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The Importance of Favicons – And How To Get Them Right


4th May 2020

Take a look at the Bookmarks bar in your browser. Next to the each of the websites you’ve marked to return to later, there will be a small square image. In the case of the Image+ blog, it’s our logo; a lot of sites will be similar. That’s a favicon.

The favicon also appears in the tabs within your browser – when you have multiple sites open, each tab is marked with the title of the page … and that small square image again. It’s a great visual prompt to remind you of which sites you have open, right?

The power of the favicon is in this branding and this convenience. People often have huge numbers of bookmarks and numerous browser tabs open at any one time. Your favicon helps your site stand out from this herd.

From browser history to search results, the favicon has become a ubiquitous means of associating a website with its wider brand – and giving users a quick visual cue about the sites they’re visiting. Brands are powerful when they evoke responses in users; the favicon is a way to conjure the brand associations a business has earned in a quick, clear and convenient manner.

That’s why your business needs to use them. If your website doesn’t adopt a favicon, anyone who bookmarks it or opens it in another tab, searches for it or scans through their browsing history for it, will have a harder time finding it – and that’s bad news for any business. Consider these four factors:

  1. Brand awareness. The humble favicon is a stealthy and effective brand ambassador for any business. It is shown on Google Chrome search results page, shown in tabs, shown in favourites, and even appears as on icon on mobile phones when sites are bookmarked. It can embed your brand in your users’ online experience – that’s really valuable penetration.
  2. Brand transparency and trust. Associating your logo with any online content you produce is a way of signing it, a means of signalling that your business approves the message and stands by it. That goes a long way to establishing trust. And, once that trust has been achieved, you can leverage it: your icon against any content will attract loyal users to those pages. It’s a virtual circle.
  3. User experience. Users reward brands that help them live easier lives. We’ve all been guilty of opening lots of pages and suffering from the dreaded “tab bloat”; the favicon, as small as it is, becomes in this situation an invaluable friend, letting us quickly scan a list of pages for the brands we trust. Enhancing user experience in this way will ensure that your customer base rewards you in turn.
  4. File format. You want your brand to look professional – and that means your favicon needs to be crisp. The minimum size for a favicon is sixteen pixels square. Don’t fall for this – go for high-resolution imagery that will appear bright and vibrant in every context. Most designers now favour the PNG format for favicons, but it’s by no means the only option – be aware of the file format choices ahead of you.

All this simply means that favicons are important and you need to think about them. If you have more questions about the favicon after reading this blog, then great! You should do. Drop us a line or give us a call to discuss the importance of favicons – and how to get them right!

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire, and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Call us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

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How To Enhance Your Web Design With UX Writing


20th November 2019

That hero image looks beautiful; all that video content is really exciting. And your design? Just fizzing with visual flare. That means you have everything in place, right?

Wrong. Because, despite it all, when it comes to content text still reigns supreme.

That might make us sound a bit old-fashioned, a tad old-hat. But the truth is that the humble sentence remains an information super-nova: nothing has the same power to communicate your message.

Web design is full of great new ways to deliver content, and rightly so. Online, your customers will be demanding – they want to be surprised, entertained, excited. Video and podcasts and beautiful illustrations will do that.

But your users also want to be informed. And they will still return to text to achieve that.

The key, then, is not to over-emphasise the copy on your website – but also not to over-look it. Where you can, get a professional to write it. Make it snappy and compelling. And always leave a space for it on your site.

Like every other element of web design, though, keeping in mind a few rules of thumb about text will ensure you derive the maximum benefit from your investment.

Don’t just write the first thing that comes into your head – consider it as carefully as you do the visual aspects of your site. You’ll spend hours on colourways; spend some time on the copy, too. In fact, that brings us to rule number one …

 

Rule Number One: Keep Colour Simple

When it comes to typography, it’s best to keep colours simple. While it’s good to incorporate brand colour into the page, keep your text backgrounds simple and plain.

 

Rule Number Two: Keep Content Symmetrical

Copy can be as long as necessary, within reason. But, where you present the user with side-by-side content blocks, keep the content the same length and align them correctly. It’s also important to keep content balanced with illustrations, headers, and CTAs.

