What Do Austin Web Developers Know?
One of the most in-demand jobs we see in Austin is for web design and development. Websites have changed over the past few years and look nothing like what they did in the past. They are cleaner, simpler and get to the point faster. While websites may look streamlined, getting them that way isn’t as easy as you might think. Skilled web designers and developers are in hot demand in Austin. They know how to bring a website to life. What’s their secret?
Zilker Partners asked our web design and development clients to give us their top five rules for modern websites. Compare their tips with your current website to see if yours hits the mark. If not, it may be time to hire your own Austin professional to get it up to par.
What Every Website Should Have
Your website is often the first thing prospective clients, partners and investors may see of your brand. It’s easy to build a website and leave it alone, assuming it’s fine the way it was built years ago and no one really cares as long as it says a little about your company. Right? Wrong. People are often searching multiple websites, comparing brands and considering the first impressions. If your website went head to head with your competition, would it stand out in a good way?
Websites may need a regular refresh as trends, tastes and design preferences change. We can look back at websites even five years ago and shake our heads. Many were bogged down with too much content, not enough interactive or graphic content, and way too many clicks required to navigate. The trend back then was to put everything you had on the website. Today, it’s all about putting just enough content out there to intrigue and entice. This is a topic for a whole other post, but in general the content should be written for humans not search engines, and needs to convey subject expertise and thought leadership. It’s a tricky balance that needs a professional touch.
The Top 5 List
1. Keep It Simple
Everything may be bigger in Texas, but Austin web developers know websites should be simple and streamlined. Time is at a premium and viewers won’t give you much of it to convey your message. According to Nielsen Norman Group, “Users often leave web pages in 10-20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer. To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.”
Ten seconds isn’t long. It requires precision. Keep your message concise and direct. Don’t ask people to scroll or click to find out what it is you do and what makes you different. Graphics, too, should be simple. Having too much is confusing. People aren’t sure where to look. Make their experience smooth, easy and satisfying by presenting your brand clearly without extra fluff.
2. Make It Intuitive
People are used to certain things. They expect a top-bar navigation. They want to be able to navigate without having to go backward or click on multiple pages to find what they need. Give them breadcrumbs on every page so they can see where they’ve been. Include contact information on every page. Don’t offer too many pages. Make each navigation option understandable even before they’ve clicked on it.
By making the viewer’s journey logical, you ensure they don’t waste those precious seconds trying to figure out where to go or worse, frustrate them by making their navigation complicated. The natural flow of your website should get them to where they want to be quickly and they experience a more pleasant journey along the way. It’s okay to lead your viewers in the direction you want them to go, but make sure it is organic and agreeable.
3. Focus on One Thing
Website designers in Austin consistently tell their clients to focus on a single theme, message and value proposition. You want your viewers to know within a second or two what it is that your company does and why it should matter to them. This means putting that messaging front and center at the top of your homepage so it’s the first thing they see. In essence, this valuable piece of real estate is where you give your elevator pitch in only a few words.
As the viewer scrolls or navigates to different pages, that core messaging from the top of your homepage should resonate. You may be saying different things on each page, but the theme from the homepage lays the foundation for everything else. Your messaging may build upon itself but never loses sight of who you are and why you exist.
4. Maintain Consistency
Think of your website as a continuous story about your company, product or service. Every page should be aligned so no matter where your viewer lands, they see a consistent palette and read consistent messaging. Choose keywords you want them to remember about your brand and use them throughout your website. Keep the same tone of writing throughout. Use the same fonts and typefaces. Choose a color scheme and stick with it across every page.
Don’t let the consistency fool you. Austin web designers make each page unique in its layout while still using the same colors, fonts and tone. For instance, a homepage layout should look different from navigational landing pages. You want the viewer to recognize they are on a different page while appreciating they are on the same website. There is an art to this balance and precisely why a strong web designer is so valuable.
5. Ensure Responsiveness
According to Pew Research, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, nearly 75 percent own a desktop or laptop and 50 percent own a tablet computer. Website developers in Austin are quick to recommend a responsive website that will automatically position itself well on any device. That means the developer ensures every page of your website looks similar across every device.
This does not mean your website will appear identical a smartphone and a desktop computer. It does mean, however, that the viewer has a similar experience. They can easily find navigation options, images are consistent even though they may be positioned differently, and call to actions are prominent. They should be able to find what they need quickly without too much scrolling, clicking or hovering. The website is clean, streamlined and enjoyable from one device to another, optimized by companies like Mobile 1st.
Updating your website doesn’t have to be hard. Hire an Austin web designer to get your website where it needs to be to impress today’s viewer. Austin is full of talented web developers who understand both form and function. They can take you from ho-hum to wow without making things complicated. Updating your website is a great investment with a high rate of return.