to understand their location and find relevant information.

Call-to-action buttons can be instrumental in persuading users to complete the desired actions of your design. They are usually prominent and in a prime location on the digital product. This is a popular navigational element because it motivates your audience to stay connected even after visiting your site or app and can boost your conversions.

Tabs are commonly found on mobile devices on the bottom or the top of the screen to organize content with less screen space. Essentially, they divide up the content into sections that users can easily access to find the information they’re looking for, as opposed to paragraphs.

Navigational design can be aligned with the users’ goals and make or break the functions of your design, therefore, it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Final Thoughts

Functional design is centered around the user. This is important to consider when building out a website or mobile app for your business because you want to make sure you’re not overloading users with too much information. The information you provide should be relevant and valuable to them to keep them engaged as they navigate your interface.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on the solutions you’re providing to your target audience through your products or services and to design your website or mobile app to reflect that. You can set up elements by anticipating their needs, making it easier for them to perform actions that meet your business objectives. This will help you gain users’ trust while generating sales.

Want to improve your interface and implement a functional design? Contact our team at Dream Media Designs to get started today!


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