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Blog - Design

 

3 Things to Know About Website Banners

Posted Thu, July 16, 2015 by Julie Short

Although everything seems to change in web design in the span of a few years, there is one layout trend that never seems to fade – the popularity of banners and sliders that run across the top of websites.


It’s easy to see why so many web designers, marketers, and visitors love banners: pictures are understood more quickly than text is, and they make a memorable and emotional impression.

In other words, it’s simply more powerful to see a photo than it is to read words on a page.

But, while the website banners remain popular, they are also commonly misused. To understand why that is – and to stop you from making the same mistakes that your peers and competitors might be – here are three things you should know about website banners:

#1 High Quality Images are a Must

It goes without saying that website banners should be created from very high-resolution images. If they aren’t, they can look stretched, pixelated, or just amateurish. Any of these is the absolute wrong first impression to make when someone visits your website for the first time.

Beyond simple resolution, using high-quality photos also means that your images should tell the story you want them to in a way that is easy for a potential customer to understand. That takes a surprisingly nuanced approach, so don’t be afraid to experiment with many choices until you get right.

#2 Your Banners Should be Up-to-Date

The banner images on your website won’t just be the first things visitors will see, they’ll also be the first elements they’ll actually notice (consciously or subconsciously). It’s important that they be up-to-date, showing off your very best products, people, or ideas. Otherwise, they could get potential customers thinking about things that aren’t relevant to what you’re trying to offer at the time.

#3 It’s Not Usually a Great Idea to Create Your Own Web Banners

Web banners don’t just need to look great and be current, they also have to integrate well with the other elements on your webpages (like text, logos, and other graphic ingredients). Because making the right fit is so important, it’s usually a bad idea to create your own banners, or to update them yourself. Getting your web design team to change them shouldn’t be a big job, but it can make a lot of difference in the perceived quality of your website.

When they are used correctly, web banners are extraordinarily powerful visual marketing elements. When they aren’t, they can distract visitors and take away from your company’s credibility. Are your web banners adding enough to your online presence? And if not, what are you going to do about it?

If you need a web design team that understands how great layouts and proven Internet marketing techniques go together, it’s time to talk to WebRevelation. Get in touch with us today to request a free consultation and account review.

Posted in : Websites , SEO/SMO/SMM , Mobile Websites | 
Tags : website banners , web design , banners


Logo Design: Don’t Underestimate Your Visual Identity

Posted Wed, August 27, 2014 by Julie Short

Any college student that's been through Marketing 101 can tell you that logos are massively important to branding and marketing. And yet, we regularly meet with new clients who either don't have a great logo, or have been putting off the process of updating the one they have had for years.

Why is that? Certainly these men and women know how much logos mean, so why don't they invest in one?

The short answer, in most cases, is that they simply haven't gotten around to it, don't realize just how much the logo affects their marketing, or don't know where to turn for help. Despite the specific reason, it almost always comes down to a matter of momentum.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes, here are a handful of things you should know about logo design with WebRevelation:

Logos are powerful. In half a second or less, your logo tells a potential customer (or vendor/employee) what your company does, what its "personality" is like, and how you want them to feel about your business. And, because they're seen again and again, that impression is likely to be reinforced hundreds or thousands of times.

Sometimes it’s best to start over. If you have a terrible or outdated logo, the best strategy is sometimes to start over from scratch as part of a bigger marketing or branding push. Beginning again with something new is better than trying to polish an idea that just doesn't work.

Logos don’t have to be complicated. Most of the very best logos are simple. They convey a message and tone without over complicating it, and make themselves more memorable at the same time.

Logo design doesn’t have to be a long (or expensive) process. By working with the right creative team, you can get a fantastic logo in just a couple of weeks. And, updating your visual identity will probably cost you a lot less than you might think.

Choosing the right logo design team is important. Because of the power your logo could have, and the missed opportunities that arise when it doesn't, it's important to choose the right design team. But then again, you probably already knew that if you found your way to this blog.

When it comes down to it, a good logo works a lot harder – and is worth a lot more – and a lot of marketers realize this. Is it time you got a visual identity that makes the right impression on your buyers?

WebRevelation is a leader in web design, logo creation, and Internet marketing; with locations in Oklahoma City, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Call us now at 817-283-3324 or 405-607-0349, request a quote, or see what we can do to help your business grow.

Posted in : Websites , Tips and Tricks , Business Strategy | 
Tags : logo design


5 Web Design Blunders Visitors Hate

Posted Wed, July 30, 2014 by Julie Short

If you are like most of the business owners and marketing executives we work with, you probably don't want to unintentionally drive new customers away from your website. In fact, the thought of watching that revenue slip away probably makes you queasy.

