There are many different factors that combine to create a great website and just as many variations on how it will be viewed once completed. One of the most important aspects that needs serious consideration is typography, as the actual words are what conveys most of its importance. This means more than simply picking out a couple of fonts and being sure line spacing is adequate for easy reading. Font use and typography are actually very different things; knowing and understanding about this feature is more beneficial than knowing how to plug in the latest in-style fonts.
More Than Just Fonts
In simple terms, typography is the process of using words to create a visual image on a page without any fancy fonts involved. It is possible and quite popular to use decorative font faces as well as plainer ones; however, the basis of the idea is that an attractive image can be created through word placement, size, color and other physical attributes. When this idea is incorporated into web design, it is possible to create beautiful, highly functional websites that interest a reader and guide them naturally, all with the use of only text. Even though many developers say that interest is all in the placement of a few well-chosen images, with this unique use of words, they are the images and do the same job as any photograph or illustration would. This is typography.
Makes Great Websites
By understanding the actual definition of typography, it can be grasped why not only font choice but size, placement, body text, white space and all other aspects related to the readable word are so important in the creation of a fluid, functional website. Just find a really bad example and it is easy to understand how bad typography and the haphazard use of fonts can be so detrimental to any internet location.
Conversely, when one or two appropriate fonts are used correctly, they work with the whole creation and actually become the design. Oversized words or letters can act as focus points while all-caps can be assigned the duty of guiding eyes through menus to anywhere that links exist. Individual letters can be used to create artistic logos and elements that add style to the presentation. These are the many ways that type can be used as the entire website design without the addition of any other cluttering elements.
Importance of Being Responsive
One of the most important things to be considered when using typography on a creative basis is how to keep the entire design responsive. This is what happens when typography is programmed to automatically re-size and reshape itself dependent on the resolution of the website being viewed. Using this feature is not just important but critical for any website that is created with a design based on type. When this is not done, viewing an internet page at a resolution that is different from the one upon which the site was built will lose the full effect of the typographic design. Layouts created from words, the alignment of those words, and the shapes that such words form will lose all formatting if type has not been coded to be responsive, making the creative effort a waste of time and destroying any functionality that was provided.
The main point in creating any website correctly is for it to be remembered. Only through recognition do visitors continue to return, participate, purchase, sign up, etc. Design is one of the most critical factors in how a website is remembered and in what way. By using great typography skills and creativity, designers open up an extra chance to make a positive impression that many times stands out from the rest. A responsive typographic internet design could be a great answer to any website’s design question!
Usability and design are very important considerations when you’re having a website developed for your business. They are not the only things you have to consider though. There is another thing that is equally as essential as these factors and that is your content.
Content is Essential
Content is one of the aspects that could spell the success of your website. Inbound online marketing is very popular nowadays, so you should pay close attention to the information you are offering on your site. You should make sure that your web copy can answer the questions your target market has. This is what search engines are keeping their eyes on and also what web users are looking for.
Your content will aid greatly in capturing the volume of visitors you want for your site. It also plays an important role in converting your prospects into leads and then into paying customers.
The Message Should Answer Basic Questions
Your primary concern when it comes to your web content should be the message. Before you publish anything on your website, make sure they answer these four basic questions:
1. Will it show what your target market can get out of the products or service you are offering?
2. Can your target market clearly understand the message in your content?
3. Have you given clear directions on what they should do after reading your message?
4. Have you stated your reasons clearly on why they should avail of your products or services instead of going to your competition?
It is imperative that your site visitors will know the answers to all these questions the moment they read your web content. Be straightforward to them when it comes to what your site is really all about. You have to let them know what they can get out of it and what they can do while they are on your site. They should also be told why they should make a move on the service or product you are offering them.
To make sure that your target audience will really understand the message you are sending out, here are some things you can follow in writing your content:
- Use sub-headlines.
These will allow you to provide answers for the number 4 question above. With your sub-headlines, you will be able to present a powerful value proposition for your visitors, letting them know why your offer is better than the competition. Here, you must veer away from clichés, corporate jargon or terms that sound like gibberish.