 

Rule Number Three: Use Shorter Paragraphs

Keep paragraphs to around five lines as a rough guideline. And don’t place too many paragraphs one after another. Breaking up text up can help users to maintain focus on your website.

 

Rule Number Four: Be Consistent

Just as you might top and tail video content with your logo, make sure your copy has a single voice: it should read as if your brand wrote it. Users will respond to words that weave a world.

 

There you have it: keep your content concise, consistent and compelling … and your user will not just read it all, but find it useful and convincing. In other words: copy converts customers. (See what we did there?)

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

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Decision Fatigue and How It Affects Conversions


6th November 2019

We all have our limits. When it comes to making choices, we can reach them surprisingly quickly.

Each of us makes countless decisions every day, often subconsciously. Online, the choices facing us are innumerable: which sites to visit, which buttons to click, which pages to read, which forms to submit. Every single site we browse demands we make decisions – and often many of them.

This can result very quickly in what designers call ‘decision fatigue’. Simply put, this is the feeling in a user that they are having to make too many choices to justify the benefit they are deriving from engaging with a site. Once decision fatigue sets in, they are likely simply to move on.

In other words, decision fatigue affects conversion rates. It increases your ‘bounce rate’ – the number of people leaving your site too quickly – and it results in users disengaging from your onboarding process before it’s complete. This means that you don’t get their contact details, or don’t make a sale.

The good news is that there are choices you can make to reduce the likelihood that your site will cause decision fatigue in its users. There are a set of pretty easy design techniques available that make sites much easier to use – and ensures that far few active decisions are required on the part of those who visit it.

 

  1. Declutter The Navigation Menu. Decision fatigue occurs when your consumer is put in the position of choosing from an abundance of options. Aim for your visitors to quickly explore your site, find exactly what they need, and convert. When it comes to a website, a cluttered navigation menu can harm your conversion rates. Make finding content on your site simple.

 

  1. Reduce Your Promotions. Offers and promotions are excellent for enticing new customers and returning customers. However, too many can distract your converting customers. Including one or two promotions on a page is ideal so that you hold the customer’s attention. Any more and your users can begin to feel confused – even lost.

 

  1. Prioritise Content. One of the essential parts of a website is content marketing. If you offer up too much content at the same time, then customers won’t take the time to digest your information. Content should be prioritised, with the most recent or more important first or the most important information first. Use design to order your content, so that it is clear to users what they need to read.

 

  1. Include Filters and Sort Functionality. On websites with many pages or products, it’s important to offer a filter or sort feature, so that users can quickly search for what they need. Having to wade through a long list of items makes a site not just inconvenient but often unusable for users. You’ll achieve higher conversion rates if your customers can find what they want straight away.

 

In other words, reducing decision fatigue is about enhancing and streamlining content delivery. Make information and products easier and quicker to find – and the means of doing so as intuitive as possible. That will reduce the choices your users have to make – and increase the likelihood that the choices they do make will be positive for you.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

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Top Four Wireframe Tools That Web Designers Should Be Using


21st August 2019

When it comes to web design, wireframes are an essential building block of a quality end product. Why? Because they are how designers begin to map out how your site will look – its layout, navigation, content areas and menus.

Think of the wireframe like your site’s skeleton – the bones over which the skin of typefaces and animations will be stretched. Producing a solid structure at the wireframe stage will ensure that everything else flows as it should – making your project more streamlined and efficient.

What is a Wireframe?

A wireframe is pretty basic at first. It will use simple shapes to “block out” various elements of your site’s pages, making clear locations, orientations and dimensions of each aspect. You and your designer will be able to agree on this layout before all the really important work of fleshing it out.

In other words, wireframing is an essential part of any design process – not a nice-to-have bonus. That means that every designer needs tools at their fingertips that make the most of wire framing. A software that enables robust laying-out of a site at this critical formative stage.

Good news: we have a shortlist of the four best ones.

 

  1. UXPin

UXPin offers incredible speed while putting together wireframes by dragging and dropping your customizations. The software also presents updated libraries for Foundation, Bootstrap, Android, and iOS. Your wireframes will be promptly transformed into high-quality mock-ups. This software is a one-stop shop for easy, but fully-functioned, wireframing.