Even so, we see websites every single day that have fatal flaws. Despite their best intentions, the owners of these sites are doing their very best to scare buyers into clicking in another direction.

Are you making the same mistakes? We hope not, but now is a good time to check and be sure. Here are five web design blunders visitors absolutely hate:

1. Unconventional or sloppy designs. Although it might seem unfair to lump "unconventional" and "sloppy" web designs together, to your customers they are one and the same problem. That's because all of us use dozens of websites every day. We know what they're supposed to look like, and how they should work. When you deviate too far from that, you make it difficult for people to actually use your site, which makes them want to look for answers elsewhere.

2. Hidden content. When you have content on your website that isn't crawled by search engines, or can't be found within your internal link structure, you have a problem. That's because it's going to essentially be invisible for most customers. In that case, you can’t get the sales you want because they can't find the information they need.

3. Huge blocks of text. Have you ever come across a web page that has lots and lots of information, but in long, imposing paragraphs without any subheadings? If so, then you already know how easy it is to just take your attention elsewhere. Having big blocks of uninterrupted text is like inviting visitors to take their time and attention to one of your competitors.

4. Pop-ups and obtrusive ads. Although some marketers swear by on-page pop-ups, blinking ads, and other forms of Internet obnoxiousness, the reality is that readers will usually tolerate them, but almost never like them. There are plenty of ways to make your most important offers stand out without driving visitors aggressively from your website. Why shout when a whisper will do just as well?

5. Unanswered questions. There are probably a lot of basic questions you're used to hearing about your products or services: how much they cost, how long they take to get, what "fine print" comes along with the purchase, and so on. If these aren't answered on your website, it makes it seem as if you have something to hide.

Making your business stand out, online or off, is hard enough without shooting yourself in the foot. So, if you notice one of these five blunders on your own website, take care of it now before it can impact your business even more.

Is your website suffering from a fatal flaw? Talk to the creative team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Business Strategy | 
Tags : websites , effective design


Do You Need a Mobile Website or Responsive Design?

Posted Mon, June 10, 2013 by Julie Short

Until very recently, companies were faced with two different choices when it came to establishing a mobile web presence: either have someone design and develop a mobile-specific version of their website, or watch smartphone and tablet customers go elsewhere.

Now, though, responsive design has changed all of that.

By shifting appearance and features to suit individual visitors, responsive websites offer virtual "one size fits all" capability to any business website. In other words, they make it easy for laptop and desktop users to see one version of your pages while mobile users get another that's adapted to their screen, data plan, and capabilities.

Plus, responsive web designs allow you to maintain one single web presence, which means there are lower design costs, and less work needed to keep your webpages up-to-date. Given those advantages, opting for a new business website with responsive web design should be a no-brainer for companies, shouldn't it? Or, is there still a reason to have and maintain a mobile-specific site?

The answers, as always, differ from one company and situation to the next. However, here are a couple of quick guidelines to keep in mind:

Most of the time, a responsive web design is going to be the better choice for a new business website. For all the reasons outlined above, responsive web designs tend to offer more long-term value when it comes to designing a new site. So, if you're starting from scratch, or looking to make a major upgrade, then it's definitely worth asking about responsive capabilities.

However, certain businesses can still benefit from a dedicated mobile site. If creating an entirely new website is out of the question (or out of the budget), then a dedicated mobile site might be the better answer, since re-coding existing sites to make them responsive can be difficult and expensive. Also, if you have the kind of business that gets lots of mobile traffic (that is, if half or more of your visitors come to you via mobile devices), then you might want a separate mobile site with its own set of tools and features.

No matter how you get a mobile web presence, the most important thing is that smartphone and tablet customers are able to reach you online and have your site function correctly. So, if you're having trouble figuring out what answer is right for you, call or e-mail a member of the WebRevelation team today and set up a free consultation.

Posted in : Mobile Websites | 
Tags : mobile website , responsive design


Clean Design: Keeping Your Homepage Free from Clutter

Posted Wed, April 17, 2013 by Julie Short

Client’s often want to cram it with as much content as possible on a website’s homepage. However, the designer is striving to maintain the integrity of the design. In this blog, I'll give you a few ways keep your homepage clean and why it's important to help your clients see the benefits of a clean design. 

More and more people look to search engines to find content, instead of a site's homepage. The search engine takes the user directly to the information they require and can completely bypassing the sites homepage. Obviously, this deep linking seriously reduces the prominence of the homepage. 

Add to this factor the rise of RSS feeds and more people accessing information via mobile devices, and you begin to see the focus shifting from the website homepage towards the individual pages of content. That is not to say homepages are no longer important, they are simply not as important as once they were and so do not justify the level of competition they receive in some organizations.

