Stickin’ Around Web Sites
Design also can be used as a tool to create consistency across channels or compensate for some of the sensory shortcomings inherent to the Web. HerbalEssences.com leverages the rich, vibrant colors and lines from its product bottles. The look is bold and energetic, and the striking visuals of key ingredients help communicate the unusual combinations and the fusion of scents behind the luscious looks.
Finally, when it comes to that sweeping generalization that people don’t read anymore, don’t believe it applies to Web sites. The truth is, people read when they get to sites. They may not read every word, and Gen Y reads fewer than older generations, but they read the ones they need to. That’s why visual hierarchy is so important. It’s your opportunity to create visual cues that tell your visitors what they need to know.
Key tools for creating and placing effective content include personas, scenarios and user flows. These can be incredibly informative guides to help you know what to say, how to say it and where.
4. Guide them down a path. At its core, the Web is a network. Its strength lies in its interconnectivity. The key is to understand what those connections should be and how to encourage your site visitors to make them.
Contextual links are great, but insert them at the beginning of a sentence or a page and you’re giving the reader the opportunity to dismiss everything that comes after it. Be thoughtful about links—how you write them, where you put them and where they take you. Too many on a page and the reader is overwhelmed and often paralyzed by choice. Too few and the page (and the information) starts to lose its perceived value.
User flows are a great help when you’re engineering your visitors’ paths. Understanding the visitors’ goals will help you plan for the progressive disclosure of content—how much to share and when—because people often come to the Web to learn, but some just want a general idea of what you have to say while others want even minute details. Progressive disclosure enables you to please both groups.