- Present Calls to Actions or CTAs along with the next steps to follow.
These should be infused where appropriate. They could be in the form of links that you can place within your web content. You can also add links leading to the next course of action at the end of your copy. Never forget to provide these directions as these will egg on your target market to do something.
My favorite webpage is usually titled “About Us.” Now the main thing to remember is that you may think it’s all “About You” [your business], but really it should be titled “For Them” – because it’s one of the key ways you can communicate your brand and increase trust between yourself and your potential customers.
By nature I’m a nosy creature and there’s nothing that makes me lose interest in a website more than a dull, lifeless About Us page. I’m sure you’ve seen them – a scant paragraph of text something along the lines of:
“We are a widget business based in Any County. We produce lots of different widgets to fit all budgets.”
As a customer I want to know
1. Who you are? – a personal and chatty note from the owner works well here and a photo added is even better. Brief staff biogs are often helpful too as it immediately reassure your customer that they are handing their cash over to a professional organization who employ people rather than a hobbyist in a back bedroom. If you are a solopreneur, then just make sure you include the personal note with some tasty biographical information included.
2. What’s Your Mission? – Are you “in it” for something more than making money [if I've hit the nail on the head there, then best not mention that]. Customers love to know why you do what you do – did you create a product to solve a problem? Did you set your business up as a result of a personal experience you had? Do you have strong ethics or have a passion for helping others? If you support any charities or do voluntary work, then think about adding it to your About Us page.
3. What’s Your History? Consider adding the history of your company here. Can you demonstrate an “impression of increase” to your customers. Such as, “I began working from my kitchen table, now I have an office and employ staff” or “I started with just one service, now I offer 3 different ones.”
3. Blow Your Own Trumpet! Have you won or been nominated for any awards? If so, here’s the place to dust off your decorations and place them on this page for all to see. Place a link to your media/press page here too.
4. Do you a special offer or a freebie for customers? Think about highlighting it on this page [include links] and make the most of the extra traffic an “About Us page” generates.
5. Remember to use images, especially photos to illustrate the page. Perhaps of a best selling product? Your office? Include your logo too if it works.
6. Sign off with some kind of “call to action” to encourage interaction.
7. Make sure you also include some contact details, however brief. Make it easy for a customer to reach you as this builds your credibility and increases trust.
Seen any cool “About Us” pages? Let me know below!
With the web constantly evolving there are important components to consider before your redo your website and invest valuable time and money.
Simplicity. In recent years, simplicity was hardly what was on the mind of many businesses with websites. The more graphics, banners, ads, Flash movies and other bells and whistles, the better. Not so today! Now it’s about simplicity in design, helping your visitors get from point A to B in the quickest, easiest manner possible. The fewer page elements, the better. Ideally you want to bring your visitor from point A to B in three easy steps. You don’t want your visitor to get lost in all the confusion, you want to help them stay focused on the goal! Think clean, minimalist, and intuitive.
Responsive to the needs of your target audience. More and more people are accessing the internet from Smartphone’s, tablets and laptops – it’s not the dinosaur ages anymore, when the only way anyone could go online was from a desktop computer! The fact is, over the next few years it’s likely that even more devices will make it possible to access the internet on the go, and your website should be designed in a way that makes it accessible to these platforms. Sure it takes more time and ability to meet all of these demands, however reponsiveness is necessary.
Typography. Because the primary focus is content, what could be better than content that really stands out? Big, bold headlines that cannot be ignored. The web fonts available today allow web designers to indulge themselves. From big and beautiful to contemporary, sleek and just plain good-looking, content can be a beautiful thing today. Google fonts has created a seemless integration through code that can be embedded in your website to insure all browsers can see your styling.
Of course the most important thing is to deliver what your user wants in terms of information, services, products, etc. This isn’t something you can guess. You need to take the time to understand your target market and what their needs are. However, with so many choices today and the rushed world we live in, people want what they want now, and the easiest way to get straight to it in the least amount of time is the best. When looking for a web designer to create a memorable online presence for your company, be sure to keep simplicity and responsiveness in mind!
