Web Design: Four Points to Watch
“In my experience, the visual design of your [Web] site matters for about 15 to 20 seconds,” writes Internet consultant and author Ian Lurie in his book “Conversation Marketing.” That may not seem like a great deal of time, but it’s long enough for a first-time visitor to develop an impression of a site, and to decide whether to stick around and read its message or click away. “That means that the first thing they see has to evoke the right response,” writes Lurie, who goes on to identify a few key design areas where marketers should spend some time.
• Color. “People react certain ways to certain colors,” contends Lurie. For example, in the United States, Lurie writes, red equates to excitement, high energy, warmth and aggression; while green suggests progress, nature, action, comfort and the arts; and black expresses seriousness, the avant-garde, weight, gravity, age and entertainment. When dealing with color, Lurie stresses that you should not use colors that evoke strong emotions, such as red, yellow and purple, unless that’s what you’re trying to do. Stick to neutral colors, like brown and green, if you don’t want your colors to take center stage. People are “used to seeing these shades and can easily process information against this kind of backdrop,” writes Lurie, who also stresses that readability should be a factor in your color choices. Opt for dark text on light backgrounds and a high degree of contrast between the background and the text color.
• Texturing and effects. They may not be for everyone, but expertly applied effects such as beveling, drop shadows and gradients can be used to enhance a message and evoke certain responses, contends Lurie. For example, he writes, beveling implies technology, emphasis and convention; gradients evoke creativity and the arts; and rounded corners imply femininity, softness and creativity. If you do opt to use such effects, asserts Lurie, make sure you have a sound marketing reason for it. “Effects should help the visitor get your point. They shouldn’t be the point,” he writes.