Portfolio Landing Page

 

A portfolio highlights your best work. No matter what type of business you own, designs you create or photographs you take, it’s a personal calling card that shows what makes you unique. However, figuring out the best placement for your portfolio isn’t always easy. Obviously, you want it linked to from your landing and home page, but do you use thumbnails, sliders, full images or what?

 

Around 96% of site visitors aren’t yet ready to make a purchase. Your job is to convince them they can’t possibly live without what you have to offer. Showing off some of your best work is one way of engaging them and showing them what you might be able to do for them. Fortunately, there are several ways of incorporating your portfolio on the landing page without being too spammy about it.

 

1. Add a Slider


Some experts will say sliders are yesterday’s news, and you shouldn’t use them. However, with internet speeds faster than ever before, a slider is a nice way to highlight some of your best work without taking up a lot of space. Placing it at the top also shows site visitors that this is one of the most important elements on your landing page. Keep a few things in mind when creating sliders, such as how they appear to mobile users and limiting the number of screens, so the user isn’t overwhelmed with an endless sliding loop.

 

 

Tom Peters Art naturally lends itself to sharing images from paintings in a slider. When you land on the site, you see a slide that goes through several different pictures. From time to time, the offerings change based on the season or newer work. The slider and thus a few key offerings from the portfolio are the main focus of the page.

 

2. Use Thumbnails


If you want to give users a quick taste of what you have to offer, you could also add a few thumbnails of your best work and a CTA button inviting them to view your complete portfolio. When choosing thumbnails, look for images that translate well in a smaller size. You should also vary the type of thing you show. For example, if you are a photographer, you might want to highlight studio work and outdoor shots along with a few black and white images.

 

3. Make Images Clickable


When you share pictures of your work, make sure they are clickable so they take the user where you’d like them to go. If you show a product package you designed, make the picture clickable to a page of other examples or information on how to get in touch with you to create a unique design. Another option is making any photos go to the full online portfolio so the user has a chance to see more of your work.

 

However, ideally, the user takes an action that leads them to become a customer. Think about how clicking on the image creates a unique call to action (CTA) of its own and where the person goes next in the buyer’s journey.

 

usashade

 

USA Shade makes each of the images highlighting its shades clickable so users can get more information both on how they are used and how to purchase their own. For example, the first image in the slideshow is of the YETI corporate campus. The portfolio picture becomes a case study when you click on the link and it explains the uses of the shade and the size and style of the wing structure. A CTA button reads “Products in Use,” and a second one reads “Contact Us.”

 

4. Include a Logo and Tagline


Even though your goal for a landing page might be simply to highlight a specific type of work you do, you should still include a logo and tagline. It’s important to brand your business and not focus too much on a single project or image. While a portfolio highlights your best work, your brand is what shows you’re capable of continuing similar items and creating custom projects. Your logo and tagline should show clearly what you do and be memorable, so users keep you in mind when they need what you offer.

 

5. Show Different Sides


A popular trend in websites this year is showing dual sides of a brand personality. You can easily do this while highlighting your portfolio. Split the page in half and show each type of work you do with images and descriptions. Use grids to break up the different types of projects you do, with pictures that are highly relevant to what you’re trying to showcase.

 

breather

 

Breather offers office space for small-business owners. It shows the different types of workspaces by placing two images side by side. It shows locations for a few hours of work or some of the benefits of leasing for a longer term. Depending upon the user’s needs, they are taken to additional information on available space when clicking on the image. For example, they discover monthly options that offer high-speed W-Fi, cleaning, furniture and no long-term commitments. They also find out what locations are available and see additional portfolio images.

 

6. Place in Nav Bar


Another simple way of incorporating your portfolio is by placing a tab in your navigation bar that says “portfolio” or “examples.” This allows you to guide users to it no matter which page they land on. It might not be as fancy as adding sliders or a video, but it is a practical way of keeping the information available on every landing page, home page and subpage on your website.

 

Test Placement


Put your portfolio images and links in different locations on your landing pages. Conduct split testing to see where it performs best. You can track performance through clicks and heat maps, seeing where users spend the most time on the page and which links they click on. If your portfolio is performing poorly, try moving images or links to a new location on your landing page and see if that helps improve conversions.

 

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

manufacturing website design

 

If your manufacturing business caters to people from different corners of the globe, a multilingual website quickly becomes a must-have. However, it’s not always easy to create such a site. Some countries read from left to right and others from right to left. You may not be as familiar with the written language as the spoken language and worry that automated translation programs will lose meaning in the language change.

 

Emerging countries are growing at a rapid pace of about 3.27 percent, which means more and more companies should prepare for business with countries such as China, India, Brazil and Russia. Of course, which languages your users speak and read in may vary widely, depending upon what you make. Creating a multilingual website takes time and preparation. The last thing you want to do is offer a translation that isn’t correct and frustrates your international customers.

 

There are several steps to creating a multilingual website that works. Knowing how to proceed helps you avoid the pitfalls along the way. Here are some easy ways of getting your website up and running in more than one language.

 

1. Know Who Your Customers Are


Translating a website isn’t always inexpensive, and although widgets are a viable option (more on this below), they don’t always work perfectly. Your best bet is to offer your site in multiple languages and hire a professional translator. Because linguists don’t come cheap, it’s important to know who your target customer is and what country or countries order from you most frequently. You should first offer a translation in the language of the countries doing business with you often. You can always add additional languages or a widget for others as your budget allows.