 

  1. Moqups

Moqups software is developed to simplify the team process of developing wireframes. It allows a number of designers to collaborate on a single project, preparing site maps, storyboards, and flowcharts. If your wireframing stage has more than one person working on it – and more than a few moving parts – Moqup can be a great way to keep track.

 

  1. Axure

Axure enables you to include specific functionality with the layout of your website, and presents an interactive design. This wireframe software offers various widgets and sitemaps, meaning you can take the bare-bones basics of a wireframe and add some extras. This is particularly useful if the site you’re working on has some spritz essentials; it helps understand and situate them within the structure from day one.

 

  1. Fluid UI

Fluid UI  is unusually ecumenical: it comprises sixteen built-in libraries for Android, Windows, iOS and other operating systems, and pages can be developed by dragging the elements from these libraries. This means that designers have access to a range of options across the major platforms, meaning that their future-proof wireframe – and thus the ensuing website – is cross-compatible from the very off.

 

Don’t neglect wireframes – they are too important to skip. And these are the top four wireframe tools that designers should be using.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

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3 UX Design Trends for 2018


21st August 2018

UX design is about ensuring your website works for your users. The interface through which each visitor to your site finds and interacts with your content and services is crucial: unless it feels and functions just right, you’ll lose users quickly and fail to make conversions.

That’s why it’s important to identify and understand the latest develops in UX design and related areas. Not because you should slavishly follow trends … but because, just as technology doesn’t stand still, so too do users’ expectations shift and change.

Keeping up to date with UX design trends ensures that your website won’t feel stale – and can continue to provide the level of service and interaction that your users increasingly expect. Matching your site’s user interface with the latest capability of devices and browsers will encourage new business and repeat visits alike.

In 2017 and into 2018, there have been some significant technological developments with the capacity to significantly alter how users interact with online content. In both websites and apps, and particularly via mobile platforms, UX is changing rapidly. There are three main strands to this transformation.

 

Voice.

The popularity of using voice in UX may signal a movement towards ‘screenless’ design. Think about interacting with Alexa or Siri – no screens need necessarily be involves. This, of course, reduces the number of touchpoints between the user and their device – and should give UX designers plenty of room to innovate and experiment.

 

Virtual Reality.

Virtual reality will only work its way into the mainstream with the help of great UX. The good news, however, is that the relationship is two-way: VR can hugely enhance UXs, to the benefit of both provider and user. Designers will need to master the art of creating more convincing – and therefore compelling – user experiences than ever before.

 

Collaboration.

Not only do UX designers need to adopt new approaches, but they also need to effectively communicate these to developers. Design and the “under the hood” coding must go hand-in-hand more than ever: when it comes to these trends, teamwork is critically important.

 

And there you have it: the shape of things right now, as well as what is to come. Make sure your site is ready, and your users properly served, by adopting these three UX design trends!

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

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5 Ways to Improve Your Landing Page Conversions


30th May 2018

Improving your landing page conversion rate is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to enhance your business’s performance online. Imagine a physical shop that was so uninspiring that, upon entering it, shoppers almost immediately left – and certainly never purchased anything. That shop wouldn’t last long, right?

You should think of your website in the same way.

Your landing page is the first block of content visitors will see when arriving at your page. It might be your homepage, or it might be a specific area of your site set up to receive specific traffic from a particular ad or email offer; whatever its precise composition, its purpose is simple: to encourage your visitors to enter your sales funnel.

Amazingly, many landing pages simply don’t do this job as well as they might. Businesses focus on great search engine optimisation, but forget that, once all those new visitors arrive, the work isn’t over: your site still needs to put its best foot forward and convince customers to engage.

Try these tips to grab your users and not let go!

 

Keep a clean layout. A cluttered layout will simply drive users away from your site. To convince your visitors, and then direct them appropriately, you need to make your calls to action – and your steps to purchase – clear and easy to understand. Your text and images should come together logically to emphasize each other and make next steps plain.

