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Why Functional Web Design Beats Fancy Web Design

Fancy web design with lots of flashy content and graphics might showcase your creativity and attract attention, but if it doesn’t work you’ve missed the mark.  A web design must be functional to get the results you need.

Your website is your electronic store front.  It’s important that your site attract your customers, make them comfortable, and give them the information they need.  In short, it must be customer friendly.

Know Your Ideal Customer

Many businesses make the mistake of designing a website that includes confusing but creative navigation schemes or complex functions.  The end result is a page that overwhelms and frustrates visitors.

Creating a customer friendly website begins with knowing your ideal customer.  What does your ideal customer want from your business?  Is your typical customer male or female?  Does your business market services to professional people or other businesses?  Your site needs to appeal to your customer to get results.

Keep It Simple

Unless you are a graphic designer hoping to impress potential clients, flashy graphics and long intro sequences only slow your page down.  In the time it takes to load your introduction your target customer will likely move on to the next site on their search engine list.  Simple, readable text and clear images that load quickly capture and hold their attention.

Apply the same simplicity test to navigation.  Your customer wants to feel comfortable and enjoy their visit to your site.  Make your customer feel welcome and comfortable by clearly showing them around your site.

Clean and Crisp

Think about the websites you use frequently.  Are they cluttered with lots of pictures, words, and visual stimulation or are they well organized with good use of white space?  Just like an office or a home, a cluttered website is awkward and uncomfortable.  The best websites are clean and crisp, easily readable and not overwhelming.

Take a look at your website and notice the blank places.  The average visitor to your site makes a quick judgment based on the appearance of information on your site.  Long sentences and paragraphs drive customers away rather than drawing them in.

Use bulleted lists, short sentences and simple fonts in two to three sentence paragraphs.  You will draw the visitor in by making information obvious and readily available.

Avoid Automatic Music or Video

Including media like an embedded video or a sound file on your site is a good strategy for adding unique content and encouraging SEO friendly links.  Just make sure the media you use doesn’t start up automatically.  Give your visitors the ability to opt in or avoid it.  Make sure to also give them a clear and simple way to stop the music or video while it plays if they choose.

The purpose of a business website is business.  You want your visitors to become customers and your customers to find the information they need to purchase your products and services.  The last thing you want to do is send them rushing to close your site.

  Keep it Simple, Keep it Functional

When people visit your site they are looking for information about your products and services.  Dynamic graphics and artistic expression are certainly entertaining, but not if they get in the way of converting visitors into customers.

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