Engage Me, Already!

Written by Kim Chapman, Senior Account Executive

Our TWO Sense: Engage Me, Already

The previous post I wrote entitled “A Perfect Harmony” talked about how aesthetics and function are interrelated when it comes to website design. Now I’d like to touch on two concepts that are essential to creating an engaging website.

A Clear Purpose

Upon arriving to your site, viewers should quickly be able to understand what your site is all about. If key elements are confusing or missing, they are likely to abandon.

The following things will help a site better reveal its purpose:

–       Distinctive branding: this includes prominent logo placement, and relevant and meaningful copy and imagery

–       Strong Call-To-Action: This is essential when you want someone to continue down a conversion funnel.

Neither of these elements will have much effect, though, unless they are above the scroll. So make sure that you do not need to scroll down the page in order to see these key messages.

User-Friendly

A clear purpose will give users a great first impression, but it can take more than that to seal the deal. A seamless user experience ensures the user is taken care of once they start digging deeper into your site. Consider the following:

–       Simple design: This is very “in” right now, but what does “simple design” really mean, and why are so many people using it? Simple does not mean boring or plain, at least not in this sense. Instead it means not over-designing for design sake. A specific style of simple design, flat user interface (UI), is being used more and more in web. Among other reasons (that I will save for another blog post), design that is free of beveled edges and drop shadows helps put more focus on the content, and complements it instead of stealing the spotlight. I for one am a big fan of this new trend, and feel the same way about an over-designed, cluttered web page as I do about a messy room. It makes me want to go somewhere else.

–       Ease of navigation: Moving around to different pages of your site should be easy and intuitive. Sketching out the navigation structure of your site can help you see if its set-up makes sense. Consider the following two structures:

Structures

The one on the right is much more orderly, and has a clear hierarchy, with categories and sub-categories. Using this pyramid structure is a good starting point, but just be careful that your hierarchy does not become too deep, or it will take forever to find certain information. Also, if there are two pages that contain relevant information, it makes sense to include reciprocal links on both pages.

–       Adaptive design: This means design that adapts to whatever device you are using: pc, tablet, or smart phone. Instead of creating multiple web versions or re-directing viewers to a different site (which makes it hard for users to interact with your site), your design responds to its environment.

Need help developing or making your website more engaging? Contact me at kchapman@twochicago.com

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