 

Manufacturing Website

 

LDR Medical recently had a name change, but are still controlled by LDR Holdings. The company’s website asks for you to “Choose Your Region” so they can get to know their site visitors better and deliver an experience in the person’s native language and related to their needs locally. As a seller of innovative medical equipment, products and needs may vary from continent to continent.

 

2. Remember Typography


Languages with a lot of characters or longer words may take up more room than a website in another language. When you’re offering options, keep in mind that automated tools that translate the page may also create an unreadable mess. Since many users now access the Internet via their mobile devices, an extremely long headline might not translate well in another language and become unreadable on a smaller screen. Even if your budget only allows you to use a widget to automatically translate your pages, pull them up in each language and look the page over for visual aesthetics.

 

3. Make Options Easy to Locate


If someone from another country lands on your manufacturing page, they won’t be able to read the initial language if they don’t speak it. Make sure language options are easy to locate, so users don’t stumble around trying to figure out where to go. If the user gets too frustrated, they will likely leave your page and head to a competitor instead.

 

Manufacturing Website Design

 

IDC Spring uses Google Translate to offer the site in both English and Spanish. The bar for choosing the language is located right at the top of the page. A user doesn’t have to look hard to find the the language option of their choice, but the page defaults if the person’s location aligns with that language.

 

4. Mirror Your Site Layout


If you’re offering a translation into a language that reads right to left from one that reads left to right, then it’s a good idea to mirror your entire layout. When you originally designed your website, you likely laid it out to draw the user’s eye in the reading pattern for that language. However, someone who reads in the opposite direction needs the mirrored layout if you still want the placement to be effective. Not flipping the elements on your page can result in reduced conversion rates and fewer clicks on your call to action (CTA) buttons.

 

5. Use Website Translation Services


Can’t afford a translator to revamp your entire site? There are some language translation options you can use which allow you to translate your site. You may want tohire a native speaker then to complete some light edits and ensure the words flow smoothly, but you’ll save money not paying them to translate from scratch. You could simply use Google Translate, but it is notoriously off much of the time, especially for large blocks of text. Instead, try a service such as Bablic and let a computer translate the text for you.

 

Manufacturing

 

HMT Tank offers their site in both Spanish and English. A user chooses a language from the menu at the top and all the options on the page change to that language. Since both Spanish and English are left to right languages, the layout of the site remains the same, including the background images. The only change is in the text itself. Spanish words are sometimes longer than English words, so note how they keep headlines short enough to accommodate both languages easily.

 

6. Widgets and Plugins


You can add a widget, such as Google Translate or a plugin via WordPress to help translate your site into another language. This is a good option if you’re on a tight budget, but be aware that translations can be off and may confuse your users a bit. As soon as you can afford, you should invest in a translator to help you improve your translation and make your site a better experience for your global users.

 

A Global Economy


The world is becoming more connected when it comes to business. As manufacturers gain customers from other countries and do business with suppliers all over the world, multilingual websites will become even more important. Gear up for the coming growth by getting your site ready now, and you can take advantage of your expanded customer base in the next five to 10 years.

 

Author

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

Building-Responsive-Email-Designs

 

As mobile devices are getting more and more popular with each passing day, it has become incumbent upon the marketer to build responsive email designs to cater to the mobile users. Designing responsive emails has become a must if you want to create a pleasant experience for the subscribers. An email newsletter can render well in the inbox on the desktop, but if not coded properly, it can lead to small fonts, narrow columns, and broken layout in mobile devices.

 

That said, let us first understand the difference between scalable, fluid, and responsive email designs.

 

Scalable Email Design


Scalable email design usually includes a single column layout scalable for all devices, large, attention-grabbing text, and clear, clickable call-to-action buttons.

 

Fluid Email Design


Percentage-based sizing is used to build fluid email designs. Such designs automatically adjust the table width and image size according to the screen of the device. This format is suitable for brands who are amenable to extra whitespace around the email copy.

 

Responsive Email Design


Responsive email designs allow the marketers to send email templates that adjust according to the size of the screen they are viewed on.

 

Of all these formats, responsive email design is generally recommended as these emails ensure correct rendering irrespective of the device.

 

Advantages of Responsive Email Designs


With responsive emails, you have the privilege to perform the actions as enlisted below:

 

  1. Change hierarchy and navigation
  2. Enlarge fonts
  3. Modify the color combination
  4. Change the layout
  5. Scale images
  6. Add padding
  7. Change or hide content

 

Responsive emails have a better-structured template that lets you save time in designing it. You only need to edit few lines of code rather than designing new tables and layout every time.

 

How to design a responsive email?


 

1. Focus on short subject lines and smart preheaders

 

Responsive email is not just limited to the email copy. Your subject line and preheaders should be drafted in such a way that the mobile users can easily comprehend the email message.

 

2. Have a single column layout

 

Using a single column layout makes it more convenient to read the content because of less shifting and moving.

 

3. Maintain the right font size

 

13- or 14-pt is the optimum font size for the body text while 20-pt should be used for the titles. Doing so will ensure better readability on the small screen. Add line breaks at every 60 characters in your plain text emails so that it becomes more legible.

 

4. Follow a visual hierarchy

 

Place the most important information at the top followed by the moderately important part and the important part. By following this practice, your readers will be able to read the most important content without having to scroll. An effective practice is to place all the important content in an “F-shaped” pattern. Readers are likely to read the headline first and then the text placed at the side and lastly the middle portion of the copy.

 

Take a look at the example below:

 

 

5. Use hyperlinks appropriately

 

It is advisable to refrain from using hyperlinks and particularly having a couple of hyperlinks together. Have you ever attempted to tap on one link and ended up selecting another one that was just adjacent to it? Annoying, isn’t it? To make sure that your subscribers do not have to face this, use a large and easily tappable button of 44x44px as recommended by Apple.

