June 2013

Website design is one of the most difficult topics for Internet Entrepreneurs to get their brains wrapped around.

Everyone has opinions, notions of what a site is about, the balance between something being beautiful and usable - most of this stuff gives website owners a headache.

You want folks to be creative yet also produce a wonderful experience for the end user - how do you keep it all in balance? Design can always be 'better' - the majority of it is subjective.

Web Design Consulting

Remember the chairs.

Great website design is like a mirror - it is reflective of you and your business. It causes people who know you well to say "Yes, that's the company I know and love' and it causes folks who have never met you to "get it" quickly and with few words.

So how the heck do you take that sort of obvious advice and translate it to green, blue, and orange?

When we go to visit any type of professional service provider we often end up in a waiting room. Sometimes we end up in a conference room or a sales office - all of those places have been very intentionally constructed to help us understand what is going on.

The attorney who has fancy antique chairs and a waiting room that looks like a museum - you are assured by their success, you feel like they have deep experience, and you expect the hourly rate to be high.

The attorney who has rusty metal folding chairs and a flashing neon sign in the window that struggles to blink out it's message of "Quickie Divorces" - you have expectations there as well. You won't be offered coffee on a silver tray and those folks might charge less per hour than the people who cut your lawn.
  • What does your website design say about you and your company?
  • Are the chairs too expensive? Not expensive enough?
  • Does the stuff displayed on the walls make people feel the right way?
  • Do the materials on your waiting room table (content) correspond to what you want folks to be thinking about when you encounter them?
  • Does it strike the right tone?
  • Do people who know us well feel right at home?
  • Do folks who have never met us "get" what we're about easily?
Now there are lots of ways to formalize a process like this: branding guides, style documents, customer demographics, customer persona's, and competitive analysis are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways to do all of this. But for lots of Internet Entrepreneurs the waiting room chairs idea works better.

Here's the bottom line for Internet Entrepreneurs: The land of website design is full of opinion and subjective feelings. You can't change that - so instead just focus on your waiting room chairs.

You'll be reliably pleased by the results.

Ross Lasley is the Internet Educator, an experienced Internet entrepreneur providing web strategy and consulting services to businesses. Ross speaks frequently on web design, e-commerce, and Internet marketing issues and maintains a weekly newsletter, Web Enlightenment.
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