Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design

Bad Fonts: Sometime designers use multiple font types which make reading webpage extremely difficult. Too small or too large fonts are also hard to read. If you want to emphasize on a particular word don’t underline it better option is highlight text by using italic, bold or color. Underlined text is difficult to read and it is complicated for visitor to distinguish between underlined text and hyperlinks as both look same.

Inconsequential Links: If you are using links within your webpage, underline them or use color so that visitors can easily differentiate between text and links. Instead of making whole line a link use keywords for highlighting and hyper linking, like” Ecommerce web site design”. But one important thing here is that keywords should be meaningful and in sync with the context of the rest of the text.

Animation: Where on one hand, animation makes web pages more appealing on the other hand excessive use of animations makes a webpage heavy and it takes long time to load. More often than not, web site designers are inclined to use moving text and moving pictures on webpage. It may not be that good an idea as it diverts the user’s attention from the webpage.

Content: Content is key to success of any website. It tells about the website; like purpose of website, services offered, company background, etc. Website Content should be short, meaningful and understandable. Most common mistake in content is grammatical and spelling mistake. Try best to avoid these mistakes. Content should be written in a flow aimed at clarifying all visitor queries and making him/ her feel at home with the website.

Compatibility: Earlier, Microsoft Internet Explorer was the first choice of internet user (it still is) but in recent past a number of other browsers are making inroads on to the internet map. E.g. Mozilla Firefox and Netscape Navigator to name a few. Try to make your website compatible to maximum number of browsers. Test it with different browsers before putting it online.

Bulky Forms: Visitors have many problems related to forms on website. Most common problem is its length. Generally, forms are too lengthy and contain unwanted fields and options like “first name, middle name, last name, etc”. Better way is to avoid unnecessary fields and option. Include only those fields which are really required.

Do not Forget Price of a product or service: One can buy almost everything online from shopping sites. Another, common mistake found on many websites is that one forgets or avoids putting in price for products. Price helps website user to categorize different item and select most relevant one. Try providing details of product price and features which distinguish it from other products. Specially highlight any special offers that your website is offering.

Scrolling: some websites requires horizontal scrolling which is again a tedious task for the visitor. Although, both, vertical and horizontal scrolling should be avoided, but in some cases it becomes impossible to restrict vertical scrolling. Try avoiding scroll as far as possible on your website.

Pop-Ups: Pop Ups are one of the worst ways of advertisement. Visitors hate unwanted pop ups. Avoid this kind of features to attract visitor attention. Secondly, the scrolling popup is a strict no – no. It does nothing but irritates the visitor.

Outdated information: It is imperative to regularly update the information on your webpage. No one wants to read outdated information. There is no excuse for this mistake; user may never come back if you roll out stale content on your website.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Web Banner Design Tips

Online advertisement is a huge source of revenue for modern businesses and the most popular method of advertising on internet is web banner ads. Web Banners are constructed using images, Text, JavaScript and multimedia objects (flash, shockwave etc). A web banner is displayed when web page that contains the banner is loaded in visitor’s internet browser. On clicking the web banner the visitor is directed to the website for which the advertisement is placed.

Web banner design needs lots of research and attractive content to get the visitor to act on seeing it. Few tips to make your banner effective are listed below:

1. Punch Line: Before designing your web banner spend some time to create an effective punch line; something that encourage viewer to click on the banner. Punch line should be small and appealing. Use proper colors and fonts for your punch line.

2. Related Content: Ensure that content displayed on your web banner is related to services or products you are offering on your site. e.g. Use “ Latest pendent designs by ABC company” rather than “ Latest Jewelry collection by ABC store” . Be specific; users may click on the banner but may not buy anything from your online store, if they do not find for what they are searching. Give them what they are looking for, to get better sales.

3. Use your Logo and Web site URL: If your motive is to promote your brand name then include both logo and website address in your web banner. Make sure that you don’t take the visitor attention off the punch line while mentioning your website and it’s URL. Keep your logo small and use small text to display website address. Highlight your puncline and not the website name and URL.

4. Use the word “free” or “click here” in your banner: Use of “free” or “click here” word in your web banner design can increase CTR (click through ratio). Human nature makes a person to check out anything that is for free. If you are giving something free on your web shopping store, than add a line which highlights it.
e.g. “Free gift with all purchases before December 31st”. It will surely attract more visitors and you have better chances of making a sale.

5. File size: web banner is displayed on webpage when it loads on viewer’s web browser. It should load fast and before the visitor moves on to next page. Short web banner file size increases the loading speed of the banner when user opens the web page. It is advisable to keep file size as small as possible. To reduce file size minimize the use of animations and heavy pictures in your banner.

6. Time: most of the internet users spend less then 10 second at the top portion of website. This time is crucial and you have to convey your message within this time. If, using animation use it in such a way that the web banner conveys the message within this time frame.

7. Animation: Compared to static banner, an animated banner design can greatly increase a banner’s CTR. The main problem with animated banner is slow load time. You can reduce load time by reducing number of colors and vertical color change. Further, animation with infinite loop can be too long for the visitor to view the complete animation. Keep it short and crisp. Try using compressed JPEG or GIF images for the banner. GIF images are generally light and not that heavy as the JPEG ones are.

8. Colors and Fonts: Instead of using black and white color use bright colors for your banner design. According to some study dark blue on white and blue on white is the most attractive color combination. It doesn’t mean that always go for these colors. Use colors that represent your business and match with webpage on which banner is placed. Use font types that improve the readability of web banner. Most common used fonts are Arial, Times New Roman and Verdana.