 

6. Include smaller and responsive images

 

Smaller and responsive images help to ensure that it does not hamper the loading speed of the email. Size the images correctly so that there is no squishing or stretching.

 

Also, do not forget to add suitable Alt-text to cater to the subscribers who have images turned off in their email clients. Such emails are accessible to all the subscribers including the ‘specially abled’ who are taking help of screen readers or other assistants to view your email.

 

If your subscribers are mostly using Apple devices, it is advisable to use retina images. It will help you create highly visual as well as light-weight emails.

 

7. Have ample white space in the email

 

Mobile screens are smaller in size which makes it imperative to avoid clutter and have enough white space in the email. This will impart a neater look to the email and the subscriber will be able to grasp the message.

 

8. Test your email ALWAYS

 

Litmus and Email on Acid are two most popular email testing tools that let you know how the email will appear in your subscriber’s inbox. It is an easy and quick method to avoid any rendering issues on mobile devices.

 

9. Coding a Responsive Email (with Media Queries)

 

The foundation of responsive email lies on media queries. Media queries are fundamentally a stylesheet placed within a stylesheet.

 

To create such emails, the media query’s styles should be nested in the <style> tag.

 

<style type=”text/css”>

.standardCSS{

color:# f5afad

font-size:12px;

}

 

@media only screen and (max-width:600px){

.mediaQueryCSS{

color:#f1c319;

font-size:24px;

}

}

</style>

 

@media only screen and (max-width:480px){

 

The opening is @media at-rule, followed by a keyword. Here, ‘only’ works as the keyword which limits the display of the media query styles to the specified media type. Next, the media type is set. Generally, ‘screen’ and ‘print’ are used as media types. They provide various style rules for displays and printers respectively. Media type is followed by another keyword ‘and’. It ends with the ‘media feature’.

 

Several media features are available, but the most important ones are max-width and max-device-width.

 

The feature max-width measures the space available in the browser, while the feature max-device-width considers the screen size of the device.

 

Inline Styles and Media Queries


As media query styles are not default styles and work on a trigger, it is not recommended to inline it. Therefore, you should inline the normal CSS and the media query CSS should override the styles on being triggered.

 

As inline styles possess the maximum specificity in the cascade, you should mark each media query style rule with !important declaration.

 

<style type=”text/css”>

.standardCSS{

color:#f5afad;

font-size:20px;

}

 

@media only screen and (max-width:600px){

.mediaQueryCSS{

color:#f1c319 !important;

font-size:24px !important;

}

}

</style>

 

Media query styles can be left in the <head> of your email because email clients supporting media queries do not strip out the <head> or <style> portion.

 

Coding a Responsive Email Without Media Queries


Some of the new email apps mushrooming in the digital marketplace do not support media queries. Moreover, the screen sizes of devices are different for mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other digital devices. A responsive email created by stacking <td> might not work in certain email clients on iOS or some of the native email apps on older Android versions. All these challenges made it incumbent upon the email developers to create a responsive email without any media queries.

 

The two frameworks that can help you in building beautiful responsive emails are Zurb and MJML. While HTML codes are lengthy and time-consuming, these frameworks make the task of coding responsive emails faster and easier.

 

Advanced Tricks to Create Responsive Emails


  • It is a great idea to use innovative pixel art and highlight the alt tags. However, scale the pixel art for smaller devices.

Here’s an example of Lego.

 

 

  • To create an attractive information hierarchy, you can use accordions and stack up content-heavy emails. It will not only make your emails interactive but also enhance the subscriber engagement. The highlight of this element is that you can track which section garners the maximum subscriber attention.
  • Refrain from adding full-blown navigation bard in the email. Instead, you can add menus in the email and make the navigation more intuitive.
  • Stick to web-safe fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Times New Roman, and Georgia. If you are using attractive typography, do not forget to add an appropriate fallback that matches the custom fonts.
  • Design your emails using one or two colors. Cleaner email designs always have fewer colors. After all, monochrome emails can look attractive too.

 

Wrapping Up


Taking a “mobile first” approach is of paramount importance as most of your subscribers are opening the emails on their mobile devices. A bonus tip is to have a checklist to offer a flawless experience to every subscriber irrespective of the device they use.

 

The tips shared here will surely help you in designing responsive emails that will be compatible with every device and look good on all screens.

 

Do you have any other tips to share? We would love to hear from you.

 

Author Bio:

 

Chintan is Head of Operations at InboxArmy LLC. He has been into email marketing domain from last 7 years. Chintan is connected to InboxArmy, a professional email marketing agency that specializes in providing advanced email marketing services from email production to deployment. Chintan’s success track record covers building email programs at competitive email marketing pricing and using data-driven strategies to turn around underperforming accounts. For more information please visit https://www.inboxarmy.com.

Hiring Website Designer

 

Hiring a great website designer isn’t cheap, but the investment is more than worth it. A website can do many things for your company, and it works as a hub for all your online marketing efforts. It’s the focal point of your brand, and will offer your potential online customers their first opinion of your company. Mess these things up, and the results are a lot of lost customers.

 

Unfortunately, not all website designers are equal – and sometimes, companies can even found themselves scammed by someone who never intended to do the job in the first place. So how can companies be certain they are hiring the right person – a REAL person? Watch for these four warning signs.

 

1. No Portfolio


Even an amateur website design company should have a portfolio of some kind. It might only contain a few websites that were designed for friends or school projects (for those who have just graduated schooling). Seasoned professionals will have dozens of designs in their portfolio. Take note that some portfolios are only available on request, but the website should clearly state that.