Consider your Above-The-Fold content. “Above-the-fold” is a phrase from newspapers: broadsheet-style papers appear on shelves folded, and so it’s only the content in the top half of any front page that is visible on newsstand shelves – and therefore which contributes most to sales. Likewise, the first slices of content that appear on the opening screen of a website make-or-break: they need to engage users … and keep them engaged.

Consider your language. Your copy is important – it needs to be accessible and authoritative without being hectoring. People visiting your website want to know what your product or service can do for them. Consider teaching them about your product rather than selling it to them as this allows you to build trust. Inform and entertain – the hard-sell is a turn-off.

Use social integration. Make the most of your customers’ enthusiasm for their own networks. Integrating social media on your website allows your users to share your products or services with their friends and family – and that increases everyone’s interest in your business. Provide something useful – a download or a video – that people will want to share.

Use stats on your landing page. There may lies, damned lies, and statistics – but numbers matter. Meaningful statistics are powerful proof of your customer’s satisfaction with your product or service – and your users will respond accordingly. Using your numbers responsibly in this way can build further trust with customers from the off.

First impressions matter. So think hard about these five ways to improve your landing page conversions.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

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The Benefits of “Breadcrumbs”


30th January 2018

Breadcrumbs are more useful than you think. Not only are they an essential ingredient in veggie burgers, Katsu curry and fish fingers … They can help you find your way home.

We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, who were brave enough to explore the forest … and smart enough to lay breadcrumbs along their path. In this way, they didn’t get lost – useful when you’re running away from the evil inhabitant of a sinister gingerbread house.

In web design, his story has given a name to the tokens we leave throughout a website to enable a visitor to track back through their online journey. Often breadcrumbs appear as nested page names – Home > About > Our Company, for example – which situate a user clearly with the site’s architecture. They can take other forms, however, and always the aim is simple: to help your visitor to not get lost.

This is a good function to include, especially on a site which boasts a large number of pages. Resource-heavy websites are great, but once you’ve clicked one link you’ve clicked them all – and it can be very easy to become unmoored, lost amidst all these pages and unable to find your way ‘Home’ again.

 

Why Use Site Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs – prominent indicators of where you are and how you can get back to where you were – greatly enhance the usability of a site. They make it easy to click on pages but also remain oriented; to find other content quickly, and to go back to content you found interesting once you’re done exploring.

In turn, this reduces the clicks or actions required to return to a given page – and this, too, enhances the user experience of your site. Making your content easy to navigate is a key means of making your site pleasant to use … And that will earn you return visits.

If you’re wondering why users can’t just click the “Back” button, you haven’t yet understood the power of the humble breadcrumb. Breadcrumbs aren’t just about going back: they’re about situating yourself within a site, and understanding how each of its pages relates to the others. You’ve worked hard on structuring your content – so, make that structure clear. The “Back” button alone doesn’t achieve that.

Sites without breadcrumbs don’t get read as much as sites which opt to use them. Being able to find your way home encourages browsers, like Hansel and Gretel, to explore a little deeper; if you don’t help your users to find their way, they’ll stick a little more closely to the ‘top-line’ content – and never make the most of what you’ve built for them.

In fact, sometimes they won’t even read your top-line content: sites without breadcrumbs suffer from higher bounce rates, meaning essentially that their visitors leave those sites much more quickly. Today’s internet users are savvy and impatient – if they can’t find what they want quickly and easily, they’ll go somewhere else. Breadcrumbs encourage them to stay.

In other words, think of breadcrumbs as a wayfinding system. Complex buildings often include coloured corridors and large maps to help visitors find their way around. Hardy fairytale explorers carry loaves of bread. And websites have the benefits of breadcrumbs.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

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How Psychology is Important in UX Design


9th January 2018

Psychology is important to UX design. This may not seem an immediately obvious truth since Freud or Jung might seem distant relatives of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. But all branches of design focus on the responses products will provoke. In this way, all designers are necessarily psychologists – they must understand and predict how what they build will affect their audience.

In UX and web design, a lot of this comes down to how people tend to respond to layout, typography and graphical elements. Get the mix and balance right, and your visitors will be more likely to return or become customers. Get it wrong and you’ll turn them off – they may not be able to say why, but a psychologist would.

