Magazines and TV shows pay a premium for creative layout and artistic direction. That’s because they work on one basic principle: perception is everything. And in this fickle marketplace called the Internet, it’s even more important. With an “empowered” audience that can turn its back anytime, a company’s website can make or break its business. These common design mistakes can put you out of business faster than you can say “retirement”:
A bad color scheme“A powerful tool or the bane of your corporate existence”
Depending on how you use it, color can be a powerful tool or the bane of your corporate existence. What works for a preschool website may not play so well for an executive bank. You want something that’s easy on the eyes, but also accurately reflects your business. If you’re fairly new and have yet to pick your colors, now’s the time.
One key difference between web and print is the way they’re read. Online readers don’t read word for word; rather, they scan the page for key phrases that catch their interest. Big blocks of text are “unscannable,” so most people just wouldn’t bother unless they’re really desperate. Keep your copy short. If you really have a lot to say, put the text across several pages or make a supplementary page.
Disclaimers like “Best viewed on Firefox 3.0.6” basically say “We couldn’t be bothered to do our own tests, so go fix it yourself.” Websites fare differently on every system. Before going live, run the site through a browser test—most editors have one built in, or you can use a web-based tester.
When someone loses his way in a website, he’s more likely to close the window instead of working his way out. Make it so that there’s always a link to the main page. And although many say it’s outdated, it won’t hurt to make a site map—it may not be your most popular page, but it just might get you that customer who would otherwise have clicked away.