Don’t rush the homepage
By starting with standard textual pages, which makes up the majority of the site, you get to set the design style before it gets diluted by the land grab for homepage real estate. Once the client is on board with the design they will perceive it as being more important and so are less likely to allow it to be railroaded by content demands.

A homepage should reflect the sites content at the highest level and signpost the user to key content deeper in the site. In the majority of projects I work on the client hasn’t finalized all of the content in the initial design stage. It is hard to create an effective homepage until you have a full understanding of what content it is meant to signpost and represent.

Communicating the importance of white space
In the case of homepage design the heart of the conflict between designer and client is often a perception of the importance of white space. Every designer knows that white space is a fundamental tool of good design, but designers often won't express why whitespace is necessary in a way the client can associate with. 

Or in other words; the more you add, the less importance anything has. Designers sometimes sell white space on the basis that it looks better. Instead sell it on the basis that every item you add to the page detracts from the main message. 

You might want to suggest that a user has 10 points worth of attention they can give to the homepage. Every “module of content” added to the homepage takes a minimum of 1 point. More points should be assigned to more important elements. This approach will quickly show that the more you add to a page, the more likely important elements are going to get lost in the crowd. Use this as a method to focus the clients mind on what is important.

A clean homepage will help users navigate a site easier, make it look better and keep the visitor's focus on important content. 

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : website design


Design Basics: Embracing Constraints

Posted Mon, April 15, 2013 by Julie Short

If you’re a creative person you might believe you are at your most creative without any constraints. In reality however, this isn’t true. Your creativity needs a focus. If creativity guides you without any boundaries, it’s easy to go overboard. Constraints limit the actions that can be performed by the user and increases the usability of the design and reduces the probability of operational error. Restrict yourself to just a few design elements and a set deadlines to positively direct your design efforts. 

The Hazards of Creative Freedom
The greatest gift a client can give is creative freedom. On the other hand, the worst thing a designer can do is allowing themselves total creative freedom. It should be in the client’s interests to leave the designer to do their thing because a good designer can identify the key elements required to make the project a success. The client can tell us the problem they need a website to promote a new product and it’s up to the designer to create a solution. The good designer gets to the design stage with a big list of constraints from the discovery phase: they know the demographic, branding guidelines and, through various conversations with his contacts there. For the responsible designer, the truly open brief doesn’t exist. And even when they have got a set of constraints from the client, they might well impose still further constraints upon themselves.

Time
The first constraint to put upon yourself is time. Speed helps in the early stages of a design because you get down key concepts without focusing on details. Working fast also helps switch your brain functions. It encourages use of the right side of your brain and it’s the right side of the brain that does the creative heavy lifting. If you have a serious time limitation, you aren’t able to rationally analyse your work. You simply don’t have time. Instead, if you force yourself to rely on the subconscious and intuition, you will be using the, creative, right side of your brain. You can produce acceptable designs working from the left side of your brain, but they will have been processed rationally, based on existing solutions. Force yourself to use the right side of your brain and you can get away from these rationalised processes and make decisions based on instinct and gut reaction - and it’s here the original and innovative processes can take place.

Separating Creativity and Art
It’s worth noting that there is a separation between creativity and design. Exactly what we’re calling these is semantics, but the above process is one to encourage free, unrestricted, thought with the goal of promoting innovation. This is the creative process. The design process requires you to take the creative work and pull it into a more cohesive shape. For a website designer this requires assessing how the creative designs can also be usable, functional, designs. We’re building websites not making art.

Your design should guide the user through the process. It shouldn’t overly embellish. Sometimes the embellishments are appropriate, but you need to understand why they’re needed. Understand what elements (font, colour, image type, text size, line weight) are required for the design and embrace them. These are the constraints that will allow your creativity to really shine and offer site visitors the best usability experience. Try utilizing symbols to creatively increase site usability. Symbols are useful for categorizing, clarifying and cautioning users about certain actions. A good example of symbols being used for constraint in design would be the error sound that a site makes when an entry is incomplete or invalid. This serves as a warning to the user that additional actions are necessary.

Focus
Setting limits is not solely about not using design elements. It is much more about focusing on the few genuinely important elements that are required to convey the message of your website, and adding in other design elements only when they support the key elements. Choice doesn’t give us freedom. 

Constraining user behavior instead of enabling it may initially seem counter-intuitive, by limiting user actions they can actually focus on perfecting those limited options. Understanding and implementing constraints will help users engage your design with minimal error. Too much choice is often confusing, disabling and dissatisfying.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : website design


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