the emperor has no clothes image via haltonhousing.org

The website has no clothes

Your website should not make your users turn away and avoid looking. Remember the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? The emperor was persuaded by his tailors that his new clothes were all the rage when, in fact, they were invisible. He thought he was regal and stylish until the truth—and his embarrassment—were revealed. And people looked the other way.

Some websites remind me of this tale. The owners are persuaded that edgy, enigmatic sites make them appear sophisticated and trendy. However, it is more likely that this style is hurting their business. Rather than ooh and aah over the clever design, visitors turn away.

For example, check out the website Alan Designs and tell me what they do. How could they help you and/or your business?

home page of alandesigns.com

Effective web design is not just about a great look. It’s about meeting your customers where they are, not confusing them. It’s important that they are able to get their questions answered without becoming exhausted. As Donald Miller says, the mind is always striving to conserve calories. If your site is obscure, users are not going to waste good brainpower trying to figure out your message. You also don’t want to embarrass them; you don’t want them to feel stupid because they can’t figure out how to get into your site.

Know your audience and tailor (get it—tailor?!) your content to meet their needs. In seconds, users should be able to identify:

  • What your company does.
  • How you can help them/solve a problem/make their life better.
  • What they need to do to buy your product/service.

Be wary of those who promise you praise and adoration via your website. Let’s dress our sites with wisdom, beauty, and truth.

(Drawing via haltonhousing.org)