 

If you go to hire a website designer and there is no portfolio, it can only mean one of two things. Either they have no web design experience, or else they are simply trying to scam you out of your hard earned money.

 

2. No Website


A website designer without a website is a big warning sign. This is literally what they do for a living, and their own website should be an amazing representation of what they can do. This, along with the all-important portfolio discussed above, is a web designer’s visual resume. Without it, companies are unable to tell what the designer can actually do. Even if they end up being legitimate, having no website tells you that they don’t take pride in their work or care enough to show instead of tell.

 

3. No Social Media


Professionals these days have to have a presence on social media to be relevant. This doesn’t mean that they need to have thousands of followers on all the most popular social media sites, but they should have at least one active account – two is preferred. This shows that the professional is dedicated to their work, and wants to be available to potential clients. It also helps to prove they are a real web designer.

 

4. No Obvious Pricing System


Many website designers choose to not publish their pricing schedule on their website but should be able to produce a pricing system on request. In certain situations or design items cost extra money, this should be noted. Without an obvious pricing system, you could end up paying a lot more at the end of the project than your original budget.

 

Alternatively, some companies might offer quotes on a per-case basis. If this is the case, then the company should be willing to produce a contract stating the exact amount. This is the only safe alternative to an obvious pricing system.

Motion Graphics

 

Digital technology has advanced more in the last 10 years than anyone might have imagined. Trends emerge every year, and some stay while others flop. One trend that’s been around a while now is the use of motion graphics, where designs combine elements such as beautiful typography, images and video, and create movement that is realistic and animated at the same time.

 

The average motion designer makes $62,000 per year. Adding motion design to your resume seems like a smart move, especially for freelancers who work fewer hours and make about $3,000 more per year than their company-employed counterparts.

 

In addition to the potential for higher earnings, adding motion graphics benefits your designs and your clients in a number of ways. There are many advantages of using motion graphics in your designs.

 

1. Retain Users


By 2020, 80 percent of all online traffic will be people watching videos. When you stop and think about the billions of people online, with the vast majority of them viewing videos, the choice of enhancing your website with this emerging trend makes sense.

 

When you add motion graphics to your videos and on your website, visitors instantly engage with the site upon landing there. Your bounce rate will likely go down, and users are more likely to pay attention to your message.

 

wide sky trailer

 

The trailer for the video game “Wide Sky” uses motion graphics to illustrate some of what the game is about. The technique grabs the user’s interest because the background appears authentic while the motion graphics look animated. The use of animation lends a fun tone to any website or video. Since the video promotes a game, it makes sense to keep it fun and whimsical through the use of animation.

 

2. Create Brand Consistency


One of the most important parts of branding is creating a cohesive message users identify with your company. You likely have a presence across many different platforms, both online and off. Adding branding to each of those elements isn’t an easy task. However, with your videos, you can easily share motion graphics with your logo and brand name in the same spot and with the same style in every video you release.

 

3. Capture User Attention


Motion graphics don’t always have to appear in a long video. Smaller elements, such as a moving logo or other moving pieces on a website page, grab user attention and set your site apart from your competitors. You can also make just a portion of your logo moveable and leave other elements static. Apply the concept to any part of your site where you wish to draw user attention.

 

supershuttle

 

SuperShuttle adds motion graphics to its website and captures user attention from the moment site visitors land on the homepage. A shuttle looks as though it is driving as the background changes and the van passes various buildings and trees. The effect is simple but striking.

 

Designers should pay attention to the way the logo grabs attention but should also ensure it loads quickly. Vital motion graphics must be optimized for all types of devices. If the moving parts stall or crash a mobile device, they aren’t sufficient for half or more of your audience.

 

4. Educate Your Audience


When people see and hear information, they are much more likely to retain the facts. The human brain processes images faster than words, so motion graphics get your point across much more efficiently than words alone. Picture elements of an infographic that fly in as a spokesperson explains the mission of your brand. The viewer is much more likely to retain the information than without visual illustrations.

 

5. Tell a Story


Around 79 percent of people skim over what they see on the internet rather than reading in depth. You’re competing with thousands upon thousands of other companies clamoring for notice. When you tell a story, though, you connect with people on an emotional level, and suddenly they stop and listen.

 

apple watch

 

This Apple Watch video tells the story of what the product does for the user. Motion graphics highlight some of the features of the watch face and add bright colors to highlight the narrator’s words. Designers should take note that the motion graphics used in the video highlight the product and draw attention to the words from the script.

 

6. Repurpose Motion Graphics Videos


One of the most significant benefits of motion graphics used in videos is repurposing the potential of videos. Since so many people watch videos online, adding your engaging clips to social media sites or sending out a video in an email engages users and encourages sharing with others.

 

Social media posts with videos get shared more frequently than those with text only. Educate or entertain your audience, and they’re likely to tell others about what you’re doing.

 

Gear up for Motion


Adding motion graphics to your website doesn’t have to involve a lot of time or money. Start small with your logo or a moving element in an infographic. Then, as you find what works with your particular target audience, move to more extended content such as videos with motion graphics.

 

Motion graphics are another tool every design professional should have. With the addition of animated elements, your website will stand out from others and become more engaging and shareable.

 

Author

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

CX With Your Live Chat

 

What do your customers want? Figuring out the answer to this question gives you an edge over the competition and develops an ongoing relationship with your clientele.

 

People like live chat more than other methods of reaching out for customer service. One study found 42 percent of users prefer live chat even over email communication.

