What is your Web Personality?
July 14th, 2011 by LaunchPad Media
When you design a website, you are creating a personality.
It may seem like you’re just reproducing the corporate image, but it’s got to be more than that if you want it to be welcoming, interesting, and persuasive.
When you write web text, you write in a voice. You may think you’re merely pasting already-approved text from marketing and advertising materials. But when people read prose at a site, they can either feel that it’s sincere or entertaining…or that it’s just blah-blah advertising. Text should never be just “filler.” If it’s not informative or meaningful, it shouldn’t be there. You don’t want to risk people being turned off by useless text because they might give up on the site and go in search of more useful information.
When you pick visuals and settle on a design, you create a face for the website. Is it friendly and inviting? Or is it sterile and cold? There are many degrees of personality between those two poles, of course. The important thing is that you should be conscious in designing a look-and-feel appropriate for your site. If you have an ecommerce site, you need to entice and sell, so making a good first impression is vital. But if you are building a corporate site with many purposes – reassuring investors, informing the media, promoting civic causes, boosting employee morale, explaining technical issues – the “face” of the company is not that of an affable salesperson, but more likely that of a confident executive. In either case, the face should be appropriate and appealing.
When you decide on functionality, you create a body that is either intuitive or potentially aggravating. It’s easy to assume that current customers will know how to navigate a site since they probably already know the basics about a company’s services, products, etc. But a site should be easily navigated by everyone – not only interested prospects, but those who are only mildly curious. To design a site for ease of use, try to imagine how first-time visitors would view the site and how they might err in trying to navigate it.
When you design for interactivity, you create a way to hear consumers. Hearing is not just a matter of inviting people to “contact us” — it’s demonstrating that you really want to hear from them. By offering interactive functions, companies send a message that they want to engage with consumers…learning from them, adjusting to their needs, and offering special recognition. People in sales realize that the best way to sell is to first encourage a prospective customer to express what they want, and then listen intently
When you design a website, you’re not just trying to showcase services or products – you’re expressing a vision about how the company views the world and its own future. Whether your attitude is optimism, ambition or reassurance, the site should reflect a clear vision. It may be subtle, through design or visuals. Or it might be blatant, through headlines. Either way, you should envision what you want a viewer to feel and think about your identity and mission.