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Audience expectation is a difficult thing. Ideally you want to be able to surpass it at all times – taking into account exactly what is expected of you and delivering something that is of the same quality but novel in a way that not even your audience can predict. It might go without saying that this is something of a tall order.
It is worth noting that it is not necessarily true of every aspect of your business. Depending on what industry you find yourself in, the results that you deliver might not have to surprise, and they might just have to be of the kind of quality that you want associated with your brand. Your website, however, is certainly an area with room to explore these expectations.
The real question is, how much visual flair should you include? After all, you want to avoid a situation where you’re treading into style over substance territory. Furthermore, overloading your website with visuals might ultimately distract from the information you’re trying to present, making the visuals work against you. Instead, you want your website’s graphic design to enhance the information – draw attention to it while being pleasing to look at.
Opportunities to flex your creative muscles in this regard come with smaller touches – how the cursor and links react when you hover over entrances to different pages, the interactivity of the website. Again, you do not want these to become the sole driving focus, but adding some life and aesthetic quality to the page can help it to feel like a professional work.
Sometimes, this visual aspect is something that’s just a part of the website itself – your branding and brand aesthetic recognizably present throughout the experience can help the page as a whole to feel more legitimate, for example. These might be considered the basics, with the added level of interactivity being what you can do to go above and beyond, but that notion of wanting to surpass expectations sometimes has to be tempered in order to leave the most rewarding results.
You want your audiences to walk away from an interaction with your website feeling as though they are impressed by what they saw, instead of feeling as though your business was trying too hard to make that impression. It is a fine line to walk, and perhaps looking at some examples can help you to avoid pitfalls.
A Link to Your Industry
While you might have worked hard to ensure that your brand aesthetic is present throughout your website, you also have to consider the wider industry. Yet again, this is a time when towing the line is important, as you do not want to make something so generic it could belong to any of your competitors. You simply want it to be recognizable, and for the website to feel right for the kind of service your customers ultimately expect. You might not necessarily even agree with this – shouldn’t you be trying to distinguish yourself in a competitive field? Isn’t this one way to stand out? It could be, but it could also risk alienating some people who have come to expect a certain degree of familiarity.
The idea of web design being more intrinsically linked to certain brands might be one that is relatively new to you. If that is the case, it might be something that factors into your decision of who you work with to design this website. Professionals like RSM Marketing might specialize with those in construction, something that’s going to have entirely different needs to a company that offers video production services, for example.
However, working with the right professionals can also help you to identify areas within these expectations where you can make yourself stand out from what is expected, making improvements on the formula in subtle ways that can make an impression without that even being known.
Accessibility and Usability
As digital technology becomes more common and widespread, it naturally and generally makes more of an effort to be as usable to as many people as possible. If you are expected to get in touch with a company primarily through their website, for example, shouldn’t that website be as easy to use as possible? If it is not then you simply risk turning away customers entirely.
Business is conducted almost entirely online at times, and that means that you need to take this into account when designing your website. Clearly telegraphing where users can find certain information is important, but as is condensing information down into digestible and concise chunks so that everything can fit where it needs to go on the wider website.
Sometimes you might even go above and beyond and offer accessibility options for those who might have difficulties with their vision – options to change the color scheme used to be a more readable one or an audio assistant that can guide them through the website could be options that you consider here.
Not only do these kinds of additions help your website to become as usable as possible to a wider audience, but it also helps your brand to become known as one that cares about its audiences to the degree that they would jump through these hoops. When looking at it as an extended form of marketing, it might be easier for you to see why you would design your website in a certain way.
Is It Enough to Just Meet Them?
Throughout all of this, you might wonder if you could just make a website that meets the standard of other businesses in your field – after all, that is not necessarily a small feat. Isn’t that enough if your website functions well and does what it needs to? It might be, as websites are enormously useful business tools in themselves. However, they are also opportunities, and you might find that finding ways to maximize your investment can help you take advantage of everything it offers your business.