Bop Design Educates Businesses About Why the Look and Feel of their Websites is Important

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San Diego marketing firm weighs in on research explaining users' split second website visit decision making.

In its most basic terms the ‘look and feel’ of a website is how it looks to the user and how it feels to the user when he or she is interacting with it.

Researchers at Harvard University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Colorado at Boulder recently published their research indicating that website users make split-second judgments about a website immediately upon seeing it. Among other things, they discovered that users find visually complex websites less appealing than those sites that feature content that is laid out cleaner and in a simple manner. Kara Jensen, creative principal of San Diego web design company Bop Design, calls this the "look and feel" of a website and describes why it is an important factor for businesses to consider when redesigning their websites. "In its most basic terms," says Jensen, "the ‘look and feel’ of a website is how it looks to the user and how it feels to the user when he or she is interacting with it."

Bop Design provides a list below of the components of the look and feel of a website and describes how businesses can use these terms to their advantage when redesigning their company website.

The "look" is defined by the following components of a website:

  • Color palette
  • Images
  • Layout
  • Font choices
  • Overall styling

The feel is determined by these characteristics:

  • The movement and response of dynamic components like dropdown menus, buttons, forms, and galleries
  • Sound effects
  • The speed by which pages and images load

A website’s overall look and feel is important because it instantly conveys an attitude to clients before they even start reading the content on the site. Before a business begins a website redesign, they should check their goals against industry standards by looking at their competitors’ websites. Though there is some leeway within general industry categories, users can get confused or turned off by websites that look or feel too far outside of their expectations for a business or industry. "A fitness website should look fresh, powerful and well organized," maintains Jensen. "Meanwhile, a website for a band or fashion designer can be more creative with colors, texture and image choices."

"Look and feel" can be described using adjectives that would apply to a personality type.
These are some adjectives provided by Bop Design that a business might use to describe their website:

  • Friendly
  • Approachable
  • Professional
  • Experienced
  • Upscale
  • Exclusive
  • Cutting edge
  • Stylish
  • High-tech
  • Powerful

However, websites with poorly considered overall design and usability schemes can inadvertently fall into categories that are less flattering, such as:

  • Boring
  • Uptight
  • Stodgy
  • Outdated
  • Tacky
  • Cluttered
  • Confusing
  • Childish

Jensen continues, "Instead of focusing on just positive adjectives, you can help your web design team triangulate your expectations by providing them with a description scale such as, ‘The website should look fun and exciting but not childish’ or ‘Our website should be professional but not stodgy or old-fashioned.’"

Jensen cautions businesses working with a web design company to clearly define their business objectives and key adjectives regarding the look and feel of their website before design work begins to ensure that all parties are clear.

Bop Design is a San Diego marketing firm with offices also in Orange County, CA and the New York metro area. Specializing in B2B marketing, Bop Design creates holistic marketing plans geared toward lead generation and business development. Bop Design offers services in branding, logo design, website design and development, responsive web design, SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing.

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Kara Jensen
Bop Design
+1 619-330-0730 Ext: 801
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since: 12/2010
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