Thoughts on Website Design

When I thought about going shopping on Black Friday, the first thing that I did was pull up the Target website on my phone to search for deals. Of course, I was immediately deterred from actually going Black Friday shopping after watching a YouTube video of shoppers getting pepper sprayed in a fight over discounted electronics, but that’s not the point. The point is that my initial action when I thought about Target was to go onto their website.

Websites have become, in many situations, the first point of contact between a business and a consumer. It is very easy and convenient to pull up a website and browse through it. It is how we find out what a business has to offer us. Websites are accessible 24/7, they are available online, and they require little physical movement to look through. Consequently, it is crucial for a business not only to have a website, but also for the website to have a good design.

Information is important to a website, of course, but design is absolutely critical. In a study titled Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites, researchers tested the impact of design elements and content in regards to the trust of the users. 94% of the comments explaining why the users mistrusted or rejected a website were regarding design, while only 6% of the comments were regarding actual content. Design-related comments included inappropriate website names, complex and busy layouts, lack of navigation aids, boring web design and use of color, pop up advertisements, slow site introductions, small print, excessive text, corporate look and feel, and poor search facilities/indexes. From this study, it is clear that users desire a website that is easily navigable, has an intriguing design with clear and readable text, and they would like the information to be relevant, but short and sweet.

To understand what would qualify as a website with good design, I will look at two very different companies—Nightshift and Collective[i].

Nightshift is, according to their website, “a Paris-based company offering a global approach to creative content services. We believe in technological innovation, elevated by human talent. Our team of producers and artists deliver world-class work across all media channels.

The first thing you encounter upon entering the Nightshift page is a range of short videos changing behind the large title of the business name. It is a simple page with the clickable sections—Talent, Work, and About—at the top right in white, with “scroll down” and an arrow in the bottom right corner. This is a highly interactive website, with many of the sections possessing the changing-video aspect of the introduction page. At any time while browsing through the side, you can click on the Nightshift logo at the top right to bring you back to the introduction page. This site has a simple color scheme of mostly black and white throughout, to not distract from the vivid video samples.

Collective[i] is “the creator of the largest global network mapping enterprise buying behavior using data, artificial intelligence and predictive technologies to guide sales professionals through the activities that lead directly to revenue.”

The introduction page features the logo of the brand with the caption “Intelligence is” and then a very large, white word that changes from time to time from Speed to Sales, from Sales to Agility, and so on. It has a gray and white color scheme that continues throughout the site. Pressing the “Discover the future of sales” button directs you to the “What is collective[i]?” page. Each page, or chapter, as collective[i] labels them, features a title, a short explanation paragraph, and a colored button at the bottom that will direct you to another page that will elaborate on the subject in more detail. There are four chapters—What is Collective[i]?, How Collective[i] Works, Why do I need Collective[i], and Join Us—that each have the grey and white color scheme, but each feature another unique color so that the reader can distinguish between the sections easily. Collective[i] has created morphing triangular visual elements throughout the site to entertain the reader, though these elements are linked to the site’s purpose.

Although different in nature, these websites share key elements that contribute to their effective design. The text on both sites is clear and readable with high contrast to whatever background it is placed against. The two sites are easily navigable, with obvious sections to guide the user throughout. The layouts are not too busy, but do include a fair number of visual elements that are organized in an appealing manner. The feel of the sites is specific to the businesses themselves—Nightshift appears creative and bold, while Collective[i] takes a more professional approach. Brief but informative explanations of both businesses are featured on the sites to give a user a general idea of what each business has to offer. The two sites include engaging and effective visual elements that keep a user’s attention. Collective[i] and Nightshift do incorporate necessary content into their websites, but design elements are very apparent.

One would think that content is always of the most importance, but in reality it seems that the way that content is presented is of equal, or even more, importance. In this day and age, we need to consider presentation just as much as the information itself.

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