Three Important Considerations When Updating Your Website
We live in a digital world where information is in the palm of our hands.
Whether on desktop computers or mobile phones, people spend an average of 7 hours a day online. To connect with potential customers, your website needs to positively showcase your brand and your site should be updated regularly. There are many things to consider when updating your website, but with a focus on visual appeal, responsive/user-friendly design, and accessibility, you can be sure that no matter how they find your brand, they won’t be turned away by poor design.
User interface, user experience, and visual aesthetic introduce your company and your brand starting with the website’s homepage. A 2016 research study on behavior and information technology found that people form an opinion of your homepage in 50 milliseconds. This means that you need to grab the attention of your visitor immediately in a positive way, or they are going to bounce. The psychology of color is key with research revealing people make snap judgements based on color alone. Sites also need engaging content, a clear color scheme, and a well-designed user interface to instill confidence in your business. Images and your brand elements are a powerful communication tool and imagery on your website should be chosen with purpose. Whether it is to highlight important messages, products or services, or to elicit an emotion, your brand and image strategy should be one of the first things you develop. With the proper color scheme and purposefully placed images, you can keep customers on your site.
Once you have decided on the target audience strategy and the site design reflects your company’s brand, you need to factor in responsive design. Your site should appear the same on all screen resolutions and render to look great on all devices. According to Statista, 83.72% of people worldwide use smartphones today. The likelihood of potential customers looking at your website on their phone is high, so your site experience should be the same as it is for the desktop user. Responsive design is also graded by Google, and its algorithm increases visibility for your website if it grades it as mobile-friendly. What’s more, responsive design is cost-effective. No need to maintain multiple versions of one website! Return visitors will have the same experience no matter how they get to your website.
To show that you value and care for your site visitors as individuals, your website should be inclusive. Accessibility is the practice of making sure your site is usable by as many people as possible. Usually we think of people with disabilities when it comes to accessibility, but this process can also help those who only have internet access through their mobile devices and those with slow network connections. Some examples of accessible design include semantic HTML, which allows assistive technology such as screen readers to get the information from your site to the end user. It also increases SEO, making your site more findable. If your site has video components, make sure you provide captions for the 466 million people worldwide who have disabling hearing loss. Have you also considered mobility impairments when it comes to site navigation? Some users might not be able to use a mouse, whether from physical impairment or lack of hardware. Using keyboard controls to navigate your website can make it more accessible.
Those with learning differences and cognitive impairments such as dyslexia and ADD/ADHD, are a diverse spectrum but they can experience a common set of functional problems. To provide accessible solutions for people with cognitive impairments, your website should deliver content in more than one way. Text-to-speech, video, easy-to-understand content using plain-language standards, minimal distractions, consistent web layout and navigation are all examples of cognitive accessibility. More importantly, this approach leads to good design practices that benefit everyone.
Your website is so much more than an advertisement for your company. It is a key communications tool that showcases your brand and your values. With these core components, you can update your website to be more inclusive and engage people so that they want to come back again and again.
More thoughtful than verbose, David Irias strives to view things from alternate perspectives, uncovering more than what is considered obvious. As an art director, he applies his creativity to the development of branding, marketing and communications programs and extends them across a variety of different media.