Psychology in Colour

In what ways can a designer use psychology to improve their work, then? For starters, they can think about colour. There’s a wide range of studies concerning how humans react to colour. But as a rule, we are attracted to bright and vibrant ones. To that end, designs which feature more exciting colours will be more successful.

Likewise, men and women react differently to colour. Which gender, if either, is your primary audience? Many studies show that men are less good at discerning different shades of colour than women, while simultaneously tending to be better at tracking fast-moving objects.

Colour has other effects, too. For example, evidence shows that red or orange is most effective for boosting conversion. On the other hand, red-themed websites can also use green to achieve the same effect. A good designer knows their colour theory back to front and can get you the results you need merely through the judicious application of that knowledge.

Psychology in Text

Text, too, is important: words don’t just communicate their own meanings. Their layout will influence your site’s message, too. Take, for example paragraphing: space them out properly and users’ eyes will glide across them; put them too close together, or make each too long, and instead, those eyes will glaze over.

Too much text is a turn-off, but so is small text. At the risk of being the pot to call the kettle black, aim, for simplicity with your copy: keep things straightforward and well spaced, and your users will respond positively.

We’re used to thinking of psychology as a tool for managers and leaders, whose job is to cajole and persuade members of a team. Think of designers, too, as professional persuaders: their job is to convince your visitors to stay long enough to engage with your company.

To do that, they need to understand humans in all their complexity and quirkiness. And that’s why psychology is so important for UX design.

Contact Image Plus for Web Design

If you’re unsure about UX or need help to design your website or drop-down menu then then speak to our experts. Our Web Developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 76834780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

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Top 5 UX Design Tips for a Dropdown Menu


1st January 2018

The dropdown menu has long been a venerable entry in the web developer’s toolkit. It is so widely used because it can be terribly useful: the dropdown menu tucks away all your pages until a user hovers over a button. It frees up a lot of space for content.

Most commonly, the dropdown menu appears as a horizontal bar of navigation labels at the top of a website.  Hover over any particular label and a further submenu will appear, offering instant access to a range of pages within that category. Very often, items in that list will in turn ‘drop down’ further lists.

The trouble is that dropdown menus can also pose challenges to a savvy web developer. Because they can feature so many labels – and once collapsed take up so much space – that it can make the website look quite unappealing. Unless – that is – you follow our top tips:

  1. Make Hover States Obvious. If your dropdown menu is to work, your user needs to know where they are in it. Use colour and highlighting to make that clear.
  2. Padding Is Not A Dirty Word. You’re not a writer, or a musician making your difficult second album: don’t be afraid to pad things out. Put space between your menu’s buttons.
  3. Mark Those Sub-Menus. If one of your menu’s labels expands a further menu – a section within a section – mark it appropriately, with an arrow, a dot or other icon.
  4. Animate! Menus don’t have to be dull or static – in fact, dropdowns are so common they can become dull without a bit of subtle animation to spice up their transitions.
  5. Explore The Alternatives. Many web develops decry dropdowns – particularly if you want a responsive website for mobile devices. Look into scrolling panels and hamburgers.
  6. Consider The Click. Usually dropdown menus operate simply via hover – but depending on your application clicking to open a submenu, or to hide a menu, could make sense.
  7. Make It Seamless. There shouldn’t be any lag at all between click or hover and the appearance of your menu – it should load immediately. You owe your user slickness.
  8. Say No To Tooltips. Tooltips – those often helpful labels which appear when hovering over an item – can be good. With dropdowns, they get in the way. Eliminate them!
  9. Style Consistently. Make your menu a part of your website. It might not always be on show, but when it is give it the same fonts, colours and feel as the rest of your site.
  10. Be Ruthless With Your Content. The dropdown menu can go on forever – but that doesn’t mean it has to do so. Only have the number of pages you absolutely need.

Dropdowns have detractors. But follow theses rules of thumb and you’ll have success.

 Contact Image Plus for Usability and Website Redesign

If you’re unsure about UX or need help to design your website or drop-down menu then then speak to our experts. Our Web Developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 76834780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk

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