The Good, The Bad and the Downright Ugly Websites.
When chatting about the design of a website, one must remember that design is extremely subjective. What may be perfect and breathtaking to one user, may be another users worst, Tim Burton – cold sweat inducing nightmare.
Design, Usability, Content & Development.
Visual appeal is only a fraction of the puzzle. Aesthetic elements aside, site planning, usability, user interface and content layout are all key players. If a site is visually stunning, but takes 10 seconds to load, what kind of a message is that sending to your users? On the other hand, say the homepage of your site has a 2000 pixel image that loads quickly, but the user is unable to find your contact information, or even navigate the site properly.
With web design of the future, in it’s simplest form…getting simpler (That made sense, right?), it’s more important than ever to use a clever mix of fonts, colors and navigation to entice your users into delving deeper within your site, thus reducing bounce rates and increasing their time on site.
Ever heard of the “Halo Effect” (and we’re not talking about the video game).
First off, what is the Halo Effect? Simply put, the “Halo Effect” is a term that stems from the field of social psychology. It’s a cognitive bias that happens when the negative, or positive traits of a group, person or company merge from one area and spill off into another. Basically, if we consider something to be pleasing, it’s in our nature to make similar evaluations in other categories.
How does the “Halo Effect” relate to Web Design?
Well, it’s a known fact that most website visitors make a decision within 1/20th of a second whether they like your website or not. Research data from Dr Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University in Ontario, mentions that before your customers even have time to read your unique value proposition or browse the content on your site, their subconscious is making prompt assessments about your brand based on it’s visual appeal.
If a consumer has a positive experience upon entry of your website, unbeknownst to them, they’ll likely spend more time on your site, read more sales copy, participate in your online community and hopefully convert.
While we agree that not every business needs to spend 10 thousand dollars on website design, careful planning and methodical thinking are crucial.
To sum it up, first impressions and the “Halo Effect” can make or break your online business. The usability, visual prowess and content placement on your website can have tremendous ramifications on its effectiveness, which is why most web design agencies charge what they charge.