A few years ago sites could have got away without having a mobile version of their site but not anymore. Mobile websites have gone from being an attractive extra to an absolute necessity – and it isn’t enough just having one. With the commercial and economic opportunities available to online businesses via mobile phones it is crucial that the mobile site is designed to optimise the mobile user experience. Non mobile friendly sites are losing out on an increasingly large amount of business as more and more people buy though mobile devices.
Landing pages and content “above the fold” is crucial when it comes to PC websites. This importance is magnified on a mobile web page. Do not waste time, effort and most importantly space, putting anything but the most important information on your mobile pages. Removing things like side menus or other content links allows your site to focus on only the most important information, making your site easier to read, quicker to load and generally improving user experience.
When it comes to seeking mobile conversions or sales it is crucial that your site prioritises important information relevant to conversions such as contact details. Overloading your page with irrelevant content will push important content down making it less likely to be found. Users will also become frustrated with having to scroll or delve deeper in to your site to find the content they want.
An easy way to streamline your content and improve user experience is to optimise your page layout for mobile devices. Simply displaying your standard PC website through a mobile device will negatively affect your users experience and likely lead to a high bounce rate. The text displayed will be too small to read and users will have to navigate a raft of different menus.
Optimise your layout into just one single column with additional content running down the page not across. This allows users to use the far more natural and preferred process of scrolling downwards, avoiding the need to scroll sideways or zoom in and out.
With such a small area to work in, navigation becomes an issue on mobile websites. Placing all your navigation at the top of pages moves the valuable content too far down below the fold and with a single column layout it can’t go down the side – where does it go?
The answer is to emphasise your homepage. Only place navigation on your homepage and do so at the top of the page. On other pages place your content at the top with the only navigation links being back to the homepage or the most relevant previous step in the user’s journey. Placing breadcrumb links at the top of the page with navigation links back to the homepage at the bottom, users are able to easily navigate the site without detracting from the valuable content.
If your site’s users want to see content straightaway rather than look to navigate or search for specific content you should place the navigation at the bottom. This way it does not get in the way of reading the content but can still be easily accessed by the user. Placing an anchor link at the top of the page will allow users to reach the navigation quickly and easily.
Minimise text entry
It is not just visually where mobile websites differ from their desktop or laptop partners. Usability is another major issue when creating mobile friendly websites. Typing, even on the best touchscreen keyboards are difficult for users who frequently make errors and can often become frustrated with over-elaborate and time consuming text entry. You can reduce the need for text entry for users by allowing them to store personal and login details on site or ask them to use a numerical PIN instead of a password. Instead of entering text akin to a standard text message allow the users to provide information by choosing between different selections.
Similarly you should be aware of the limitations of touchscreen devices for usability. Links (particularly when in amongst other links) can be difficult to click on. Users will become frustrated at the additional time and cost wasted by accidentally clicking on the wrong link. Therefore you should look to use highly visible and easily clickable square boxes for important calls to action.
Take advantage of inbuilt functionality
Ultimately when designing a website for mobile use, you should look to take advantage of the mobile devices unique properties and utilise their inbuilt functionality
Mobile phones were initially designed to just make phone calls (I know it might seem hard to believe!). Take advantage of this by allowing users to automatically call a number when clicking or tapping a contact phone number.
Similarly phones now have in built map applications. Give user’s a better idea of your location by automatically opening the phone’s map application after the user clicks on your address on site.
Take advantage of social media in regards to your website. Make it easy for a user to share your mobile site socially or share their location via the device’s inbuilt GPS. This can allow users to better interact with each other and find nearby stores or events.
2013 is set to be the year of the mobile. Marketers and webmasters are waking up to the power of mobile devices. The mobile will hold a crucial role in how businesses promote and market their websites online. It is crucial that as mobile devices are increasingly used to access the internet that websites provide users with as clear and smooth a user experience as possible. Following some of the above guidelines will help in ensuring you get the best return from your mobile website.