However, your business web site isn’t, and shouldn’t be, just an electronic version of your product/service brochure. It could also be another potential revenue-generating source. Just like a printed brochure, your web site doesn’t get read by your visitors from top to bottom. At least not initially—and not until you get them interested in what you have to offer.
As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And nowhere is this truer than on the Web. Your prospects form an instant impression of you and your company the moment your home page displays onto their computer screens.
In a mouse click, your prospects determine who you are, how they feel about you, and decide if they want to do business with you. Is your web site creating the impression you want? Your business web site acts as a silent salesman for your business. Knowing this, wouldn’t you want to “dress” it to WOW your customers?
Being able to draw doesn’t make one an artist. Just as having written an essay doesn’t make one a novelist. At least not without years of practice and training. Similarly, and with the widespread availability of professional software, you as a small business owner may choose to design-it-yourself (DIY). You may think you could create your own artwork, “design” a promotion flyer, build a web site.
However, to design something to visually communicate effectively and compellingly, you have to consider its clarity, font usage, readability.
Other things to consider are:
These are business communication problems to be addressed. You also need to consider its consistency, identity, colour, professionalism, integration, innovation and emotional impression.
Have you ever gone for a drive with a map someone else made and it is poorly drawn or just wrong? We all hate the frustration of getting lost. A difficult or inefficient navigation would break your web site as quickly and easily as it was created (by yourself). We evaluate the consistency, innovation, linkage, usability and presentation of the design.
We also evaluate the resolution requirements, complexity, consistency, usability to test the effectiveness of the web site layout.
In his book, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, web usability guru, Steve Krug, writes:
“When we’re creating sites, we act as though people are going to pore over each page, reading our finely crafted text, figuring out how we’ve organized things, and weighing their options before deciding which link to click.
What they actually do most of the time (if we’re lucky) is glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. There are usually large parts of the page that they don’t even look at.”
Krug adds that if one wants to design effective Web pages, there are three facts about real-world Web use to consider:
1) We don’t read pages. We scan them.
2) We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.
3) We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.