“Myths are a waste of time. They prevent progression.” – Barbara Streisand
By Elaine Dodge
Your Website is Your Electronic Business Card
Today, it’s probably more important to have a website than it is to have a business card – although you should have both. A website tells potential clients, whom you’ve never met, much more than a business card can.
The Face of the Company
There are rules about what makes ‘good art’. There are rules about what makes a good website. There are also numerous myths locking companies into having just ‘a pretty face’ on the internet.
These are the 4 most common myths:
• Myth 1: Web design is only required to make a website look good
• Myth 2: My website design must be original
• Myth 3: Good design means not sweating the small stuff
• Myth 4: The important stuff must be above the ‘fold’
Myth Bust #1
Have you ever heard anyone ask a designer for an ugly site?
No. But, a web designer worth the beans does a lot more than just make a site ‘visually striking’. A book can have handmade paper, lush full-colour fold-out illustrations, gilded lettering and a holographic cover, but if the plot is non-existent all of that ‘fluff’ counts for nothing. The visual appeal of a site engages the user’s attention but the user experience is how easily they can navigate the site. This includes inspiring people to act.
Myth Bust #2
Originality and its desirability is priceless. It’s also a myth. Ever since our ancestors began painting cave walls, humans have been creative. The likelihood of anything being truly original in 2017 A.D. is, to put it mildly, unlikely. Especially when you consider that every 60 seconds, 571 new websites are uploaded. Web design programmes, like WordPress, have given web designers an easy way to create websites thanks to their vast array of highly successful themes and templates. While this does mean that the layout of a site can be similar to that of other companies, the site can be customised with original pictures and branding. Complete originality on the web requires custom coding, which is great if you can afford it. Users like originality but they also like sites with great usability and excellent content.
Myth Bust #3
How much do you think a major e-commerce site made by changing one button on their website to read, “Continue”? US$300 MILLION more in revenue!! After customers had filled their on-line shopping basket and before they could enter the information to actually pay, they encountered a form where they were required to register with the company. The form was designed to make things easier for everyone, especially for returning customers. Instead, it created confusion, frustration and lost sales. The designers removed the form and replaced it with a ‘Continue’ button, giving the customer the option to create an account or continue straight to purchase. In the first month after the change, the company made US$15 million more, and US$300 million more in the first year.
Every little detail counts. Especially when your clients tell you they’re unhappy with something. A website is there to attract more sales from both existing and new customers and clients. Attention to detail in both the customer experience and the user experience is vital.
Myth Bust #4
The idea of putting everything ‘above the fold’ began with the invention of newspapers. Newspapers are sold, and carried, folded in half. Journalists and advertisers believed that to truly grab readers’ attention the best place for the article or ad had to be above the fold on the front page. That way, your ad would be seen first and remembered. There was some merit to this. But it wasn’t a hard and fast rule, as they soon discovered. A full page ad in the middle of the paper would be far more memorable. But sometimes old adages are hard to shake.
At the advent of websites, the same logic was applied – the most important place must be the Home page and must be visible without people having to scroll down the page. But this isn’t true. According to studies more polls and more galleries are explored when they occur at the bottom of a page, where people had to scroll to find them. People not scrolling says more about your site than the people viewing it. Websites and scrolling are a part of everyday life, thanks especially to smartphones and tablets. A site that meets both the CX and UX will engage a viewer and they’ll want to explore more and more of your site.