The difference between a killer website design and a standard, ho-hum website design is the WOW factor. For example, when someone looks at your website, do you want them to say, “Gee, this really looks nice.’ Or do you want them to say, “WOW, this website is great!” Here are 7 different steps in helping you command the Web Site WOW factor in web design.
BEGIN WITH A GREAT CREATIVE CONCEPT
A concept can be almost anything. For example, instead of using the typical boring message text, ‘We are Under Construction,’ the company created hand-drawn artwork. They did a pencil sketch of their new website, complete with logo and navigation! This was a smart and clever way to communicate that they were “under construction.”
DEVELOPING 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 could be fun, exciting, rewarding, and lucrative.
AVOID THE “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.
KEEP NAVIGATION CLEAR & CONCISE
1) Your navigation is clear and concise. (Stay away from artsy mystery meat navigation or hidden roll-overs). Please keep it clean. For example, users quickly scan a page for links, text, and photos. Therefore keep these elements front and center.
USE POWERFUL PHOTOS & GRAPHICS
2) Your photos or graphics are clear enough to stand on their own merits or meaning. For example, try this quick experiment. First, turn on the TV, turn off the volume, and turn to a channel that you never watch. Second, watch whats’s displayed. Finally, turn off the TV. Ask yourself… ‘What did I just see?’ If you have no idea, then you have just experienced the ‘THE WHAT FACTOR?’.
UTILIZE WHITE SPACE
3) Don’t try to squeeze 20 pounds of information into a 5-pound sack. In other words, give the design some breathing room. Don’t jam everything up. If you have tons of information, then you are way ahead of the game. However, you should display your information within the proper editorial framework on your website. Therefore keep content separate with graphics and separators to avoid ‘information clutter.’
Keep your main message face front and place your additional informational content in less conspicuous areas of your website. For example, remember the following steps.
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, means WOW! This is the ‘first impression’ you have when something captures your eye. It is the visual difference between a Red Ferrari and a Ford Escort.
WOW begins with a concept. WOW can be bold or subtle, loud or soft, large or small, black and white or color.
Also see: Webpage Design 101
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