 

However, if your live chat isn’t up to par, the customer experience suffers. Live chat is one way to improve your overall CX, but only if you offer a usable and functioning live chat. Here are eight key ways of creating optimal CX through a live chat that meets consumer needs.

 

1. Understand Why Consumers Like Live Chat


First, you must understand the reasons consumers like live chat. A recent study showed over 80 percent of people are satisfied with live chat as a form of customer service. Live chat offers an instant and personal level of communication not available via email. People hate using phone-in customer service, though, because they inevitably wind up going through multiple computerized prompts or reaching someone challenging to understand or not informed about customer service policies.

 

Live chat offers an opportunity for instant answers and a resolution to a problem without the aggravation of telephone prompts or the wait time of email correspondence.

 

Xfinity

 

Xfinity, which is owned by Comcast, offers live chat via its website. One thing it does that’s effective is offering different categories, depending upon what you need help with. Categorizing questions allows the company to guide consumers to an agent who can be of help, such as tech support for new customers trying to hook up equipment.

 

2. Choose the Right Placement


You have a few short seconds when a visitor lands on your page to grab their interest and keep it. If the visitor lands on your page with a question and can’t find an easy answer, you risk losing them to a competitor. Place your live chat in an area that is easy to find and draws the eye. Most sites place the chat feature in the lower right or over in the sidebar, so this is a natural place for customers to look for help.

 

Consider the other elements surrounding your live chat button, too. Is there enough white space, so the live chat feature stands out? Make sure the color pops, highlighting the feature and drawing the eye.

 

3. Personalize the Experience


Even if you use a chatbot, make sure you create a personalized experience for the user. If a live agent answers questions, give that person a name, and if possible, share a photo. Greet the person by name if possible and personalize the experience by repeating the question back and using the name and details for that specific customer.

 

 

KBG Injury Law offers a live chat on its main screen with an image of one of the lawyers. The button lives in the lower right of the screen above the fold. When you click on the live chat, a box pops up, and you learn the name of the agent you’re speaking with and are greeted immediately.

 

4. Chat 24/7


About 51 percent of consumers expect businesses to answer questions around the clock. Live chat gives you an opportunity for meeting this need, but only if you have well-trained agents that can answer basic questions and solve problems. Even though availability is important, poor experience with customer service in any form isn’t acceptable. If you can’t adequately staff your live chat 24/7, then only offer it during business hours.

 

5. Separate Pain Points


Identify your typical audience’s pain points. For example, one consumer might need one solution and a different consumer another. Separate your live chat channels and the agents who cover them accordingly, so customer service reps are trained sufficiently in the area they cover.

 

fitbit

 

Fitbit separates its live chat sections according to issues its customers might experience, which gives it an opportunity to thoroughly verse live agents on those topics. Well-trained agents have an immediate answer for potential and current customers, improving the user experience. They ask you to choose a product and an issue. They then route your chat session to the agent best trained in how to help you solve your problem.

 

6. Improve Customer Satisfaction


Studies show that a live chat improves customer satisfaction. In one survey, researchers found phone-in customers had only a 44 percent satisfaction rate, but live chat customers had a 73 percent satisfaction rate. Of course, this varies depending upon how well your live chat meets customers’ needs and hits the other points in this article. However, simply adding a live chat improves customer experiences.

 

7. Respond Immediately


People expect an immediate response via live chat. Imagine you’re a customer and you land on a business website. You have a question before you place an order. You don’t want to wait days for a response or bother with picking up a telephone. Instead, you just hop onto live chat and ask your question.

 

Businesses can nail user experience at that moment by offering fast and thorough help via the live screen. Users shouldn’t have to wait for a response but get an immediate answer. A bot answers basic questions that get asked frequently, and customer service reps answer everything else. Even if you have a 24/7 live chat, users grow frustrated if they have to wait a long time before connecting to a live agent.

 

federal student aid

 

Federal Student Aid offers live chat and does something a bit different that is very user-friendly. It starts a countdown timer of how long it will be before your chat agent appears. It also asks basic questions while you’re waiting, such as what your name is. This gives the agent a moment to prepare for the chat session but seems like an immediate response to the user.

 

8. Measure Performance


Test your live chat frequently, measuring the time it takes to respond, how on-target responses are and the performance of live agents. Internal analytics show how many customers who engage with live chat wind up making a purchase, but also poll regular customers and find out if there are any areas in your live chat you should improve.

 

Strive for Small Improvements

Strong CX makes your site stand out and keep loyal customers returning time and time again. While you might not be able to implement every technique at one time, strive for small improvements to your live chat. Make one or two changes and see how those elements work before moving on.

 

 

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

Keep Website Visitors

 

Just as it’s important to focus your efforts on the things that make good web design better – informative content, high-quality photos, and an easy-to-use interface, it’s also important to think about the things your website visitors don’t want to see. If your bounce rate seems higher than it should be, but you can’t figure out why, there’s a good possibility that your website contains one or more of the five faux pas below.

 

#1 – Bad Overall Design


Once upon a time, getting to the first page of Google search results was as simple as inserting a few keywords into your website content. These days, though, things are far more complex. In fact, Google will rank your website based on its overall design – and so will your visitors. There are several things that might add to a bad design, and they include:

 

  • Lack of responsiveness – This occurs when your website isn’t as visually appealing or doesn’t work as fluidly on different types of screens.
  • Poor color selection – If you choose colors that are too bright, or if you put too many contrasting colors in the same place, this may aggravate visitors and cause them to bounce.
  • Bold, loud patterns – Though patterns are fine for backgrounds, it’s important to choose patterns that don’t overwhelm the visitors.
  • Poorly sized elements – Having a header that is too big, text that is too small or doesn’t wrap around images properly, and similar issues will cause frustration, too.
  • Bad fonts – Your font needs to fit your overall web design. If it’s too big or bold, it will likely annoy visitors, and if it’s too light or thin, they will struggle to read it.

