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To Dot Or Not
(Web design for the rest of us!)

Intro » 1 2 3 4

Introduction: That's the ticket!!!

OK, so... the decision's been made... a Web site is the answer to your marketing, branding and organization or company image problems! Well... now what?

Get a Web designer! Yeah, that's it! That's the ticket. Somebody that can put all your "stuff" on the Internet and make you look cool... hip... all "jiggey with it."

Great! There now, that's taken care of. But, before you leap to the assumption that your brand new Web Master is going to magically put YOUR roadside attraction on the "information super highway," have a seat, take a deep breath and let's discuss a few things.

The "kid next door" syndrome
Among the most common misconceptions for organizations or business that may be either new to gaining a presence on the Web, or still hanging on to those pages done back in '98 with that killer regurgitating mailbox animation thing is the notion that putting up a Web site is about the same as making a flyer in Microsoft Publisher.

"Heck, the kid down the block has a computer... we'll have her do it. All she needs is a copy of Front Door or that Dream Stealer thing, right?"

Uh-h-h-h... well, it's just a little more complicated than that. And not to make totally light of the subject, there are parts of the process you, the organization/business/group need to be prepared to work with your Web designer on if you want to have a successful Web site by today's standards.

It's no longer enough just to have that domain name and a few (or even a lot of) pages hobbled together with some clever clip art and banners and backgrounds and pictures of last year's anniversary picnic. Web design and development has become a very professional, complex and highly skilled field now, that is if you want your site to compare favorably to the better sites out there.

The good news!
It's still a frontier out there and more egalitarian than you might suspect. The fact is, still most Web sites are appallingly bad, if not in terms of visual design, certainly in terms of usability. And most often in terms of content!

Users typically know what they're looking for when they come to your site, and if give it to them in a logical and intuitive manner without frustrating them, yours will be more useful than the big, flashy and expensive "dot" whatevers out there.

Good web design is about catering to simple human behaviors. It's about answering the question before it's asked. It's more than "cool." It's more than video. It's more than lots of colors and pretty pictures.

Great graphics, while possibly memorable, will never overcome poor delivery. In today's real world, and contrary to popular myth, people want satisfaction even more than they want entertainment. They want their expectations met or all of the fun falls flat fast.

So, in the real world, Bunny's Pancake Palace & Waffle Emporium had better serve pancakes! And, in the virtual world ( she'd better tell us where to get 'em, how to get there, how much they'll cost, hours of operation... oh, and a recipe would be darn nice too!

Who cares? It's just a Web site, right?
Activity on the Internet is, by all measurements, huge. And it's getting bigger, and more, and "huger" every day. "I looked it up on the Web" is more commonly overheard in coffee shops and family bar-b-ques these days than "Can ya hear me now? Can ya hear me now?" And if your site does NOT pass the "click-n-find" test of the impatient, low attention-span surfers out there, your competitor's may!

Today, your Web site IS your "brand." With the more than likely possibility that visitors to your site know absolutely nothing about you except what they see and experience there, you have even less time to make an impression than in the real world. So this article is here to cover at least the high points and hopefully get you pointed in the appropriate direction.



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