Rules of Attraction
Nothing’s worse than saying all the right things to get someone’s attention, only to have them finally meet you and be grossly disappointed by your appearance or turned away when they can’t understand you. With marketing, attracting consumers or clients online won’t serve your business any good if you aren’t able to follow through in meeting the expectations of a broad base of potential visitors from the point of finding your ads, search results, on through to purchasing from you or contacting you. Unfortunately, far too many businesses have picked up some bad habits which are quick to lose visitor interests or make for a more difficult user experience than necessary.
Because of advances in technology, consumer behaviors have shifted to where judgement is passed even more quickly on whether to click through to or make a purchase on a website. These judgments can be about as quick and arbitrary as what you might find at a speed dating event. There, you have a wide range of competitors. Each offering the same thing, but with varying degrees of ability in showcasing their own date-worthiness. In such scenarios, there are a couple key aspects being judged: Appearance and Articulation. These are also pretty significant elements in website design that can continue attracting visitors or turn them away.
Let’s break appearance down into a few segments: Modern/Current Design standards, Imagery, and Branding/Colors.
Absolutely, styles in appearances evolve. Advancements in technology, such as responsive design, are going to have significant influences in website design. For about 5 years, businesses were spoiled when it came to the world of design online. We had exciting things like FLASH bringing life to websites and programmers could literally take any graphic masterpiece and turn it into a website… But, what was lost was the basic understanding in differences between purpose in design and what could be done in design. The edgy designs aimed to be so unique, user experience was sacrificed, making it difficult for visitors to navigate the website. As access to the world wide web increased, behaviors of people visiting websites started normalizing, producing not just user trends, but standards. Only significant changes to technology seem to have forced standards to evolve, while trends (like FLASH) have come and gone.
Just take these two sites below as examples between a design that hasn’t evolved to keep with the standards and one that is keeping up.
This law firm (the name of which has been removed from the images to keep me from being subject to any possible legal backlash), doesn’t have FLASH, but certainly breaks several rules in modern website design standards. It breaks several other design rules as well, but we’ll stick to those pertaining to online for now. (Feel free to click on the image to see it larger).