 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your website content’s quality while forgetting about its overall design. The biggest goal here is to make sure that it welcomes visitors without overwhelming them.

 

#2 – Bad or Misleading Navigation


In today’s world of fast internet and instant digital gratification, ensuring that your website operates the way it should is crucial. If a visitor can’t get to the information he or she needs within three clicks, it could be a deal-breaker. After all, why should visitors search endlessly for information on your website when they can easily find it from one of your competitors?

 

To combat this, make sure your website is easy to navigate and that users can get virtually anywhere in three clicks or less. Make sure photos and banners do not mislead your visitors, and clearly label your buttons with instructions like “Click Here” or “Buy Now”. Finally, be sure that your main navigation links are tucked neatly inside a menu rather than scattered across the website.

 

#3 – Poorly Structured Content


Content is still king when it comes to creating an excellent website that visitors will love. Unfortunately, many people continue to make simple mistakes that are causing their visitors to bounce and affecting their overall rankings. In order to ensure that your content is structured as optimally as possible, make sure that you avoid the following:

 

  • Too much content – Review your site’s existing content and remove any information that does not serve a direct purpose. It is better to have shorter, more informative content than to have a lot of content that doesn’t really serve a purpose.
  • Failing to introduce the website – When someone first lands on your site, they will want some sort of reassurance that they will find exactly what they searched for. Be sure that you include some sort of introduction for each piece of content that succinctly explains what visitors will find on that page.
  • Showing old content before new content – Dynamic content is your best friend (and Google eats it up) so be sure that you’re showing visitors your newest content at all times.
  • Straying from the point – Finally, if you include irrelevant information just to get some keywords in, you’ll end up confusing visitors. Avoid “fluff” at all costs and make sure that the information on the page all serves the same purpose.
  • Failing to include localized content – The focus on local content is huge, and Google has adjusted its algorithms to suit this. People want what they want, and they often want it now, so make sure that you’ve optimized for local keywords if this applies to you.

 

Statistics show that companies can lose up to 60% of their sales when visitors struggle to find what they were originally looking for. Keeping your content properly structured will help you avoid this.

 

#4 – Too Many Effects


When people visit your site, they want to be in control of their experience, so if you’ve considered the idea of videos set to auto-play or background music to help set a tone, you may want to think again. People find it aggravating when they are searching for information only to be interrupted by a video or background music they don’t like. If you’re going to use videos, allow the visitor to decide whether they want to watch it – don’t force it on them.

 

Photos are a great alternative to videos in many cases, and they load far faster, which improves your site’s response time – especially on mobile devices. If your site’s visuals are well-designed and appropriately placed (and sized!) they can go a long way toward giving your visitors a pleasant, memorable experience without the need for background music or videos set to auto-play.

 

#5 – Overwhelming Ads


Getting a small business off the ground can be tough, and online ads are indeed a phenomenal way to help you generate a little extra income to keep things moving forward. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an ad on your site here and there, there is a limit. Everyone finds ads annoying to a degree, but if they are intrusive and interfere with your visitors’ experiences on your site, your bounce rate will undoubtedly skyrocket.

 

To combat this, make certain that your visitor does not see an ad before anything else on your site. Avoid pop-up ads where possible, and if you choose to use them, make sure they are easy enough for your visitors to close. Finally, if you have an entire sidebar filled with advertisements, there’s a pop-up on every single page, or there’s more than one pop up on any given page, there are far too many ads on your site and your visitors are almost certainly frustrated.

 

Focusing on good web design is crucial, and part of that involves truly critiquing your site to discover what might be putting users off. By going over your site carefully and keeping these five common mistakes in mind, you can discover what’s been increasing your bounce rate, resolve it, and start climbing the rankings once again.

Client Testimonials

 

Client testimonials are one of the most powerful forms of promotion. People are much more likely to listen to the thoughts of someone they consider a peer than what your company has to say about your own service or product. Testimonials lend credibility to your site and show your focus on customer service.

 

About 88 percent of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. Adding testimonials to your website adds credibility and a level of trust.

 

You can highlight client testimonials in many different ways. Here are eight things to consider, along with some examples of sites using testimonials in powerful ways.

 

1. Ask for Testimonials


Your first step is gathering client testimonials. Simply ask your current clients if they’d be willing to write a testimonial for you. Have a few guidelines in place, but remember that you can always take too many words and edit them down, so don’t limit your clients if they want to sing your praises.

 

Have a few sample client testimonials on hand and share them with those who agree to provide you with one. Gather as many different types of testimonials as possible.

 

2. Design the Testimonial


If the client offers a testimonial, they may send you a rough draft of what they’d like to say. A great testimonial focuses on a specific product or example of excellent service. Narrow down the focus by asking the client specific questions about situations you know they’ve faced with your company. For instance, if you have a resolved customer service complaint and the client is now your best customer, ask them to tell the story of how your company fixed their problem.

 

The focus of the testimonial should be narrow and honed in on what makes your company stand out from your competitors.

 

bluebeam

 

Bluebeam offers a client testimonials page where they highlight particular things the company helped its customers solve, such as saving a construction company $50,000 and enabling a mechanical firm to compete with much larger companies in their industry.

