The Visitor Experience

Last week we talked about turning your idea into a website and this week we want to focus on the atmosphere of your website. The visual experience needs to be just as pleasing to the user as practical functionality. Once you know how your website is going to operate, it’s time to focus on the look and feel.

A Website’s Look and Feel

First things first, the overall design of your website, including colors, imagery, tone, and overall impression is key to creating a pleasing visual for your user. Ask yourself what kind of feeling you want to give visitors to your site. For example, are you looking for light, relaxed, and informal or are you wanting professional, confident, and businesslike? Think back on the goal of your business and this will help you formulate the look and feel you are striving for.

What Does and Doesn't Work

Not all of us are visual learners - we can't plan out a design in our head and that’s okay. Do your research and look at other websites to see what you do and do not like. Sometimes the best way to figure out what kind of website you want is to have a few other websites that you appreciate the look of. What appeals to you about their look and function? Are there elements that you would like to incorporate with your own site? Be prepared to give your feedback and thoughts to your designer as they create your graphics.

Your Website's Table of Contents

It’s critical that your website is organized and easy to navigate. When people come to your website, they want to be able to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. This usually happens with the use of a menu, whether it be at the top or on the side. Just like the table of contents in a book, the menu makes it very clear what is available on your site, and how to find it. Start thinking now how you want to organize all the things you want to say in an easily navigable structure that will help your customers find what they need.

Dynamic, Interactive Features and Social Media

Most websites have at least some type of dynamic element to them, meaning they are meant to do more than just be read. These types of elements are designed to engage the visitor and respond to them. For example, you may see contact forms, an automated subscriber list for emails, or downloadable audio or video clips. More and more, people are finding benefits to having social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.    You will find others who blog regularly to keep site content fresh, current, and engaging. Or perhaps you have seen video demonstrations that are interactive and fun. There are many choices and options out there, but you have to ask yourself what tools and features are needed to do the best job at engaging your unique audience.