How your website’s style affects your website’s visitors

If you’ve seen the movie ‘The School of Rock’ this video should be pretty humorous to you.

If you haven’t seen the movie, then this looks like some sort of suspense thriller movie about a deranged teacher, when it is actually a comedy.

How does this apply to a website?

The movie itself really has nothing to do with what is in the preview. However, all of the clips in the preview are directly from the movie itself. Essentially, how you design, layout, and style your website, will have a drastic effect on your visitor’s perception of you. You may run the most efficient and amazing ecommerce business in existence, but if your visitors cant perceive value, then you have none.

It’s obvious that colors and layout can dramatically alter how a person feels about a product. This is very well documented, and is a focal point of many marketing studies in the last hundred years or so. Different colors inspire different feelings to different people. Here’s a great overview of color psychology in relation to marketing. Essentially, you need to match the layout, design and colors of your website with what your anticipated audience expects to see and do and feel when they are interacting with your site. It makes no sense to design an elegant day spa website in red and black with flashing banners everywhere, and conversely if you sell demolition equipment, light blue and white probably wont spark the right emotion from someone looking to purchase a wrecking ball!

None of this even has to be measured for it to be completely effective. Common sense will go a long way (assuming that you have some) when you finally do decide on colors and a layout for your site.

Simple is always safe…

If ever in doubt, blue, white, black, and Verdana are always a safe bet.

Verdana is the most readable font in any size. It’s getting much more common to see screen resolutions of 2048 and higher, so the ability to have legible small fonts is more important than ever.

Black text on a white background is by far the easiest to read, and is always the most professional text-background color scheme. The main content area of every site should white. If it’s not white, it should be close to white.

Using layout with a blue color base rarely delivers a poor result. Blue is the most universal color, and while it may not spark high-energy emotions as red and orange do, it is a sign of stability and trust, something that every website can use.

Final thought:

I still see websites that have flashing banners everywhere, have logos and icons all over the place, or are designed with colors that make absolutely no sense. These sites look messy, and never perform to their full potential.

Less is always better than more. Assuming a website looks and performs professionally, there isn’t any amount of pizazz that will make it work better. Most of the time, the more you add to it, the more you loose… Just because you see other sites that are super flashy, with dynamic content and videos all over the place, doesn’t mean that they are actually working.

Make your sites clean and simple and put some thought into why you are using the colors and layout that you choose. If something doesn’t absolutely need to be there for the good of the people visiting your site, get rid of it…

I highly recommend taking a look at all of the books on the Books you should have page, with Designing Web Usability, Prioritizing Web Usability, and Don’t make me think being the most relevant to creating clean, usable websites.

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1 Comment:
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