9. Multiple Banner Design: Use multiple banners for your ad camping. Change the banners periodically during your ad campaign. Different people, like different color, fonts and images. You have a better chance to attract larger number of visitors by using multiple banners in your advertisement campaign.

10. Professional Design: Get a professional look for your banner. If you cannot do it yourself, hire a professional web banner designer to delver a quality web banner. Remember a good web banner can make your day and a bad one can create a negative impact about your company image on the visitors. You may get lots of free banner design software, or free web banner design advertisements on the internet. But quality should not be compromised as it reflects your business image to the website visitors.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What makes a good logo design?

Logo is the name, identifier, symbol or trademark of a company. Purpose of logo is to create a memorable image of product or company in customer’s mind. It also differentiates products and services of different companies. Good logo grabs the attention of people. It in itself is an important marketing tool.

It demands some precision and lots of thought to design a communicative business logo. Summarized here are few basics that one can use as initial steps to a good logo design.

1. Do some Analysis: Do not rush into developing business logos. Do some analysis about the company, its values, its business and the clients it is, or will be catering to. Understand what you want to communicate through your logo. Logos need to be designed, so as to convey message about the company, the people and its values. If you are designing a logo for a product, be specific about the target customers. E.g. Dog biscuit can carry a dog illustration in the logo itself, or a biscuit shape in the logo.

2. Eye Catching: Make your logo design an eye catching one. Use clear font so that it easy to read and easy to identify. Use attractive and unique color scheme to avoid misunderstanding with other logos or products.

3. Memorable: A good logo design should make a memorable expression on the customer’s mind. It should be simple enough to convey a clear message and create positive image of your company in customer’s mind. Only then, the customer will be able to recall about your product in subconscious state of mind when looking to purchase or recommend a brand for the product you produce.

4. Flexibility: Your logo design must be flexible enough to work in any situation. Say on product wrappers, website, promotional material, etc. Two important things to keep in mind here are – logo size should be appropriate and colors should be such that they can adjust to the background on which the logo will be used not only today but also in future. You need, to plan for future use of logos, at the development stage itself.

5. Simple: People are drawn to simple logos because they are easy to understand and remember. Busy, crowded logos are difficult to understand and divert the attention of the viewer.

6. Fonts: Some times designer select fonts which look classy but difficult to read. So this is worthless. Select Fonts that are easy to read and understandable. Most good logo designers use Arial and Veranda, as preferred fonts for logo design.

7. Colors: Good logo design should work well in black and white. If your logo not look good in black and white it would not look good in any other colors. Choose proper colors that represent you company well. As already discussed in point 4 above, plan for various uses and the future use of the logo, before deciding the colors.

8. Be Unique: Another important feature of good logo is ability to stand out from crowd. Copycat logo creates confusion in customer’s mind because they are difficult to differentiate. Result is loss in sales. Don’t stick to ordinary design. Your company is unique means it has a different market presence and business space. Keep all these things in mind while designing your logo.

9. Long life: logo design should be future oriented so that it can convey its message over constant period of time. It must be able to adapt to culture changes.

10. Use Animation but with caution: In order to hold viewer attention you can use animation while designing logo to be placed on your business website. But be cautious as it offends the webpage visitor is it is too huge or it diverts the attention of the visitor time and again.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Website Design Basics

In Today’s world a website is need of every business, organization or an individual. It is the fastest and cheapest medium to reach more people around the world. It helps to expand business worldwide. Design and appearance of a web site play an important role to attract visitors to your website.

Here are some basic website design tips that would help in designing an attractive and productive website for you:

1. Do Some Research: Before making any decision check out some related web site for design, layout or scheme? This will surely helps to make better decision.

2. Try something different and unique: Always go for inimitable design. Add some animations, pictures, etc. to make website more appealing. But do not overdone web site with animations and pictures because this make webpage heavy and it take long time for loading.

3. Content: Content should be simple and easy to understand. It should be solely related to your website. Avoid grammatical and spelling mistake. Use different font style to make content more interesting. To make content more understandable use some examples.

4. Colors: Colors reflect aptitude and perception. Colors have a considerable impact on people’s emotional state. Always use good and soothing color combination in your website. To much bright colors make web site visitors physically sick because their eyes are bombarded by those loud colors.

5. Compatibility: About 80% user of internet around the world use the Microsoft internet explore for browsing and rest 20% use the Netscape, Mozilla Firefox etc. so check out compatibility of your WebPages with these browsers and make required changes.

6. Music: Avoid using music on your WebPages because some people do not like music on website. Also, the download time of these sites is long. Another problem can be the quality of sound that is being streamed to the website visitor. Always keep in mind that visitor may not agree with your music preference and it may turn him/ her away from your website no matter how attractive the website design is.

7. Speed Matters: On internet, speed is a critical factor. Many people still use slow dialup connections. So load time of webpage should be as less as possible. Make your webpage as light as possible.

8. Divide Your Work: Users always avoid long pages, and may not have enough time to read all the content. So better approach is dividing long pages into small pages. Put some hyperlinks to specific topics on a website page.

9. Frames: Frames create many problems with all kinds of browsers. With frames it is hard to get a decent rank with the search engines. Try using minimum frames in your web site design.

10. Simple things are preferred: People love simple things. Nobody likes to do or learn difficult things. Make your site simple so that it is easy for visitor to navigate your website. These simple tips will provide you a basis for putting up the best website design for your business.