 

3. Place Testimonials on Landing Pages


Testimonials can appear in several different areas of the website, but they’re more powerful in some locations than others. To decide where to place yours, think about the purpose of the testimonial you’re featuring. If the testimonial is more generic and talking about the advantages of doing business with your company or your customer service advantages, then the landing page is a good location. If a new site visitor reads or watches reviews about your product, they are 58 percent more likely to convert into customers.

 

4. Add a Testimonial to a Photo Gallery


Your sales funnel has a few different levels. Someone who goes to your photo gallery and views other projects you’ve completed is at the mid-point of your funnel. They want more information and are seriously considering whether or not to hire you to do the work. This is your opportunity to convince them by offering reviews and testimonials from your current customers.

 

cornwell door

 

Cornwell Door Service adds a testimonial at the bottom of the photo gallery images along with a photo of the finished job. The client explains the process of choosing their new garage doors and how happy they are with the finished result. The testimonial shows anyone on the fence that the process is easy and enjoyable and pushes them onward to the next phase of the sales funnel.

 

5. Sprinkle Testimonials Throughout Blog Content


Another technique for highlighting testimonials on your website is sprinkling them throughout your blog content. Keep in mind that visitors might land on a blog post page and never see your home page or your testimonials page. Adding testimonials within the posts themselves allows you to sprinkle in reviews without the visitor bouncing away to another page.

 

Blog post testimonials should be highly relevant to the topic under discussion. Don’t plug in a testimonial for Product A if the article focuses on a problem Product B solves.

 

6. Invite Users to Share Their Reviews


Engage your customers by inviting them to share their reviews of your products and brand easily. Include a call to action (CTA) button that encourages them to write a review. Put their reviews front and center, so other potential clients see you aren’t afraid of what your current customers have to say. Reviews help drive sales and attract new customers.

 

 

Sydney City Toyota features client reviews on their landing page with a sharp image and the number of stars the person rated them. Click on any of the reviews, and you’ll get more details about their testimonial and an option to “write your own review.”

 

7. Share Testimonials on Social Media


Testimonials also give you another piece of content for social media sharing. However, the end goal should be to either convert that traffic into newsletter subscribers or drive them to your website. Social media controls followers, with sites such as Facebook now charging to push content in front of your own subscribers. A better use of your social media efforts is driving traffic to your online real estate.

 

8. Place Beside CTAs


You’ve honed your CTA to perfection. The wording is just right, the color of the button contrasts with the rest of the landing page and you know the placement grabs attention. Add a short testimonial next to that perfected CTA to help convert people into clients. It’s a small bit of information that will help them make the final decision to buy your product or service.
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Using Your Testimonials

Make it easy for visitors to find your customer testimonials. They shouldn’t have to search deep into your site to find a specific page of reviews. Instead, they should see testimonials sprinkled throughout your site with clear links to additional details on what others think about your brand.

 

author:

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

Important Website Design Statistics

 

There are over a billion websites currently hosted on the internet, and more than two billion active users browsing those websites. Yet at a two to one chance of getting your website seen – thus procuring a potential lead which could lead to sales – chances aren’t great.

 

This isn’t a statement meant to make you feel as though creating and maintaining a website isn’t worth it. In fact, a website is vital to modern success in business. This statistic – and all those which follow – are instead meant to make you feel determined to create a great website and give you the knowledge necessary to do so.

 

The Key to Success


The real key to success in grabbing the attention of the billions of internet users is in your website itself. Your company may be amazing, with the unrivaled best products and services, but if your website doesn’t reflect that you aren’t going to gain any new customers.

 

How do you create a great website? The answers lay in the following statistics. By taking the information found in them and using them to your advantage you can help secure yourself an ever-increasing number of website views. Those views will transfer into leads, which transfer into customers, which then transfers into an overall more successful business model.

 

The Real Power of the Internet


According to recent surveys, an incredible 89% of all customers will search the web before making a purchase decision. This is where all that effort you’ve put into search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management comes into play.

 

But don’t get too excited yet.

 

Of the nearly ninety percent of customer searching the web, 60% of them will go to the brand or product website they are considering to find relevant and useful information on it. Their decision to purchase will be highly influenced by the information they find on your website. Customers are so influenced by company websites, in fact, that 75% admit to deciding how credible a business is based solely on said site.

 

Time to Make Decisions


When it comes to making decisions about your website design, consumers do it fast. The average viewer takes between 17 and 50 milliseconds to decide whether they find your website visually appealing. For reference, a “blink of an eye” is between 100 and 400 milliseconds. It also only takes consumers 2.6 seconds to land on the area of the website page they will use to make their first impression about your website.

 

Speaking of First Impressions…


It isn’t your products or services which make that big first impression. 94% of consumers admit they’re decisions are mostly design based.

 

According to the Google research page,

 

“designs that contradict what users typically expect of a website may hurt user’s first impressions and damage their expectations.”

 

What does that mean?

 

In layman’s terms, it means your website needs to give viewers what they expect. If it doesn’t, they aren’t going to have a great first impression of your company. Without a great first impression, most customers will take their business elsewhere. Once damaged, a reputation can be extremely hard to fix. It is infinitely easier to simply make a great first impression in the first place.

 

Where Are Viewers Looking for Their First Impression?


You know that it doesn’t take long to make a first impression, but where are consumers looking on your website to create it? Recent statistics state that consumers are looking at the following areas for a minuscule amount of time to create their impressions:

 

  • Company Logo – 6.48 seconds
  • Written Content – 5.59 seconds
  • Main Webpage Image – 5.94 seconds
  • Search Box – 6 seconds
  • Main Navigation Menu – 6.44 sec
  • Bottom of Website – 5.25 seconds
  • Social Media Navigation Menu – 5.95 seconds

 

Is It True That Viewers Don’t Scroll?


