While it may take 10,000 hours of experience to become an expert in something, we prefer to give you expertise in a much more manageable 10 minutes, courtesy our interviews with the experts.
Today we’re talking with Rachel Cornish, one of the leading lights of Extra Digital, a top web design company in the United Kingdom. Join us as we discuss the common mistakes businesses make with their websites, and what a business, small or large, can do to make their web presence more effective.
What are some common mistakes people make building their websites?
The biggest mistake is forgetting who the website is for. The website should be for your customers, clients, members of those interested in your services. It should not be a company organizational chart.
What do people do that “hides” their site from the wider Internet?
The era of the ‘splash front entry page’ has gone with the single ‘click to enter’ link. But we still see website composed entirely of images – with all text saved in an image and no alternative text that a search engine can see. Another issue can be the website is ‘visible’ but has no useful content and the search engines cannot tell what it is about. Website with sections called ‘what we do’, ‘who we are’ and ‘how we do it’ but fail to actually state the answers to these basic questions. There are many webshops around that you cannot tell what they sell with images turned off. This means the products are hiding from the Internet.
How important are visuals in site design?
You have one second to make an impact. A page of text with no visuals will make an impact – a negative one. Visuals are critical for showing you have arrived at the right place and encouraging the visitors to stay.
How important is having your site in a variety of languages?
Increasingly important in our international world. How easy do you find it to read a website in your second or third language? If it is less easy then you would naturally prefer in your first language, you are more likely to book or buy or read from a website in your first language.
What are some good ways to know what languages your site should be translated to?
You can start with current visitors. Look at analytics to discover either where they come from or what language they were searching in. Basic demographic research is important. And remember there can be pockets of language spoken in many areas of one country.
Are there any stumbling blocks when it comes to properly translating your site?
The main area to consider is localization. For example Portuguese: Is this for Portugal or Brazil? These have different currencies, different seasons, and use many different words within the language. The same is true for Arabic, with differences from the Maghreb countries of NW Africa, through Egypt to the Gulf states.
What are some misconceptions you’ve run into about site design for mobile devices?
Currently the biggest misconception is ‘my clients don’t use mobiles!’ or ‘my clients don’t look at our website on their mobile.’ A quick look at the visitor statistics can show otherwise.
What does a mobile site need most to be effective?
Today responsive design is seen as the best for most websites, not least because the search engines prefer this. To work well you need big areas for links, as buttons or clickable images.
Where does social media fit in with site design?
Most website designs will now incorporate links to social media, so these icons need incorporating. It is important branding is consistent across all platforms. A surprising number of large websites have disconnected branding on their social accounts.
Any tips for working with a professional site design company?
State what you like and dislike and provide some examples to show this. But leave the design to the professional designers.
Looking for more insight? Follow Rachel on Twitter @Extra_Rachel. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Rachel!