Archive for August, 2008

Making Your Website More Appealing: Using Graphics

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Motion graphics such as Flash can be used at the opening sequence of your web site but should be avoided elsewhere unless your company specializes in creating visual media that require motion or animation.

Companies that fit into this category include business involved with

  • video games
  • film or video editing
  • advertisements
  • online games
  • online video

Even if your company is somehow involved in these activities, animation should be kept to a minimum on your home page, contact page, and “about us” page. Remember that the human eye is drawn not only to light colors, but also to movement.

If your business is focused on creating movement (as in the types of companies listed above), then you can use this to your advantage.  Otherwise, moving graphics or images can distract your customers and prevent them from finding more information about your product or services.  For some individuals this movement can be outright annoying and possibly distracting, causing them to leave your web site long before making a decision on whether or not to do business with you.

Keep in mind that not all consumers have computers that support heavy graphics.  If your effects are too elaborate and your customers have to wait too long for the page to load, this might cause unnecessary frustration and they might leave your site prematurely.

In general, keep your site elegant, simple, and focused on your business.  Unnecessary graphics can distract from the purpose of your web site and dissuade customers from returning.  In place of extensive animation, use colors and static designs that reflect the mission of your company and appeal to your target demographic.

This is the fourth and final article in a series of articles on “Making Your Web Site More Appealing.” 

 

Making Your Website More Appealing: Navigation and Menus

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Consumers will only stay on your web site if it is user-friendly and easy to navigate.  If your customers cannot find information with relative ease, they are bound to leave, possibly choosing to visit a competitor’s site instead. Not only do your navigation bar, tab browsing, and menus need to be easily visible and accessible, they need to provide thorough, relevant information. 

In general, basic tabs and navigation menus need to remain consistent throughout your site.  This means that all tabs, menus, and tools look the same from page to page and can be found in the same location on every page within your site.  Your audience needs to be able to navigate your site from any page with ease and consistency. 

Every tab and menu item needs to link to a page that has information relevant to the title of the link.  For example, if your site has an “About Us” page, the page should have company background, mission statement, location, contacts, etc.  Simplifying or eliminating some of this information can lead to customer frustration and disappointment with your company.  Always deliver what you promise. 

Minimize the number of clicks it takes for your customers to find the information they seek.  All general information about your company, including contact information, background, company goals, and goods and services, should be no more than one click away from the home page.  The fewer the clicks, the quicker customers can find what they are looking for, and the happier they will be. 

Individuals and businesses working in visual mediums generally have a large number of samples or examples of their work.  These artists, media companies, and graphic designers generally have a lot of information to share and need to group their work into a web site that is easy to navigate.  If you have lots of examples of your work, be sure to split your samples into categories that allow your potential clients to find relevant projects with ease.

Furthermore, your web site needs to have information about who you are and what you do somewhere on your home page.  A link to this page should be present on every other page on your site.  That way, if potential customers land on any page in your web site as a result of a general search, they can easily find more information about you and your company by visiting your home page.

A professional web design company should be able to help you organize and promote your information in the best way possible.

This is the third in a series of articles on “Making Your Web Site More Appealing.” The next article will focus on using or “misusing” music in a web site.

 

 

 

 

Making Your Web Site More Appealing: Colors and Design

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Color choices and color placement directly influence the emotions and decisions of the consumer.  In order to manipulate these variables to your advantage, you need to know how consumers react to different colors and designs. Keep in mind that different colors promote different feelings.  For example: 

l Cool colors like blue and green are generally considered calming.

l Hot colors like bright yellow or red are associated with anxiety and frustration.

l Warm colors, like gold and orange, are usually associated with light, warmth, or autumn depending on your demographic. 

Sticking to a single color can look boring, but using a variety of colors can cause confusion.  While professional web design companies can help balance the effects, it’s important to know how mixing colors can work for you. Combining warm and cool hues not only help create a memorable web site, they can also reflect your brand and mission. 

Professional graphic designers and Web design specialists are trained to create web sites that promote your unique business in a way that generates repeat traffic. By using your company’s colors and mixing them with a palette designed around your target audience, Web designers can help you create a memorable Internet presence.

Always keep in mind that the human eye is attracted to light colors and contrast. If you want to draw your consumer’s attention to a specific part of your page, contrast a lighter color against a uniform dark background. For example, you can use a lighter color for your tab browsing while keeping a darker color for your background.  The content of each page should be the focus, however, so you want to be sure that the background of your article or graphic is brighter than the rest of the page. 

Lines and curves can work to your advantage, too. Your consumer’s focus will follow lines and curves until they end. You can use this to direct your reader’s eyes down the page to a specific video or graphic. Take a look at a web page that you like. There is a good chance you can see how the page uses contrasting colors and simple linear structures to keep your eyes focused on the content of the page.

Web designers specialize in creating color combinations that not only reflect your business but also keep the consumer focused on your product.

This is the second in a series of articles on “Making Your Web Site More Appealing.”  The next article will focus on Navigation and Menus.