Archive | April, 2011

Is Your Website User-Friendly???

28 Apr

Designing and constructing a website is not easy.   It takes a lot of planning, technical & design skills, knowledge of your target audience, and patience.   In this day of age, your web presence is debatable your prime marketing source.

To improve online traction, focus on a user-friendly design and structure….

** Content is also extremely important.  To learn more about web content, read: web content search optimization.

User-Friendly  Structure:

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
  2. Draw a box near the top and label it “home page”.
  3. Under the home page box create a box for every major section of your site, such as: about us, products/services, FAQ, search, and contact, or whatever you want.
  4. Draw lines between them and the home page to indicate that they should be linked from the home page.
  5. Then under each section, add boxes for additional pages you would like in that section and draw lines from those boxes to the section box.
  6. Continue creating boxes to represent Web pages and drawing lines to connect them to the other pages until you have every page you want on your website listed in the most organized manner.

User-Friendly Design:

Make your website easy to use by simplicity.  This is not to say that your website should be boring.  With the right color scheme, typography, and image use, you can make simple- look aesthetically and visually attractive/pleasing.

Compare these websites, and you’ll appreciate the notion, “simplicity is key”.  The goal is to be clear, focused, and concise—-> user-friendly.

One of These Websites is Not Like the Other:

The Savoy Hotel's Website makes good use of space and a set color scheme. Great Photo Use. Easy to Use Menu.

Glamour's Website uses- Fun Colours. Great organization. appropriate positioning of content, photos, and ads.



Example of a bad color scheme. No sense of hierarchy and direction. Unnecessary image use. Overall poor direction.

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Simplicity In Design Proves to Have an Ageless Effect.

27 Apr

Simplicity has a lot of benefits; here are a few:

1. Less Clutter.

2. Less Expensive.

3.  Less Obnoxious.

These 3 points are enough reason to give simplicity a chance, whether it has to do with your sense of fashion, interior design, ad design, or your creative platform.  Simplicity is timeless, and timeless is classic.

Here’s a classic example… Calvin Klein ads, as provocative as they may appear, has followed a simple approach in his creative concept and fashion design… Everything ranging from typography to fashion is simple and straightforward – not over done.  Because of this, his brand has been proven to be successful for well over 30 years.  Take a look at the famous 1980’s Brook Shield ad, famous 1990’s Kate Moss ad, and of recent Eve Mendes ad.

Brook Shields 1980

Kate Moss 1990's

Eve Mendes 2010

Doodle on Your Meeting Notes!!!

26 Apr

In school we were scolded for doodling on our notes, exams, and homework…. It was our teacher’s way of saying, “FOCUS!”  However, as a creative consultant, I say, DOODLE!!!!  Here’s my theory, when you doodle, you are expressing your subconscious thoughts.  By being able to conceptualize your thoughts through design, you are creating ideas through images, not words.  Although it’s important to be able to articulate your thoughts, it is equally as important to visually identify it.

Each one of us are artists and designers of our own thoughts… Don’t shy away from it.  Tap into the doodling excercise as a way to tap into your creative side.

The CEO of Visibility: SEO

25 Apr

We have entered a world where online communications is the source of change.  Trends and revolutions are ignited by online messaging.  For those who resort to sending out paper fliers, please understand, the world reads online.  The question now becomes, how do I gain online presence?  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the recent phenomena that enables the online community to gain priority exposure.  By simply tweaking your online HTML code, or including a social network page, you can go from #200 in Google search- to #1.

5 Ways to Utilize SEO to Your Benefit:

1. GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR TITLE TAGS!

I can’t tell you the number of websites I come across that have useless title tags.  Hello!!!!  The TITLE tag is one of the most powerful ranking factor(s).  If you want your page to reach your target audience, use descriptive, and keyword-targeted TITLE tags-  think of words that people would search for when Googling. To avoid using any duplicate tags, visit sites such as SEOmoz, and find out what tag is suitable and unique enough for you.

2.  ON THAT NOTE, DON’T DOWN-PLAY META TAG IMPORTANCE:

Think of it this way, what is displayed and described on your “online site” will always get some degree of traction… The key is to get the highest-ranking degree- by organizing, utilizing, and conceptualizing your information in the best possible manner .  It’s an art, and everyone is trying to improve the skill!

3.  AS A GOLDEN RULE, TRY AVOID GETTING TOO WORDY:

Long TITLE tags tend to weaken the SEO impact.

EXAMPLE:  “your” home-page TITLE is:

“Top Travel Service Since 1970 |International Travel”

Then, for every product page, you have something like this:

“Hotel Stay in Greece Top |Travel Service Since 1970 |International Travel”

Avoid having your KEYWORDS lost in a jumble of other words.

4. MAKE USE OF POPULAR DIRECT LINKS:

On big sites, that have accumulated links, a direct architectural design is impossible. In this case, the key is to create paths that are clear to crawlers and visitors.  Be sure to place your top-viewing links/products on your  home-page.   It’s all about creating importance to your page.  By creating importance, you can create a trickle down effect that will lead viewers to other links/products.

5.  CAN’T GAIN EXPOSURE WITHOUT BEING SOCIAL!!!!
That being said, add links to your facebook, twitter, LinkedIn page.  In order to gain online exposure, you literally have to social network.  Add links to your site.
*I hope this list provides a basic understanding on how to achieve greater search visibility!