Just Because You Can…
In today’s world, many first impressions are made through design, whether in print or online. Maybe that’s a good thing, but maybe it’s not! There are some things that simply can’t be unseen (Thanks, Facebook).
Our team wants to make sure that none of those unforgettable things come from inexperienced designs, tarnishing that reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. Website problems can make a very bad first impression. There are a few simple guidelines that should be followed when working through your next design project, should you choose not to use an experienced design company (although we DO have a good recommendation…).
1) “HERE IS OUR LOGO IN THIS WORD DOCUMENT”:
Nope. Nope. Just no. Logos and images speak volumes! Images evoke emotion and they can bring your product or your business to life. Utilizing quality imagery for your website or print product is crucial. Images have to be of an appropriate resolution and file type to produce a professional look.
Images also do more than just sit still and look pretty! Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners. When used properly on a website, images can help to improve SEO. With proper labeling and meta descriptions, images can aid in boosting search results. Plus, they’ll show up in image searches too which is like a twofer! And if you have ever sent your designer your “logo in a word doc,” you owe them flowers.
2) “JUST USE COMIC SANS, TIMES, AND MAYBE SOME TYPE OF SCRIPTY FONT”:
Let’s just start by saying that Comic Sans has its place—nobody has ever found that place, but it must exist, somewhere, perhaps in the deep dark archives of Microsoft (it really is the font that designers love to hate…) We digress. Utilizing too many fonts on one platform will look messy, busy, and unprofessional. You don’t have to select four fonts, bolded, underlined, and in italics to get the point across that your product or business is fun and whimsical. Fonts should be limited and if multiple ones are used (usually no more than two), they should complement each other so as to not lose the point of the website or printed message in fonts that speak too ‘loudly.’
3) WHITESPACE IS NOT A FOUR-LETTER WORD (LITERALLY, IT ISN’T):
This one is very simple! Whitespace on your website and in printed material is OK! NO need to expound on that. Don’t add clutter that isn’t necessary. Done.
4) YOU USED TO CALL ME ON YOUR CELL PHONE:
Long gone are those days when people use cell phones for calling. Well maybe not completely, but according to Trinity Digital Marketing, over 1.2 billion people, that’s billion with a “b,” use their smartphone to access the internet daily. Are you willing to risk that your website isn’t optimized for mobile? Something that looks great and is functional on your laptop may have a completely different experience on mobile. Images, font size, and menu functionality are just a few of the hundreds of things that can make or break a mobile user’s experience. In today’s market, we recommend that you actually plan for mobile FIRST.
5) CONSISTENCY. CONSISTENCY. DON’T CHANGE. CONSISTENCY:
There is a lot to be said for continuity. Inexperienced designers can go wrong with too many, too much and too varied. Pick a theme, brand, and even a palette that you will be working with and STICK TO IT. Just because there are hundreds of layout options available to you doesn’t mean it should all be utilized in one project. That doesn’t mean that it all has to be the same, just consistent. There is a difference and a good designer is a perfect guide to help you through that murky water.
6) “THANK YOU FOR CALLING TONY’S PIZZA”:
This one seems maybe too obvious but you would be amazed at the number of times we have come across websites or printed products where the contact information was incorrect. Good editing can go a long way. It’s really hard to get a good pizza delivered when the phone number on the flyer in the mailbox goes to the local mortuary. I mean, they still deliver, but they expect a lot more in tips! Do you have a contact page, is it easily accessible, and is the information correct? If users can’t readily get in touch with you, they will move on.