Friday, January 20, 2006

Not Flashy part 2

Simple, instantly recognizable features are shown over and over to be preferable in web design. Sites that are cluttered, or have many distractions, are not instantly appealing to people; they have to have formed a good impression of the company before ever seeing the website to have a favorable view of the company. Here are the features that constitute a good web design:

  • the site must be findable by those who seek it (cf search engine crawlers should find it, the web address should be in print ads, in the phone book, in TV or Radio ads, the domain name must be as short as feasible but easy to remember)

  • the site is usable for both the company, its employees, and its visitors

    • careful consideration to navigation, and the names in the headings

  • simple drawings are used rather than photographs

  • pages are read (by English language readers) from the top left to right, down the page

  • there are established rules for color coordination and contrast that designers are trained in, and the stable web color palate is limited

  • emotional and cultural impressions of colors should be considered

When designers are pushing designs that are non-standard, you can be assured that your website visitors will be confused. If navigation is hidden or in a different-than-usual place on the screen, or labeled in an obscure or arbitrary manner, your customers will quickly be frustrated in their attempts to find the information they need to make decisions regarding your company. If your site looks like something that might win awards, you might get some extra traffic when the awards are announced, but you're doing far more for the designer than for your business -- how many customers will come from the award announcement sites, ready and willing to buy your products? It's more likely that other designers and design firms are looking at your site to add to their repertoire of ideas to sell to other companies.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Staying Green!

Our planet is teetering on the edge of natural disaster. We're working on making allys of nearby environmentally-friendly printers.

Eclectic Tech, LLC also performs many habitual acts to preserve the environment:

  • we rarely print and the printer is always off unless needed

  • our printer is a duplex printer -- it prints on both sides of a page

  • we can print 4-up to a page (2 pages per side) on our printer and still be comfortable reading or proofing -- thus a 16 page document takes only 4 sheets of paper to proof, and because the print is smaller, less toner-per-letter is used (if anyone can point out soy-based laser toner, we'd buy it!)

  • we use 100% post-consumer acid- & chlorine-free paper (Bless you, Xerox)

  • all light bulbs in the office & house except 1 are compact florescent

  • during daylight hours we only work by sunlight streaming through the bay window in our office

  • we only drive when we must -- we're close enough to the grocery stores to bike there in fair weather

  • we buy in bulk whenever possible, and religiously recycle

I'm sure there's more, because these things are habits more than expressly thought out as an angle to sell my business. It just occurred to me that people might be interested in how green this high-tech office runs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

SEO Competition

Having competition is nice. It challenges me to new levels of activity and knowledge in my industry. Unfortunately when it comes to search engine optimization -- everyone who says they DO, or CAN is making sites that AREN'T. I started a short series of consumer-education articles for SEO. If you want to know MORE about how to tell if a graphics/web firm is really creating SEO sites, follow my hints on THEIR companies and their portfolio work. If you want to know whether YOUR SEO firm has done their job -- follow the hints on YOUR website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Not Flashy

My instincts for design have served me right. Research proves that people make snap decisions about websites, and studies show that flashy websites are NOT the "way to go" -- while they amuse the designers and bulid a terrific portfolio, and they make the purchaser FEEL like they're getting their money's worth, good websites are really all about content, communication, information, community and how to get that across to the visitor. ASAP!

Saturday, January 7, 2006

e-Trailblazer facelift

e-Trailblazer Consulting gets a facelift - e-Trailblazer has 2 websites, both given major design overhauls by Eclectic Tech, LLC preceeding the release of Equimanager 2.0 software.