*Update: Congrats to Travis Gray for winning a copy of Lawrence’s new book “Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers!”*
Everything you do, wear, drive, eat, and so forth are expressions of your character. If it is you that makes you unique, then let’s talk about the storefront that’s open 24/7 — your website — and see how it’s applicable to other designs as well.
One cannot not communicate: Every behavior is a kind of communication. Because behavior does not have a counterpart (there is no anti-behavior), it is not possible not to communicate.
– Paul Watzlawick
Since every behavior is a kind of communication, it would be sensible to first understand our target audience.
1. Project Usability
What is the goal of your viewers? What are they trying to find?
Be clear from the get-go (i.e., a banner that illustrates exactly what your website is supposed to offer).
Image courtesy of www.denisechandler.com
Other concerns might include whether users are using mobile devices. If so, how do you serve them? Keep in mind the possibility of the fall of Flash. Also, be considerate of bandwidth issues, since 3G or 4G data speeds are not the same as broadband speeds at home.
Simplicity isn’t simple. Apple does it best. Remove clutter that does not define your goal. This includes the choices for wording, color, typography, navigation, etc.
3. Prioritize Your Priorities
Part of having a responsive and simply designed website is to prioritize your priorities. You should limit your menu bar to a minimal number of buttons for navigation.
Too many choices clutter and suffocate. Ever been to a restaurant with 50+ different choices? Oh, the agony of committing to one thing, thus sacrificing the rest.
4. Synthesize a Story
Stories are powerful. Stories disarm.
Synthesize a story explaining why you do what you do and why it should matter to them. And here are some tips on creating an effective About Page.
I have multiple Advent Calendars because I cheat.
5. Define the Next Steps
After users are coaxed to explore your site or blog post, be sure to have clear calls to action. This tells viewers what to do next.
A lot of times, people get to the end of the blog post and won’t have anything to do next. So, the likely thing to happen is that they leave. Don’t let that happen to you.
Otherwise, it’s all just a guess.
Taking the concepts above, you can even see how the strategies were integrated in the design of my recently published book – Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers.
Since Western Society reads from left to right and from top to bottom, I’ve created multiple calls to action based on this behavior.
Start with the blue, then follow with the red. This “Z” behavior is also used in many magazine and print designs. Pay close attention!
Here’s my call to action. The Photo Life is graciously hosting a contest for a free copy of my book! To enter to win, leave a question or comment about the topic of this post before Midnight 12/13/11. A randomized winner will be picked!
P.S. Here’s a design strategy that some malls use — in order to travel up and down a level via escalator, department stores require you to walk halfway around the store to the opposite side. The journey to the connecting escalator forces you to have maximum exposure to their products!
P.P.S. Inspired by Ellen, I’m doing a 12-Days of Giveaways starting on December 8th, 2011. Be sure to subscribe to my mailing list.
About Lawrence Chan
I am Lawrence Chan and I’m a marketing strategist for smart photographers.
While I author a blog, the ultimate pricing e-book, and a real book, unlike tofu, I sometimes wish I could figuratively eat a book. My propensity for eating and reading, sometimes reading about eating, has been wonderful precursors for ideas in marketing.
I so happen to be a photographer.
P.S. I like retro cats with lightning bolts from their eyes.