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Color? Fonts? File Size? The Actual Designer?

By Cris Anderson
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2004

How important are these factors in your online success? A Revealing Interview with A Design & Marketing Expert

This week we asked one of Worldprofit.com's senior designers, Cris Anderson, to comment on some of the key elements of effective design. Here is the interview in it's entirety.

Q: Why should a business hire a professional designer and marketer?

A: A professional designer and marketer will be able to evaluate your needs and give you a site that is effective. Here are a few things that we consider that an amateur will not.

It is crucial that you have a complimentary layout to the content of your site. There is no point in having a long extended full screen web page when you only have one image and a single paragraph of copy.

The appropriate images must be used and placement is a main factor. Using improper images can actually confuse visitors and that is the last thing that we want to do.

The file sizes must be minimized. If it takes too long for your pages to load, then people will leave.

Marketing is of the utmost importance. An effective marketer will know how to keep people at your site and help you make sales. We look at sites and think they are properly designed, but when they are compared to ones that have been created by a professional, we realize that they have not considered all of the factors above. Don't take chances with your company's reputation. Get a professional designer and marketer to work with you and create that effective site that you need.

Q: What should businesses look for in hiring a web site designer?

A: Look at their portfolio. When you see quality from a designer, then quality is what you will get. Often I see design companies that have portfolios that look like they just started last week. You do not have to like the colors or even the layout, but consider if the site is effective. If I complete a dog grooming site, then look at the site and ask yourself, "Is this site effective? What are the benefits for me? What do I get? Why should I stick around?" If you go to a site that you wouldn't even want to stay at, then why would you want that same designer to make a site for you?

Q: Cris, tell me what you think is the biggest mistake people make in their web sites?

A: I believe that people are overly concerned with inundating their site with dynamic elements. Let me explain. Dynamic means: "Of or relating to energy or to objects in motion." Static means that nothing is moving. We often think dynamic is better that static. This is not always the case. Yes, a flash presentation or banner is a vital element to success of your site, but if it is designed improperly, then it is just an eyesore. In the same regard, having a static site with no flash or javascripts or any type of motion can be so beautifully laid out and effectively marketed. We don't need scripts or animated gifs all over our sites to make them effective. People do indeed enjoy motion, so my suggestion is this: limit the energy on your site to focus on one thing. This thing should make you money or bring visitors back. Add flash to your site and loose the annoying animated gifs. Flash can market your site, whereas animated gifs are often a distraction.

Q: What factors do you consider when it comes to use of color in a site?

A: As a professional designer for many years, it is my job to know the --ins and outs-- of color. I do not choose color based on, "Red is pretty." In certain cultures, color can represent very negative connotations then in other cultures. You must determine who the majority of your audience is. Also, there are many color studies that play a part in choosing color. Did you know that when subjects were placed in different rooms painted with certain colors, that yellow made people visibly agitated within minutes! Color is taken very seriously and chosen to compliment the theme and product of a site. If I do a site for a hiking company, then I will undoubtedly use earth tones, whereas a cruise site will get "sunny and warm" colors. I think most of us can agree that grays are not a good choice for a cruise site!

Q: What factors do you consider when it comes to use of fonts in a site?

A: A font is defined as, "A complete set of type of one size and face." Font shapes and sizes can portray many different emotions. If you use a font that does not fit with the theme of your site, then it can appear disjointed. Just think...what font would you pick for a site called, "Giraffes-R-us?" A font can compliment graphics and copy or direct the eye. If you want one thing to stand out, then you can imply change the font. Imagine the entire page was in a certain font and then the title was in another. It would draw your eye to it as it is isolated and different from the other fonts.

Q: What in your opinion makes the difference for a site design that is effective vs. not effective.

A: Do I want to stay? I can look back at sites I have completed years ago and say that was a great design! Sure...I've learned more effects, more gold and silver textures and all that fun stuff that everybody loves, but when I look back at some of my old designs, I think wow. It's clean, it's solid, and I want to stay! I look at some sites that are cheap and I think "Wow, Somebody learned how to use Kai's power tools or Eye Candy!" You see, your parents and friends and co-workers may think that having everything beveled on your site is cool, but it just ends up looking cheap. We often confuse great graphics and effects with effective design. A site can have the most wonderful graphics you've ever seen, but that does not mean that it is an effective design. Marketing, graphics, fonts, and colors must all work in co-relation with each other to produce a site that effectively gets you sales and visitors.

Q: Once the design is done what is the critical factor that online businesses must consider and plan for.

A: Realize that it takes hard work to make money online. We have very active site owners making sales daily, whereas some do not make any sales at all. Some people realize that they have to put an effort into e-commerce and then yes, there is a huge payoff! Online marketing and e-commerce does work! Understand though, that people are not going to visit your site and buy without any interaction from you. You must use all the tools and know inside and out the product that you are selling.

A system for success is critical. Most businesses new to the web try to reinvent the wheel. You don't have to do this! Over six years ago at Worldprofit we developed dozens of sure-fire ways to build a business online. How do we know what works? We only recommend to you, the software, tools and resources we use ourselves every single day to build our own business. Ready to get started? Want the insider secrets before you make costly mistakes? Email, mailto:customerservice@worldprofit.com

About the Author:
Cris Anderson, PhotoShop Guru, is a member of the Worldprofit Design Team. Let our expert design marketers work for you! Contact mailto:webmaster@universeprofit.com Want to get more expert design tips free? Take our free online course at: (http://www.universeprofit.com/24info.htm)
PS: We'd love to hear your response to this article, or get suggestions on future topics you would find helpful. Contact us at: (http://www.universeprofit.com/design/inforequest.htm)