What Are The Best Colours For Online Conversions?

In the global world of online commerce, design is a language in its own right. From guiding the flow of web traffic, to highlighting and emphasising products, services, and options, how you look is increasingly an influence on how you sell. And, in the digital realm, colour is a key component of this unwritten language.

Unlike the written word, the vocabulary of colour is a more complex language to translate. Our interpretations of colours are infused with cultural contexts and learned responses. So is colour really a universal language?color theory

Colour Theory and Culture

Colour is linked with memory and association. Our responses are often ingrained through learning, rather than inherent traits, although this learning can itself come from nature. Green is healthy; blue is peaceful. Red is seen as vibrant, but also urgent: which is why it is so widely used for discount sale signs in shops, and also warning signs.

Colour in commerce can affect our assumptions too: we see blue and teal as signs of dependability and honesty, and these are the colours most commonly associated with banking brands. But do we see blue in this way because it is used by banks? Equally, certain brands have made the colour orange synonymous with dependability and value for money, yet in some communities, orange is also a divisive emblem of political loyalties.

So the challenge for any design agency with an eye on web-based commerce is this: when you sell online, you sell to the whole world. How can you strike a compromise between the many differing interpretations of your brand’s colour palette?

The Psychology of the Perfect Palette

Using colour to focus the eye and influence navigation is one matter. But when it comes to converting mouse clicks into cash, this is where colour theory really becomes interesting. Because there are clear examples where colour most definitely is a universal language.

This is where an understanding of colour palettes can really be converted into profit. A good digital design agency will know how to use colour to direct attention; a great one will know how to create a meaning. A fantastic case study to illustrate this is the re-branding of McDonald’s restaurants, from red to green. The company faced criticism for being too aggressive in its business practices, and that their products had become unhealthy. Out went the domineering and dangerous red; in came the calm and natural deep green. The company reversed a downward trend and the strategy is considered one of the most successful top tier re-brandings of recent years.

So, which colours are best for online conversion? That all depends on your objectives. And – as with all matters of colour – context is king. One interesting question to ask of your palette is this: will your colours be a prompt, or a problem solver? In the example given above, the brand used colour to address a perceived problem with their image. In doing so, they relied on the broadest, most universal interpretations of very bold colours. If your brand is strong, but you are routinely failing to complete sales due to an indistinct layout, colour can be a prompt: bold and urgent contrast hues that direct the customer’s eye towards completing the purchase. So whether you are building a brand identity, or simply improving your end-user experience, think about how you can be communicating in colour.

Image Credit: http://www.1stwebdesigner.com

Top Web Design Trends For 2015

design trends 2015

As any web design company worth its salt knows, design trends can vary widely from year to year. 2014 saw a lot of focus placed on mobile technologies, with designers everywhere seeking new and better ways to optimise their sites for use on mobile and tablet devices; other trends included flat design, minimalist navigation and an increase in video and moving backgrounds.

So, what new trends and innovations do we anticipate in the year ahead? In this article we highlight 7 features that you can expect to see featuring on a website near you.

Video content

There’s been a recent upsurge in sites using video to promote their services; from infomercials to product demonstrations, websites are increasingly offering visual content to captivate their visitors. With many people switching to fibre optic broadband and faster online services, now is the time to deliver engaging video content.

Hidden navigation

By de-cluttering the screen, designers can maximise space to deliver content. Navigation menus that slide in or are activated by a roll-over or click are making a return to websites, particularly on the mobile viewport where space is at a premium.

Ghost buttons

Ghost Buttons are have certainly become more popular recently, subtle links to pages that blend into the overall page design. Often just a simple transparent shape with no fill and just a keyline — hence the name — these links help to create a more minimalist design. The style is quite popular on visual websites that make use of full-screen photography.

Parallax scrolling

The parallax effect has been around for sometime now, but it has become more popular in web design recently. Web designers are using the effect in scrolling sites to introduce a sense of depth and and create 3D effects. It can be an effective way of driving users through a narrative or storyline on visiting your site. Definitely a trend that’s set to continue in 2015.

Designs for larger screens

If 2014 was the year of mobile websites, could 2015 be the year of the big screen? With web0-ready TVs becoming more prevalent, designers are having to consider people surfing the web on large TVs or projector screens? Designing for the larger screen requires a different approach, which is sure to become more widespread in the years ahead.

Dynamic content

Imagine being able to deliver unique content that’s relevant to individual visitors. Dynamic content can be really powerful and engaging, as long as you have accurate information about your audience. Being able to deliver content in this manner is the future of the web, which could have a tremendous effect on conversation rates.

Colour co-ordination

Brands can certainly benefit from our emotional response to colour. Your branding consultancy can help to establish a colour palette, or perhaps theme your site around an existing identity. Whether you go for neutral tones with an accent colour, or a rainbow of colour, it’s important to get it right.

As 2015 unfolds, it’s going to be interesting to see which of these trends become common practice and which ones are phased-out by new ideas or advances in web technology.

5 Elements of Web User Interface Design Best Practice

ui design, design servicesWhen a user visits a website, certain elements will make them feel comfortable about using it. Potential customers will make a judgement about your website within seconds, so your chosen website design company will follow a number of key rules to optimise the user experience.

