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BLOG: Build it visually, and they will come

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Blog: Build it visually, and they will come

AKRON (April 7, 2015)  Not all that glitters is gold, but all that glitters is prettier.

I had a conversation with a friend last week about how she loves pictures online that are big, even if the art doesn’t fit into the space.

I teased her a bit because I love web design. And to me, that’s a sign that a site isn’t functioning properly.

I like to look at everything on a website as a puzzle piece, and I enjoy determining a hierarchy for where things should go and in what order. But therein comes a trap. I work so hard to determine where things go and to find an orderly relationship between everything that sometimes I feel too married to the design.

It’s detrimental if I get so married to the design of a website that I don’t listen to the suggestions of others, or worse, if I get offended that my neatly ordered website needs changes.

So I try to take a step back and learn about what’s trending and what predictions are made for site design.

The feedback from my friend was a nice reminder that people like what they like. It’s not all about site design. People’s preferences play an important role in what visual elements work, which videos are viewed and which are ignored. Sometimes dressing something up with glitter can help show off how important it is and help make it more appealing to the user.

Images, video, vlogs and other visual elements are still very popular in website design. Online users only give a website a few seconds for a first impressions. Instant gratification is the phrase I have written on my wall to help me focus on improving TireBusiness.com.

That’s why images are becoming so prevalent on our website and other sites. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then it’s a better use of space to catch someone’s attention.

Visual elements also help to direct a website visitor to where you want them. I like to think about it as a treasure map. Place photos to help show them what the big news of the day is, or the most popular.

Blog posts changed the way people communicated in their writing. Then Facebook shorted the updates and information and made it even more first-hand accounts. Twitter shorted it to 140 characters. And videos allowed less reading and more visual stimulation.

Communicating online is important, but doing it in varied visual ways to appeal to each user is imperative. 

Images also help sharing on social media because the images will pull into the post. On some social media sites, posts actually are more likely to be seen if accompanied by an image.

So as you browse our new responsive website design, take a look at the images and let us know if you have any suggestions, notice anything or if you have general comments. Share your thoughts about our use of images and other visual elements.

Email online manager Alaina Scott at ascott@crain.com with your feedback. 

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