Your website is a tool to get your message to your customers/potential customers. Are you really sending the message you want?
Just like face-to-face communication has nonverbal cues (body language, tone of voice, etc.), you website does, too. Your message may be in words, but the typography, color, size, and capitalization all work together to give the message its full meaning.
For example, look at this home page from a financial institution:
What is the message they’re sending? What audience are they targeting?
- The black stripe down the page is not visible on all browsers, but it is here. Message: They have some technical issues; perhaps they don’t pay attention to detail.
- “Welcome” typography is Comic Sans. Message: This website is not current (Comic Sans is eschewed by designers everywhere). Also, their message is not serious; rather, it is appropriate for children.
- Pumpkin graphic gives the message: We are fun and playful. (Is this the message this financial institution wants? Do people want to invest money in a company that’s fun and playful?)
- The alternating typography colors are hard to read. Message: We would rather be cute than serious.
I don’t want to come across as harsh and critical, but it frustrates me that institutions think this is fine! This is exactly the stuff I’d like to banish from the web! It doesn’t serve the company or its customers well—in fact, it’s probably hurting their business. Here are my recommendations:
- Contact your web developer and confirm that the website looks good on all browsers and platforms. You want to be accessible and professional.
- Use typography that supports your business culture, your message, and your ideal customer. There may be a place for fun, but it’s not at the top of the home page of a financial institution. Does this font inspire confidence in a business owner, homeowner, or new family in town who is looking for a place to take care of their money?
- Define your ideal customers and craft a message for them. Are first-time visitors looking for signature loans? Who is visiting your site, and what are they looking for? Do all the elements work together well?
There are so many options in website design today, it’s easy to get a little crazy. If you have a website and wonder if it’s sending your intended message, I’d love to help. Also, if you have suggestions to make my site better, let me know!