Clarity

All elements of the user interface should be clear and intuitive. If the user is unsure what to expect from any of them, such as a misleading or obscure icon, they may not have the confidence to click — they’re more likely to move onto another site, that has an interface that seems more familiar or easier to navigate.

Action

The user needs to be guided toward the action you would prefer them to take. For example, if that action is to provide some information then the text field in which you would like them to type needs to be clearly labelled. It sounds obvious, but explaining exactly what’s required from the user will only improve the overall user experience.

Guidance

In much the same vein, a direct invitation to do something is likely to yield greater results than simply presenting the opportunity. If you would like the user to enter their comments, a simple instruction such as ‘Enter your message here.’ will encourage that action.

Context

An important part of the web designer’s role is to ensure that user interface elements are clear; any functionality should always be intuitive and obvious to the user. For example, placing controls close to the element they affect makes good design sense.

Feedback

If the interface provides feedback on interactions, the user will feel confident they’ve achieved the desired outcome. An example of this might be a message such as ‘Your email has been sent’; this provides clear confirmation and the user can continue.

These five steps are vital elements in user interface design. An agency offering professional design services should adhere to these principles in order to provide you with the best solution, allowing you to do the same for your own customers.

From innovative to overused: 5 design trends to avoid in 2015

web design trendsTrends in website design change from year to year. Yet in an age of unrivalled digital creativity there are many elements and styles applied by creative design services which reappear in hundreds of places; what was once an innovative or new take on web design can become omnipresent and stale very quickly. In this article we take a look at 5 of the main design elements which were used – and overused – in 2014.

1. Dull typefaces

In the good old days when websites were in their infancy, everyone used the same two or three typefaces, and there’s been an unfortunate return to those days – whether it’s seen as good practice to throw some Arial or Courier fonts at your homepage, it is dull to view, dull to read and definitely lacks both creativity and imagination. Sure it may look functional, but often a website is used to generate interest or lead to a purchase – and few things are less appealing than dull blocks of text that look like they’ve been reproduced from a technical manual!

2. Use of stock photos

Few things are as big a turn off as seeing the same imagery used across hundreds of websites. In an age where digital photography is ubiquitous and cameras and phones can deliver great images in seconds, why pay to use the same stock photos as everyone else?

3. Making your site compatible on all systems

Internet usage on mobile platforms has now grown to the point where it has started to outstrip conventional desktop or laptop browsing – from smartphones to iPads and other tablets, users are accessing content in increasing ways. Any good website design agency will push its abilities at making sites compatible on all devices, yet sometimes websites that have been optimised to work on all platforms can lose that extra sparkle. There are lots of ways to scale and deliver content; don’t dumb down your site simply to tick the compatibility box.

4. Full screen photos

Full screen images on specialist photography sites can look incredible, selling a product or an ethos most effectively. Using a full screen photo on your law school page or a site advertising accountancy services – perhaps not. This is one growing trend that really ought to be restricted to where it works best.

5. Load screens

Broadband and network access has generally become faster year on year; with ever more savvy designers and programmers who know how to write efficient code, why on earth would a website take so long to load that you’d need to show the visitor a loading screen? Sort out your code, optimise your imagery, and get back to basics!

With a little care and attention, it’s easy to produce a dynamic, exciting website which not only adheres to correct standards and good design principles but doesn’t simply become another formulaic web presence. One or two of the elements discussed here are appropriate for certain types of website, but think carefully before incorporating them on a site which could be better served with other designs or features.

How good is your mobile site? Quick health check

mobile website, responsive design

Statistically speaking, there’s every chance you could be browsing this article on a mobile device, like almost 60% of today’s Internet users. And with on-screen real estate at a premium on mobile devices, there’s literally no room for site-design errors where tablet and smartphone access is concerned. So here are a few of the defining attributes of a mobile site to discuss with your brand design agency:

Micro Design

Simply downsizing your desktop website is not the answer, you need to modify your approach to work in the smaller environment. There’s often a need to streamline your content, you might also need to redesign navigation systems, consider the volume of copy and the size of your text. Remember too that users experience variable loading speeds and many people won’t even bother with a site that places heavy demands on mobile resources.

Touch Navigation

Unlike desktop machines, most handheld devices use touch-screen navigation, so your site must be optimised for this feature. Menus, buttons and other touch targets must be well-spaced to ensure your visitors can access the features they want, and thus give you the conversion rates you anticipate.

Searchable Solutions

Some sites cram in too much content, which can make the information you need tricky to find. If your website is an information resource that’s heavy on content, it’s far better to have a prominent search function that is highly visible and easy to access. And if it’s a ‘sticky’ menu that remains on top during scrolling, that’s even better. Having a search function can not only frees up valuable space on in your navigation, it can also save your visitors valuable time and effort.

Mobile-optimised Functionality

You will know the most common features your mobile customers are looking for. Therefore your design should aim to make these high-profile items on your site which are both unmissable and extremely easy to execute.

Review and Refine

Accommodating your mobile customers must remain a business priority, which in turn means your mobile site should be fine-tuned to behave predictably in order to serve this purpose. So, test frequently to assess cross-platform reliability, as well as speed and convenience.

The handheld digital world is moving rapidly so a digital agency represents the quickest and most efficient way to translate your real-world ideas to the small-screen digital domain.