Part 1: The Header
In this digital age, there are some elements of a website that we have just come to expect: a header area with a logo and navigation, a footer area at the bottom of the page, and some other stuff in between.
While we have come to expect these elements in a certain order, why are they there in the first place? Why don’t we experiment more and try putting the navigation diagonally across the bottom of the site instead of straight across the top? The marketing team at Integrity Marketing Solutions has done testing and research and we know what elements make a website “work.”
In the next few weeks, I’ll be identifying each of the layout or design elements that we have found are essential for a successful website and discussing why they are important and how they can be used to their fullest potential.
If you’ve spent any time online (seeing how you are currently reading this post online, I’m going to go ahead and assume that’s all of you!), you know that there’s always information at the very top of a webpage. This area is typically referred to as the header.
The header area contains information that is crucial to establishing your brand, providing essential contact information, and creating a clear path to other information. Studies have shown that when people visit a website, they either in “knowledge-gathering mode” or “ready to buy mode”.
If they are still doing their research in knowledge-gathering mode, then you immediately need to tell them what your brand story is, who you are, and what you do. If viewers can’t find or access this information quickly, they will leave your site. This is why your logo and navigation are always at the top of the page. The logo is the face of your brand story and a good navigation will provide a clear path to the other information they are looking for.
If they are in ready to buy mode, then having your phone number and email address easily accessible is important. They don’t want to search through your site to find a way to contact you. They want to contact you now!
This is also why we try to avoid cluttering up the header with very much additional information. When there is too much information available, the result is a visual clutter that viewers find distracting and can make it difficult to find those three things that are really most important. To avoid this problem, simpler headers are better.
Next Week: The header is only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the design and layout of your website. Be sure to come back next week for part 2, when we’ll be diving a little deeper into the navigation.