Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Websites and User Friendly Web Designs

FIVE SECONDS... that’s how long you have to capture the attention of a website visitor. Does your website engender trust, credibility and reliability within 5 seconds? Site visitors are impatient people seeking immediate gratification … they want to ooh and ahh … even before the page is fully loaded.

I've been designing websites since 1995, in the hey-day before Google, Yahoo and Web 2.0. The one thing that has not changed is the user; they want their information faster. If they have a 28K modem, they want the information at the speed of 56K. If they have DSL, they want it to load at cable modem speeds. A Web Designer has to take this into consideration when designing a site. At the same time, they have to create a site that captures the attention of the visitor and prompt them to interact with the site, and even buy something or fill out a form (the goals of the website).

User-friendly web design always begins with the visual effect.


Colors are a “primary” factor. Most sites are designed with a white background and black fonts. This combination is eye-friendly for a comfortable reading environment. Eye strain is a definite no-no. If you want your visitors to read text, make it as easy as possible … that starts with the right color combination.

The obvious potential exception would be an entertainment site with a high reliance on multi-media video and photos. Different color combinations may be desirable here for emphasis and enhancing the entertainment value of the site.

The Psychology of Color

Check these 3 sites out for great insights on how psychology and color work together:


Entertainment sites are about emotion, passion, energy, enthusiasm. Colors to be used are always strong. For instance black is used for Power and Authority while red is used to evoke passion, high energy and enthusiasm.

A business site, for instance a mortgage company, should not use the color scheme I suggest in the entertainment sites. Here I use blues and greens as these colors evoke trust, peace of mind and a sense of calm. The visitor is considered to be nervous entering the site because they are making a decision about pretty important things like their home, their money and their overall finances. They need someone they can trust.


Layouts begin and end with simplicity. Make the site complex with a lot of so-called “features” and you will lose a great deal of your audience.

With layouts, “less is more” … the fewer feature or complexities, the easier it is for the visitor to understand your message and “engage.”

It’s always a good idea to check out your competition and see what it is you actually like about their website … view it as a customer not just a competitor … it can be a useful experience.

Always keep in mind the ultimate goal of your website … what is it you want the visitor to actually do … your layout should reflect the shortest distance between the first impression of your website and that ultimate goal you seek.

Additional Key Considerations

1. Simple Site Navigation is a must. Your visitor has to be able to move through the site quickly and in a logical sequence that they have become used to when visting other websites. They want their info fast and if your navigation goes against the generally accepted conventions of navigation, the visitor will move elsewhere.

2. Make your paragraphs easy to read... organize your information well by highlighting lists by number, symbols or bullets.

3. Look throughout our site and see that paragraphs are not just streams of uninterrupted text. The words, sentences, paragraphs et al are woven together through a structured hierarchy of organizational enhancers that make it easy for the visitor to read and understand and engage.

4. Don’t try to crush your competition with an overwhelming advantage in website features. Remember the Panasonic slogan … "just slightly ahead of our time"... keep this in mind here. Keep your “competitive bullets” in your gun and holster until they are needed. For instance, if your competitor doesn’t have a newsletter sign-up, add it. If they respond by adding one, consider adding a click-to-chat feature and so on and so on.

So, website design is about gaining the attention of the visitor through strong use of color, content, ease of use and navigation. Most of all … KEEP IT SIMPLE! is an Internet Marketing Company with primary focus on Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises (SME’s). offers a rich consultative approach that our clients find refreshing. We actually listen to our clients to learn exactly what their problems and objectives are. Websites and User Friendly Web Designs.


Anonymous said...

A very informative post! I never fancied websites with too much clutter in it. It could sometimes get confusing for the user as to where to go. Some sites have just too much happening on their websites. Less is really more i guess. Thanks for sharing this.

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