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.

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