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Thread: eye catching vs informative home page

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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array tylerhutchinson's Avatar
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    Default eye catching vs informative home page

    So I had a conversation with a web designer in my network the other day about a site he was building for a client of mine. The site ended up having no real visuals and was strictly text about the company and services. So the conversation started...... I explained to catch the eye of a potential customer there needs to be some visual "eye catching" aspect to the home page. I do feel there needs to be a balance in information and visual effects. This particular person says visuals and "flashiness" is over-rated and unneeded.

    So of course I want other expert opinions on this? What is more important to a home page, things to bring in an audience, or information right from the start? Could it depend on the industry (ie B2B vs direct consumers)? Maybe I am off on this, even though I do not think I am. I do believe a balance is involved but I would rather suck people into a "pretty" site and have them click in deeper then give them everything off the home page and being a boring site!
    Tyler Hutchinson
    CEO at Full Circle Business Consulting
    HTTP://www.fullcirclebusinessconsulting.com

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    Get In Where You Fit In Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    It doesn't have to be "flashy", but images, and graphics are important. If it's just an informational type thing...like a document, then I guess you don't need any. But if it's purpose is to provide a great presentation of the company, give the impression of credibility and generate business, then just words on a page won't do it and your competitors will crush you online.
    You could feasibly make up for it with a great ad campaign and marketing, but if you don't think that visuals are helpful on your website, then it's likely that your ad and marketing will be just as boring.

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    Refugee from the .com Array cbscreative's Avatar
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    I don't know all the details of this particular case, but speaking in general terms, I'd have to agree with your instincts. Content is king, but presentation of the content is equally important.

    Graphics, layout, and color all play a key role. There needs to be a visual element that reinforces the message of the content. If your site is about windmills (random example), then having pictures of windmills will certainly help add to your content.

    There's always that pesky 8 second rule which states that most visitors make their decision about staying or leaving in the first 8 seconds. Anything you can do to help them quickly determine that your site has what they came looking for is going to increase your chances of surviving those first critical seconds. Even the formatting of the text is crucial, so it's not just about having the right content, but organizing it in way that the visitor can quickly ascertain what the page is about.
    Steve Chittenden

    Web design, graphic design, professional writing, and marketing.

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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array tylerhutchinson's Avatar
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    I agree with both of you. I do not do web design myself but I create layouts and concepts and then forward them to a code writer to build the site. I believe in the 8 second rule. I try to build it so it catches your attention. Then under it there can be general info, and then as you go into the site you can get all the details you want. If it is all text, it may be boring or overwhelming and cause your potential customer to leave!

    I do agree to that if your simply a boring person with a boring site, your ad campaign is prob the same! This person I was talking with was just in general for the most part. He is a web designer I network with for some projects with clients. He had one idea for a company (happened to be a health and wellness company) and I felt it should be flashy with pics and the different offers they do. I suggested a slideshow with pics on each with details of the different services that scroll through since they have so much to offer. He wanted to do a list of services with no pics (or he said maybe small pics off to the side) with details. I would rather have a drop down menu to show the different services with the details for each on their own page.
    Tyler Hutchinson
    CEO at Full Circle Business Consulting
    HTTP://www.fullcirclebusinessconsulting.com

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    Get In Where You Fit In Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tylerhutchinson View Post
    This person I was talking with was just in general for the most part. He is a web designer I network with for some projects with clients. He had one idea for a company (happened to be a health and wellness company) and I felt it should be flashy with pics and the different offers they do. I suggested a slideshow with pics on each with details of the different services that scroll through since they have so much to offer. He wanted to do a list of services with no pics (or he said maybe small pics off to the side) with details. I would rather have a drop down menu to show the different services with the details for each on their own page.
    With all of the competition in that field, just doing enough to get by probably won't cut it. If the website doesn't make you look credible and instill a sense of comfort in people, they aren't going to take you word for it with a text filled site and no images, no style and no though put into presentation.

    People are very visual. If they look at your site and feel like you didn't go the extra mile or don't care about your own stuff, why would they trust you to do it for them?

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    You're instincts are exactly right. Both are necessary. I've even written a few times about this very subject on my blog. A part of design is visual communication. It doesn't even have to be images or graphics. You want to set up a visual hierarchy so people can't instantly understand what on the page is of greater importance than other parts. A good hierarchy also lets people scan the page. You group like things together, align elements, and use whitespace and compositional balance and color to add interest to the page.

    And I still haven't mentioned images or graphics. Of course imagery communicates a lot and it can attract and direct the eye to different parts of the page.

    If all you have on the page is information many, probably most people will leave before reading more than a few words. Your copy better be pulitzer prize worthy to get them to read at all and you better put all the important stuff in the first paragraph. If on the other hand you design the page with visual interest, you'll keep people there longer and make sure the most important information stands out.

    Studies show that people start to make judgements about a web page in about 200 milliseconds. In that time the only thing you can take in is a quick visual impression of the overall design. There's a good chance if you haven't made a good impression in those 200 milliseconds you've already lost.
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    Moderator Array Patrysha's Avatar
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    Do you have a source for that VanGogh...that gives me an idea for a blog post...
    In pursuit of bright lights and good stories,
    Patrysha the publicist
    Patrysha Publicity - Press & Media Relations, Promotions & Podcasting

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    I do. Here's a PDF of research done at Carleton University: Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression!. I guess I overestimated the time.

    Here's a post which talks about the study above. First Impressions Count in Website Design

    Here's a post of mine where I mention both of the above as well as link to several case studies showing how design changes led to significant improvements in conversions. Why You Need Design. My post also discusses the halo effect, which is a psychological principle that states that the perception of one thing influences future perception of other things about the same object.

    So you take in a website in 50ms, immediately begin forming judgements based solely on a quick visual perception, and that perception then begins to affect every other future perception you have about that same site.
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    thats what i was going to say... you have just a few seconds to get them interested enough to actually stay on your site and maybe then read your words..
    .and why cant an attractive front page be informative too..
    so many sites look alike..... did they all go to the same school? i wouldnt want that either...
    ann at greenoak www.greenoakantiques.com

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    I always like to say that your website is going on a first date with every new visitor. You want it to look as attractive as possible at first glance, and then you wow your date even more with what's on the inside (content: text, images, quality of information).

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