What is the first thing webgrrls does when a client comes to them asking for a new design?
Find out your clients goals. Webgrrls has a pre-planned questionnaire with all the questions that need to be answered before a design can be put together. Listed below is a sample of the questions they use:
1. What are your objectives for your design or re-design?
for example…I want to build and sustain readership
2. Who is your target audience?
for example Mothers with teenage kids or people with an interest in cooking.
3. What is the 1st impression you want your design to convey?
for example.. Professional, serious, humorous, sarcastic
4. What would be the best way to convey that message to your audience?
for example…Imagery, photos, colors
5. What is your Budget?
for example, if you pay yourself then you also need to plan for your own expense or if not, just budget how much you can spend.
6. Find three websites that you like.
for example, sites that doe something similar to you or your competition.
7. How will you measure the success of the website? The answer will guide you in your design strategy.
for example, number of visits, return visitors or subscriber to RSS feeds.
The most important thing is to have users that come back to your site (repeat visitors). Repeat visitors should be the same or higher then your new visitors. Repeat visitors can also be users that recieve RSS feeds.
Why Users Return:
- 74% Content
- 71% Enjoyability
- 68% Organization of Content
- 66% Usefulness
- 64% Ease of Access
Eye Tracking Study:
- Users spend a good deal time initially looking at the top of the page
- Navigation should be at the top
- Close proximity to popular content help ads
- People’s eyes scan the bottom of the page for content also.
Design Plan Summary:
- Branding Elements
- Feature Set
- Tagline (like Nikes "Just Do It") – should be able to be read in 15 seconds
- Topic Definition
Branding Elements- Colors:
- Think about gender, culture and age of your users. The key to picking colors is to know your target audience.
- Human eye can not focus on red and blue at the same time.
- Colors of the same members of a family go better together (like warm colors and cool colors)
Blogroll, Archives, Comments, recent posts, RSS subscriptions, widgets & Plug-ins. It is important to figure out which feature set is important to your blog. Make a list of what feature sets you want then ask yourself three questions:
- What is the purpose of the feature?
- Who does it influence my website strategy?
- How does it help me achieve my website goals?
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. If they can not understand how or why the widget should be used, then it is not a good idea to use it.
Use trial and error to find the best place to put your feature sets. The way people view a page is like an "F" (they start at the top right and move down). Top left is the most important spot.
They placed a pitch in the left side of the page. It is important to clearly identify theme in the tagline and provides an explanation of the topic on the home page. You may want to offer RSS feeds for your different categories to get target audiences.
Create quality content and post reguarly.
What percentage of users return for content? 74% Whether you post reguarly depends on your content and audience. Some bloggers only post once a month, and their users read their whole post instead of being overwhelmed with too much content each day. Some users want lots of fresh content.
Make your blog content readable (68% return for readability)
Fonts & Typefaces:
- Do not use custom fonts (Arial, Times and Verdana are great fonts)
- Use different text size and wight to create contrast
Text Color and Contrast:
- Easy to read: white text on black background and black text on white or black on yellow
- Bad to read: Black text on Grey, purple text on red background
Chunking: Break long paragraphs into chunks with descriptive headers. Bold or color important terms
Linking- Correct: Website X will teach you how to peel an orange.
Use Clear Titles
Building Trust with your Readers:But Bio with pic, background info and testimonials.
Make it easy to subscribe. Using partial RSS Feeds will help make users click over to your site.
Include a top post, recent posts, comment section. Reward comments by having top commenters box.
Get your own domain and forward to blog.