Insights // Talking Shop

Everything on a webpage has a purpose

Last updated April 21, 2018

Sounds blatantly obvious doesn’t it?

Yet, we see this over and over again on websites with no solid strategy or from designers coming from the print world with little web background. Or even web designers throwing in a trendy gizmo for sake of it because “it’s the new hotness” and “why not, can’t hurt right?”

You know that old sesame street song “one of these things is not like the others?” Perfectly applies. From photos to that bulleted services list, with bad content, you’re just eating bland tasting but beautifully served food.

A few common mistakes:

  • Hero banners with no purpose
  • Copying a popular website
  • Responsive Design That’s Not Really Responsive

Let’s go into each…

Hero banners with no purpose

Apple popularized the big, main image on a home page known in marketing slang as the “hero” image. Its main purpose is to attract attention. And there’s no problem with that.

Like anything else in marketing, your mileage varies depending on how you use them. But the worst thing you can do is have them look pretty and do absolutely nothing. So, if their main purpose is to attract attention why don’t they lead anywhere and why can’t your visitors can’t click on them?

In architecture, this is usually known by its principal “form follows function.” This is especially true on mobile where every pixel matters. Are you serving someone marketing messages or are you helping them figure out they’re on the right site by answering their questions?

Even worse is the hero carousel—the hero image that flips through multiple marketing messages, often with a forward and back button. Guess how well that last slide it the carousel does for user engagement?

Copying a popular website

Just because a website is popular does not mean you should mirror its design and especially its content.

For one, their unique differentiation is probably going to be a lot different than yours. Even if you’re in the same industry and have a competing businesses, you likely got into business for different reasons than your competitor did or have some unique advantage. A good marketer should be able to figure out what that is and them amp it up.

Responsive Design That’s Not Really Responsive

And by this we mean, again we mean no strategy or art direction on mobile whatsoever.

These days, when you build a website, you want to take a mobile-first approach. It’s a lot easier to “scale up” your content and add extras for the bigger screens than it is to try to scale down your content for mobile.

Like those typical big “hero banners” we wrote about earlier, we’ve seen mobile designs that simply scale them down to mobile size. It looks about as great as it sounds—1000px banner with 12 pixel type scaled down to less than 320 px on mobile. Don’t you just love reading 5 pixel type? Yet this is what passes for some “agency” design these days.

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