Three things to consider
Design elements can enhance your content if planned properly. Before creating material for the web, here are three important questions to consider:
1. Who is the Audience?
It is important to understand the demographics (age, gender, culture, interests, etc.) of your audience in order to bring in design elements that will apply to their interests. When you know who your target audience is, you will be able to communicate with them more effectively.
According to the American Library Association, there are three types of readers who will visit your site:
Non-Readers (10-15% of people). These people will need tons of pictures to stay interested. These people scan through written material and simply look at pictures.
Avid Readers (10-15% of people). These users typically read every word and will require plenty of supportive information to supplement the pictures used.
Skimmers (70-80% of people). These people prefer the content to get to the point. It will be important to use design elements to organize the information for them.
It is important to design for all types of people. It may be useful to revisit our article on the importance of web design here. Remember to take your audience into consideration when designing materials for your site.
Read more about the importance of web content here.
2. What is the goal or objective?
Sell? Persuade? Inform? Educate? Attract?
Design elements should reflect the overall goal of your site.
It may help to think of specific calls to action you will want to have on the page before the design process begins. Calls to action are clearly marked next steps you want users to take that appear in the form of buttons, banners, or graphics.
If the goal of your site is to sell your products, a clear statement such as “Buy Now”, with a link to make a purchase, would be a proper call to action.
Read more about Calls to Action here.
There are three stages the user will go through when deciding to get more information or to ignore the content completely:
What is this?
Does it pertain to me?
I’m interested in knowing more.
The content should clearly answer all three of the questions above. Design elements, such as photos, typography, and whitespace can help sway readers to stay on your page or dig deeper into your site.
3. What is the mood or the emotion you want to evoke?
Professional? Fun? Serious? Entertaining?
You can utilize design to create a mood on your site. Using nonverbal cues, your web page can evoke a certain feeling..
Consider these two examples below. Notice how the same content can convey a totally different message depending on the font you use. The second example is aggressive with hard lines and sharp edges, it feels as much as it says “warning”.
Read more about the importance of good typography here.
Still have questions on your website design? Our web designers are trained to fit the type of style and design of your website to your business or organization. Call us! (515) 369-3545 or click here to read more about our custom website design services.