A common idea is that all your essential information must be readily available as soon as a consumer reaches your website. Many believe potential customers won’t scroll at all to find the information they need. This isn’t true. 76% of all viewed pages were scrolled, while 66% of consumer’s attention is directed to content below the fold (or the area to which they must scroll to view).

 

While consumers are willing to scroll to find the content or information they need, they aren’t willing to scroll too far, however. Only 22% of all viewed website pages were scrolled all the way to the bottom. This means you’ll want to keep the most valuable information near the top of the page, but not necessary at the very top.

 

Key Takeaways


To properly implement all these statistics and other pertinent information into your website design process, here are a few key takeaways you’ll want to keep in mind:

 

  • Your website should reflect your company’s reputation, values, morals, and brand story. If not, consumers will move to the next option.
  • Include as much relevant information about company, products, and services on your website as possible.
  • Design should catch a viewer’s attention fast – as in, less than a blink of an eye fast.
  • Pay close attention to the minute details because even your company logo, menus, and search box are involved in how consumers create their first impression.
  • Not all vital information has to be above the fold, but it shouldn’t be all the way at the bottom either.
  • Most people will not scroll all the way to the bottom of a page so save that space for non-vital information.

 

What If You Don’t Know Where to Start?


If you don’t know where to start the best option is to hire a professional website design company. Some of these sites even offer packages that can help to build a marketing campaign around your site’s design. As with all other aspects of hiring, you’ll want to find one with a good reputation that can fit your company’s brand – i.e. tone of voice, morals, standards, and preferred writing style.

 

 

careers page design

 

The new year is a time of fresh beginnings and seeking out new opportunities. Many people enter the new year looking for a new job. Get your careers page ready now to attract the top candidates searching for new positions. Monster.com reported nine out of 10 of their busiest days for job applications were in January, growing by 75 percent during the month.

 

Attracting and retaining top employees isn’t an easy task. Your career page is the first step toward attracting cutting-edge talent. Here are six things to consider before updating your careers page, and a few examples of excellent career pages from other companies.

 

1. Focus on the Future


Most people looking for a new job have hope for a brighter future. Perhaps they want a better-paying position, or they’re seeking a place with advancement opportunities their current job doesn’t provide. Update your careers page to point toward the future and why joining your team is ideal, and you’ll snag their interest.

 

Careers Page

 

Warner Brothers wants you to dream big about working for them, and their tagline reflects their hope. Their tagline reads, “Find your next great role.” They also divide opportunities into internships and careers. They list what it’s like to work for Warner Brothers under “WB Life,” where they detail compensation and benefits, childcare facilities and tools to stay healthy.

 

2. Stay on Point


What is your No. 1 goal when filling an opening? Think about the type of employee you wish to attract overall, then stay on point. If you want serious-minded people, keep the page sincere and businesslike. If you prefer a family-like atmosphere, focus on that element of your work and invite people to become part of your family. Once you know your philosophy for your employees, it’s easier to share that message on your jobs page.

 

3. Add a Video


When you can’t fully explain what it’s like to work at your company, go ahead and show candidates by adding a video that highlights a few employees, the office space and where your company’s heading soon. You can add a single, introductory video, tell the story of your company history or feature employees talking about why they love to work for you.

 

Using videos to tell your story may keep you at the forefront of potential employees’ minds. People tend to remember only 10 percent of what they hear, but when they see and hear something, they retain 65 percent of the information.

 

Careers Page Design

 

H.O. Penn Machinery uses video to offer a snapshot of what their company has to offer that’s unique from other similar companies. The video features a service technician named J.P. They talk about how he loves what he does, and that they are looking for more people like J.P. The video concludes by mentioning the impact you can make and the benefits of working for H.O. Penn.

 

4. Invite People to Build Careers


Your goal should be to invite people who will want to be part of your company for years to come. In a recent survey, companies spent an average of $4,129 to seek out a new hire.

 

However, the costs of employee turnover may be much higher, and include lost productivity and expanded training costs. If you want to attract, and keep, the best people in your industry, you must show them how they can build a career with you that balances work and family life and gives them regular incentives and raises for their efforts.

 

5. Simplify the Application Process


The goal of your careers page is to bring in viable candidates, so make it easy for them to interview with your company. Offer a link to schedule an appointment or get in touch with you. Allow job seekers to upload a resume on the spot. Anything you can do to simplify the process will help you get more applicants.

 

About 60 percent of people don’t complete a job application because it takes too long. Make the application process fast and increase your application conversions.

 

Careers Page branding

 

Lutheran Hospital Fort Wayne makes it easy for potential health care workers to get an interview. They’ve added a unique feature that allows candidates to schedule their interview at a time that’s convenient for them. Note how they take a position they need multiple candidates to fill. They then make scheduling easy by offering an RN Interview Day.

 

6. Show off Company Culture


If you’re looking to attract the younger generation, company culture is a vital aspect of what they look for in a company. Millennials want to build experiences, so show them how your company offers that. Include rich images of events your company hosts, such as Food Truck Fridays and the most recent company retreat.

 

Before you update your page, take time to think through what your company culture says about you. There may be areas where you can streamline, or other elements of your careers page to improve.

 

Making Your Careers Page Stand Out


Think through what makes your company unique. Highlight the benefits of working for your company. If you were a candidate seeking a new career, what would attract you? What elements might repel the right candidates? Get feedback and work on your page until it brings in the candidates you most want to attract.

 

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.