The difference between a killer website design and a standard, ho-hum website design, is the WOW factor. When someone looks at your website do you want them to say, “gee, that really looks nice.’ Or do you want them to say, “Wow!”. There are 7 different steps in helping you command the Web Site WOW factor in web design.
A concept can be most anything. I saw a concept for a website that was under construction. They were in the process of redesigning their website and rather than post boring text: “We are Under Construction”, they used an image on a large scrap sheet of page mocked up with a pencil rendering of their logo, navigation and text. This was a smart and clever way to communicate that they were “under construction.”
Develop a Concept
You want to think inside the box, outside the box and all around the box. The idea here is not to fall in love with the first idea you think of or the first example you see. It’s a bit like buying a car. Take time to write down ideas and ask other people’s opinions.
I recently saw a great web concept that ties the past to the present. An auto collector website for collector enthusiasts built their site on an archeological theme a la Indiana Jones. The underlying message was that vintage auto collection and restoration can be fun, exciting, rewarding and lucrative.
Avoid the Website “WHAT?” Factor
There should be no doubt or ambiguity as to what your website is all about. Your message, your concept, your website should be ON POINT.
You have a few seconds to communicate your message before your visitor moves on to the next website. This means that everything on your website comes together to provide a crystal clear picture of your products, services and/or information.
1) Your navigation is clear and concise. (Stay away from artsy mystery meat navigation or hidden roll-overs). Keep it clean.
2) Your photos or graphics are clear enough to stand on their on merits or meaning.
Try this quick experiment. Turn on the TV and turn-off the volume and turn to a channel that you never watch. View any footage, graphics or commercials. Your have one split-second of a questionable thought as to what you are watching then you have experienced the ‘WHAT?’ factor.
3) Don’t try to squeeze 20 pounds of information into a 5 pound sack.
If you have tons of information then you are way ahead of the game. However you should display your information within the proper framework on your website. Keep this content separate to avoid ‘information clutter’.
Keep your main message face front and place your additional informational content in less conspicuous areas of your website.
a. Create an Editorial Section
b. Provide Articles or How-To Guides
c. Create a Knowledge Base / Glossary of Terms
d. Post a question and answers page (FAQ)
e. Post News Stories and the latest news stories related to your site’s topic.
f. Provide Guest Interviews
g. Provide Product Reviews
h. Create a forum on your site.
i. Create a blog
WOW Simply means WOW! and applies to most every conceivable first impression we have when something captures our eye. WOW is the difference between a Red Ferrari and a Ford Escort, WOW can be experienced on a billboard, in a building design, in a painting, photograph or website.
It’s not the motion or the music (you can add that later). WOW begins with a concept. WOW can be bold or subtle, loud or soft, large or small, black and white or bold color.
Also see: Webpage Design 101, Successful Websites