Your Website Is Not For YOU

Posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 No Comments


Your website is not for you. It’s for everyone else.

Most importantly, it’s for your customers, clients, or whoever your target audience is.

That might seem obvious to you, and it might not. I’m bringing this up because I’ve noticed clients trying to cater to their own design wishes without considering the actual users of their websites.

Of course I’m not going to point out any specific clients here, but I’ll give a few generalized examples to illustrate the issue.

 

“It’s easier for me to read reverse text, so please make the text of my website white with a dark background.”

Most people would say the exact opposite. Trying to read white text on a dark background is an eye strain. It’s like driving at night—you’re looking at the same stuff, but it’s all harder to see.

If you’re in the minority that prefers the opposite, should you inflict your preference on everyone who looks at your website? The people you’re hoping will buy your products?

A very quick Google search came up with these articles on the topic:

On the readability of inverted color schemes

When to Use White Text on a Dark Background

The overall consensus is that it’s safe to use white text over a colored background for very small amounts of text, such as a headline. Otherwise, it’s best to use dark text on a light background for paragraph text.

 

“I can’t read on a screen very well, so please increase the font size. More than that. More.”

I know that it’s hard to read text on screens, especially for a long period of time, and especially if you’re over the age of, say, 30.

But at some point, a large font size becomes comical. It makes your website look clownish.

On today’s devices, a 14-16px font size is pretty reasonable for paragraph text. And obviously, if you know for a fact that your customers are all vision-impaired or something, make appropriate adjustments.

 

“Even though we’re a swimming pool installation company, I hate the color blue, so let’s avoid it if possible.”

There are places and times to be bold and daring. There are places and times to be predictable.

On any type of marketing material, including a website, you must illustrate what your company does. If you install swimming pools, you’ll need to show photos of sparkling blue water.

There are a few other website-specific items that should generally be predictable for your users. You should have a logo at the top or top-left of the page that links to your homepage. You should have a navigational menu. You should show things like your contact information or operating hours. These fundamental basics are not very negotiable, as long as you want your visitors to understand your website and your business.

 

Those are just a few examples that I commonly hear from people. Now, I’m not here to tell you what to do with your website. I will, however, point out when you’re about to make a mistake and give you some options. There are times when people take my advice, and times when they don’t. It’s your website, so it’s up to you. My purpose with this post is to plant a seed in your head so that next time you’re thinking of a design change, you consider your visitors instead of your personal preferences.




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