Imagine you're at a networking event and meet that one person who oozes competence, confidence, charisma, and knowledge--all in one greeting. This person is warm and genuinely listens to and cares about what you have to say. While she doesn't push her services on you at every turn, she responds thoughtfully and intelligently. Oh, as it turns out--what you need is exactly what her business does! Within two effortless minutes, you know this person is the real deal and you have to work with her.
Maybe you've met someone like this, maybe you haven't. The thing is, we live in 2015--where most business transactions aren't done in person, they're done online. Because of this, your website has to be designed to give your customers that same feeling of being listened to and cared about. Plus, you have to stand out in a sea of competition.
Mark Johnson is the founder of Bionic Egg, a website design company that specializes in innovative company branding. He's given us six website elements to be aware of as we design (and redesign) our online storefronts:
1. Navigation Should Be Short and Sweet
The "road less traveled" might have been good for Robert Frost, but the rest of us are too ADD for that. Don't take your visitors on a long journey or they'll leave you in the woods!
The shorter your navigation bar is, the faster you can deliver the information the user is looking for. If it is an e-commerce site, organize your dropdowns well, and let your user add to cart within 2 clicks. The more a client has to click around; the more their mind can wonder and end up in a new window on social media.
2. Keep Your Designs Simple
Simplicity and clarity lead to good design. No flashing banners and no neon links blinking! The user has already arrived at your site, so you have 85 percent of the battle won; do not lose them because you want a flashing pink SALE BOX with a dancing monkey. Your goal is to get them to buy--so don't distract them!
3. Go Easy on the Social Media
Ease back on the Social Media feeds on a home page, otherwise, users will click on them, be redirected to Facebook and probably forget about you all together.
Have share buttons and links in your footer, of course. But live feeds have a tendency to entice users to click on pretty photos--a new window opens and they're gone in a flash!
4. Be Responsive from Day One
When you hear the term "responsive design"--it means that it's set up for optimum viewing and interaction. Make sure your design does this from day one so Google can start ranking you properly (instead of silently judging you!).
5. Vanity Will Get You Nowhere
Do not be that person that says, "First I want my logo slowly to fade in, then once users click on it, they go to main site." This is one of the most common things clients ask for. Cool logo or not--if your visitors can't immediately figure out what your business does, they're likely to peace out.
6. Nobody Likes TMI
Keep your bio short and put all of the great, relevant information front and center. DO NOT make it five paragraphs long by starting the timeline back in your youth. No one in business cares about when you were 3 years old and liked pretty bubbles. Save that type of information for drinking with friends. Live in the present and stay focused!