"Is my site boring?"
"Should I hire a designer to redesign my blog?"
"Why can't my blog look like that?"
Honestly, I've wondered this myself. This site looks pretty and I love that background on theirs...and wait... how did they do that?
I think we are in an online state where many feel that things do not quite visually measure up. Pesky comparisons can really shake up our perceptions of what's good and what's useful. Being online can be a pain in the membrane!
Plain Need Not Be Boring
Worrying about our sites is a genuine concern. There's a lot of competition out there and there are many sites that get noticed before ours. We get swept up by articles everyday and yes, we do pay attention to layouts and design. However, HTML does not mean what is on a site is good. It may have attracted us there but the fluff wont keep us there!
My thoughts: We're illustrators not designers. Scratch that-not all illustrators are designers and HTML experts. Secondly, the purpose of a site or a blog should never be hidden under all the flash, pop ups, banners, big text and multiple colours.
Call me old school (yes I've been called that), but when I read a blog I am looking for good content not glittery flashy design. If you can write, share ideas and show good work then it's all GOLD! Content should be the most important thing. Focus on what's important and add the subtle details later.
Art Directors want the quick visit. They stop by and say hello but really there is no time for tea. They want to see it right away and they do not have time to dig through page after page to find your work and information. It makes sense to have it simple and effective. You've invited them there to show them what's important.
This does not mean you cannot add your own personal touches but just try the have that 'keep it simple Spock' approach on standby along with 'a less is more' mix. We cannot drive away clients in this day and age.
Good words count and titles should be attention getting too. SEO is not as big a worry as it used to be. Twitter has built in SEO and so does google. The proof: Google is now making it easier for good content to be found. So now we do not have to worry as much about SEO and focus on that important stuff.
Things to consider:
• Ample use of white space is a good approach. Too much clutter means your message could get lost. It's more visual noise and we really do not need any more eye strain as it is.
• No flash because it's labour intensive. Not everyone has optimum Internet or the latest computer. Our computers are already being put to the test daily with all sort of new apps and technology updates.
• Avoid interrupting the viewer. It's not a pop up book so try not to scare your audience. One time I was jolted by a popup and I spilled my coffee all over myself. I wasn't impressed.
• Make sure your audience gets to see what they wanted to view in the first place. Be a good host!
• Write in your own voice. Avoid art speak and big words (your tongue does not want to take an exam). If you are like me and you want to share ideas, then do that so your audience feels like they are part of the equation.
Reminder: It's a busy internet so think simple, create value and always include your audience.