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What Getting Dressed Can Teach Us About Website Design

Generally speaking, most of us organize our clothes by type. If you’re a guy like me, you keep socks in one drawer, underwear in another. Pants are stored in one place, and I hang my shirts together. This type of organized storage system makes sense, because I get dressed by putting on one article of clothing on at a time. Its logical to keep like things together so I know where to find each item that I want.

While getting dressed, I make decisions about how to put different items together to form an outfit. I start with underwear, socks, and maybe a tee shirt. Then I find a pair of pants and a shirt (that hopefully match) and, depending on where I’m going, maybe a coat or jacket. I wear clothes that are appropriate for what I’m doing: shorts and sandals if the destination is the beach, or a suit for a friend’s wedding.

Designing a Website is a Lot Like Choosing an Outfit

The key here is that website design is like getting dressed, NOT like organizing our clothes in our closets.

We don’t wear all of the same category of clothing at once. You wouldn’t wear only shirts, only pants, or only socks (unless you’re the Red Hot Chili Peppers) – you take the various pieces of clothing for different parts of your body and wear them together to make an outfit.

A common mistake many designers make is building sites that have individual pages for each type of content. We’ve all seen this – a site that has separate pages for “about us”, “history”, “our mission”, testimonials, and contact information. Sometimes there are even separate pages for photos, another for videos, and so on.

Organizing a website’s content in this way is like storing clothes in your dresser or closet. You’re organizing the site by categories or types of content.

Websites Aren’t Dressers and Closets – They’re Outfits

A better solution is to put related pieces of content together to make a complete story – just like how you match your clothes to make an outfit. Why make the user go to a separate page to see photo galleries or videos? Put the video on the page that relates to the content of the video. While you’re there, put a testimonial that helps reinforce the message, as well as a contact form so if the user wants to take the next step, they don’t have to go to a separate page.

Here’s a sample “outfit” for a website page. Let’s pretend this is a company’s About Us page.

Sample About Us Page

  • Intro content – Background & History
  • Introductory video
  • Section with more detailed information – specific services, service areas, etc.
  • A photo gallery
  • Testimonial(s)
  • Call to Action that launches a contact form
  • Newsletter sign up
  • Footer with contact information and social media links
  • Social media sharing buttons – allowing the user can share the content

Of course, this would all depend on the specifics of the site. Regardless, all of the various types of information work together as an “outfit” to address the content needs of the user.

Dress to Impress

Our clothes – especially in business situations – are important things that we carefully consider in order to make a good impression. By carefully selecting the proper elements and then assembling them together in a way that makes sense, we can design websites that are our virtual wardrobe to make an equally impressive presentation.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Designing a New Website

So, you’ve decided that you’re in the market for a new website. Great! But, where to begin? What are you looking for? What do you ask potential designers for? Do you need all the fancy sounding features they’re trying to sell you?

No doubt, it can be a confusing process. That’s why we’ve put together the checklist below, with points to consider and questions to ask. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but its a good start to help you start thinking about what you’ll have to consider in order to get the most out of your experience of working with a professional web designer.

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Google Prepares Algorithm Change; Website Owners Must Migrate to Mobile

Read the original article on Silicon Valley Business Journal here

As much as Apple has guided the entire tech industry by its advocacy or abandonment of various software and hardware technologies over the years, Google envisions a mobile future where every website on the planet works equally well on a cellphone, tablet or desktop.

On Thursday, via the Webmaster Central blog, Google drew an inevitable line in the sand for mobile-friendly adoption, and it is likely to have as much of an impact on organic search results as any of the major algorithm updates over the past five years, including the Penguin and Panda updates.

Here’s the money quote:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

In a 2014 survey on Internet Trends, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers revealed that mobile now accounts for 25 percent of all Web usage, up from 14 percent a year ago. Many website owners have seen cellphone-plus-tablet usage surge to as much as 50 percent of all traffic in 2015.

Why is this April 21 algorithm change seismic? What Google is telling us is that mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive websites will be rewarded with better positioning in Google’s mobile search engine results, and thus more traffic from a rapidly expanding user base. Conversely, websites that are not mobile friendly will see less mobile organic traffic, receive a smaller piece of the expanding mobile pie, and will be forced to rely on a shrinking desktop-based audience.

Website owners don’t have an option, they have a missive: Go mobile.

For websites that are not currently mobile-friendly but are on a platform that has good options (WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify and BigCommerce, for example), the changeover may be relatively painless and inexpensive. For websites that are old (2011 or earlier) or on a legacy system, now is the time to commit to the site rebuild that has been pushed down the priority list for months or years.

While the catalyst for change is the ability to compete for mobile organic traffic, there are numerous benefits to re-theming a website for a mobile audience, including a better user experience, longer time on site and higher conversion rates. Businesses may be pleasantly surprised to find that the cost of migration is recouped by a mobile audience that engages more, inquires more and buys more.

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