Designing for the Web? Ask How Your Readers Will Feel

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When creating web content, whether designing entire websites or writing a single tweet, most of us consider what our reader wants. And we strive to provide those readers with exactly what they’re looking for.

But do enough of us consider how design makes readers feel?

What is their gut response before even analyzing the content? Are they filled with confidence? Or trepidation? Do they want to stay? Or do they instantly feel they’ve made a mistake?

When designing for the web it is important to consider all of this. Only by doing so can you attain the reactions you want from readers and avoid those you don’t.

Keep in mind, these feelings and judgments occur within seconds. They aren’t based on detailed reasoning but initial reactions at a glance.

Recently, ECHO had the privilege of hosting Phillip Djwa, CEO of Agentic Digital Media, a web development company working largely in the non-profit space in Western Canada. Phillip has overseen the design of many websites from conception to launch.

We had an animated discussion with Phillip to get his insights.

Here’s what we learned.

  1.   Appear Respectable: This means projecting competence and experience in your industry. It’s achieved by ensuring you comply with current best practices for layout, including fewer columns and sufficient white space. Or by including legitimizing symbols like security locks and the official seals of organizations you belong to. Example: Watson Goepel LLP 
  1.   Ensure Clarity: If your company’s core services and distinguishing features are not immediately obvious on your homepage, your readers will be confused. Or worse, they’ll assume there is nothing you can offer that they need. Instead, make everything clear right away without the need to click around. Example: Fortius Sport & Health
  1.   Be Welcoming: No one wants to spend time on a site or with a company that doesn’t seem thrilled to meet them. So be fun, cheerful and energetic. This is done by using bright or at least complimentary colors and by keeping your tone light and dry blocks of text limited. Example: lululemon