Your website is a critical touchpoint. It is a 24/7 location—always open for business–that customers can visit again and again. They can visit on their lunch hour. They can visit in their pajamas in the wee hours of the morning. The website is still working even when you are not.
But a website is not a place the way McDonald’s is a place. The website 136 137 is just one step in the process of connecting to the customer, though it is an important step, especially in today’s wired society. If someone wants to do a little quick research on your company, there’s about a 90 percent chance that they’ll hit the Web first. Your website will be the first impression for many of your potential customers.
How many websites have you visited recently that inspired you to buy on the spot?
Odds are good that you can count them on one hand. These days, we are all digitally sophisticated, and we have come to rely on websites as a key touchpoint. For some e-commerce businesses, the website may be the only touchpoint. E-tailers live and die by the customer’s website experience.
For these companies, the website experience is the brand experience. Despite these facts, most website designs, ironically, ignore the fundamentals, which are essentials. Ignoring the fundamentals will almost certainly guarantee that a site does not live up to customer expectations, which means it will never achieve the brand goals.
There is an order and hierarchy to page composition that applies not only to web sites, but to all other graphical touchpoints as well, e.g., ad layouts, posters, and packaging. Every design element must either be dominant, subdominant, or subordinate. Otherwise, everything is shouting at the viewer at once. The result is that the mind can not absorb and process the information in a meaningful way, and it becomes difficult to compel the viewer to take action. Your call to action will drown in a muddy sea of debris.