Revisiting Your Web Design and Usability Strategies



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As companies scramble to create new and engaging content for their viewers, they often let their web design stagnate. As you marketing team works behind the scenes with content management systems, it’s easy to forget what your audience is actually seeing. Companies should keep a constant eye on their design elements, to make sure that they are coordinated with your content and branding efforts. For example, you might have old mastheads cluttering up public pages on your website, which can throw off your brand consistency and message.

The Visual Experience

When was the last time you reviewed the graphical elements used throughout your organization’s web presence? How are your graphics to text ratios? Websites that under-utilize graphics can scare readers away with high volumes of uninterrupted text. Graphics play an immense role in visual communication, reinforcing your brand’s logo and colors. Images used in your website’s navigation should flow seamlessly into the rest of your website’s design.

Do the graphical elements create a whole, coherent representation of your brand? Check your website on different computers and browsers — you might find that graphical positioning looks different across browsers and systems. Testing across mobile platforms is equally important, in order to standardize your audience’s experience.

Check your social media profiles, and make sure that graphics and information used in your profiles are completely up to date. It’s easy for things to get out of sync, especially if you overhaul a website’s design without paying attention to the look of your social media accounts. Does your Twitter avatar and background match the branding image currently used on your website? If not, these accounts must be updated for consistency.

Skimmable Text

The Nielson Norman Group has conducted fascinating eye tracking and reading comprehension studies amongst web readers, to determine how we glean information from the Internet. They found that audiences don’t actually read web text like we read traditional books. Online readers skim through digital copy, looking for information that is the most valuable and enriching.

So, how do you improve your content, making it more accessible to online audiences? The Nielson Norman Group advises companies to steer away from marketing language, which is quickly ignored by web users as advertising. Reduce word counts, break up content with meaningful sub headers, and use bullet points to hook readers’ attention.

Link Testing

Are all of your links working the way they should? It’s easy to get overconfident when you see embedded links and navigation bars, but what happens when your HTML is faulty and a crucial link leads nowhere? This can cause audiences to become exasperated, causing them to leave your webpage behind. Analytic tools and heat maps can help you identify problematic areas across your website. It is crucial for your web design and marketing teams to discover broken links and dead ends right away, since they can impede the usability of your webpage and decrease your conversion rates.

Web design and usability elements play an integral role within a company’s success. These directives should be tied together, across social media accounts and websites, to create a comprehensive view of your brand and its products. These elements shouldn’t be overlooked as your company moves forward with new marketing campaigns and web content.

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter at @LarryAlton3 and LinkedIn.

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