Video Production

Rules of an Effective Website Design

Website design for more traffic and sales

There are lots of valuable sources available today with tips for website design. When says "sincerity wins the day", they mean basically the same thing as the Boston Consulting Group does when they say "develop relationships of trust and security". And when BCG says "use rich information to improve sales and product mix," it's much like iDecisionMaker's precept that shoppers must "get smarter at every click."

But maybe some basic communication principles would do just as well. In 1975, the linguist H.P. Grice suggested that logical exchanges operate under certain rules. The first rule is quality, which means making sure that the information you supply is true. The second rule is quantity, not giving more and not giving less information than is required at any point in the interaction. "Content" is a buzzword, but making sure your customers get just the right amount of content to meet their needs, so that they can navigate effectively and learn from the time spent on your site, is an art mastered by few. The key is to test drive your site and experience it from the perspective of an objective user who's always one click from leaving forever.

Grice's third rule is relevance, the need for each subsequent step in a process to be logically linked to the previous step and clearly related to an overall context or situation. If you click on a link expecting to learn something about the material a shirt is made of, but instead up pops an "associative" ad showing you five different ties that match the shirt, what are the real chances you'll expand your purchase rather than just clicking away to another, less trendy but more interesting site? Slim.

H.P. Grice's fourth rule of logical communication is manner, which he says means being clear, concise and unambiguous. Have you ever arrived at a site and felt disoriented by the fancy dynamic graphics and shifting text fields? What is the message the designer wants to convey? How long is it supposed to take to "get it"? There's a difference between information and entertainment. How much of one will you tolerate in order to get the other? Grice also suggested an umbrella concept encompassing all four rule categories, the cooperative principle, which means that the participants in an interactive exchange must agree what the topic and purpose of that exchange is. Visitors to your site are going to make a split-second decision on whether you've managed to establish a cooperative principle that informs their navigation experience.

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  1. Overall Appearance: Attractive Graphics Logo branding - make the client's logo stand out.
  2. Site Theme or Personality: Attract attention to what a message you want to say with color, graphic, photo, or animation. Is it easy to understand? Test market it. Does it represent the client's company? Does it have a theme? Does it have personality/entertainment value?
  3. Navigability: Is it easy to find information and get around the website? Where are your page links located and are they consistent?
  4. Use of Graphics: Graphics load faster than photos. Colorful attention getting icons to help draw attention to your marketing message.
  5. Content: Is the clients marketing message getting across? Are they telling people what they want to know? Is this site a resource of information for a product or geographic area? Add content to a site that will give the company credibility and third party influence; reviews, ratings, client testimonial, articles in publications, awards, certifications, and associations/professional memberships.
  6. HTML code: Good clean code loads fast! Bad code slows down the page, and uses more bandwidth.
  7. Site Management & Updates: How easy is this site to update? Could it be easier?
  8. Communication: Does each page list the company contact information and address? Does this site foster easy communication? Are the forms easy to use, and not too long?
  9. Use of New Technology: Don't use new technology until you are assured that most of the viewers can see it. Jumping on the bandwagon too soon will lose some viewers.



"You are awesome. I think back on how nervous I was way back in the Fall, I feel like a big dummy! You are fantastic! Thanks to your SEO work on the website, I was contacted by Animal Planet. They did a TV show about me. They were here for 8 hours shooting tape. It was cool. So, Ron, without you none of this would be possible; the TV show, my new facility and all of the press coverage. THANKS with big hugs and kisses"
Ami Moore
Dog Do Right


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