No matter the medium, the final product will always make some kind of impression, and a website is no different.
Thousands of books, millions of articles, and an endless wealth of knowledge can be found talking about “what makes a good design.” Whether the topic is function or form, what I’ve discovered throughout the years is, no matter your philosophy about design, it all ends with the simple concept — make a good impression.
We all know the old adage of first impressions and how they can be made only once. Successful or not, first impressions fill our lives, and almost all of them are memorable for one reason or another.
As a designer, I spend much of my time trying to make things look their best. Why? So that they can make a good impression, whether it be their first, second, third, fourth, or hundredth. No matter the medium, the final product will always make some kind of impression, and a website is no different.
A website’s impression is a sum of its parts: pictures, text, functionality, tone, and presentation in general. We’ve all had those moments where we realize that we said or did the wrong thing, and just ruined an otherwise flawless impression, and a website can suffer from the same issues.
Where Does It All Go Wrong?
Confusing navigation, low quality photos, misspelled words, broken links, long load times, endless clicking … the list goes on. Much can be said about each one of these things, and all of them can ultimately lead to making a bad impression. And a bad impression for a website could mean a visitor that doesn’t return or a visitor that doesn’t stay, both of which are important for your site analytics and increasing traffic to your website.
So, What Can Be Done?
Whether it’s a website you’ve had for years, or a website that’s brand new, it’s best to go through it with a fine-tooth comb and with an unbiased eye. Get some honest friends, family, or business partners to visit your site, click around, and let you know what they think.
- If you’re selling something, were they able to quickly find out what you’re selling and how to order it?
- If your website is informational, were they able to understand what it was all about?
- If you’re attempting to make new contacts, how easily could they get in touch?
Ultimately, the question you want to ask is, “Were you able to visit my site and accomplish what I wanted you to accomplish?” If the answer is “yes,” then well done. If the answer was “no,” then it might be time to give your site a fresh look.
In the end, the key is to always remember that your website is often someone’s first impression of your business — don’t let a bad impression make it their last.