How to Design Websites That Align With User Preferences

The most aesthetically pleasing website in the world only converts well if users enjoy the look and functionality of the site. Determining visitor preferences and how to meet their needs is a huge part of building a successful site.

Website design requires juggling multiple factors. Designers must determine the best typography, find which colors users respond best to, add interesting images and use the right language for their calls to action (CTAs). Meshing all the elements into a website that converts requires experience and practice.

Here are some steps to transform blah designs into fabulous, high-converting pages.

1. Research the Audience

People need to know their audience. Today’s research tools sort through massive amounts of data and spit out reports and predictions based on past behavior and audience demographics.

Designers should tap into the power of artificial intelligence (AI) tools to get a handle on what their users like best. People trying to reach a new audience should use AI to predict their preferred elements. They can then create new landing pages targeting a specific segment.

Source: https://www.shabbyfabrics.com

Shabby Fabrics takes into account that most quilters are women and chooses a color palette accordingly. While the mauve hues may not appeal to men who quilt, they will likely overlook the design for the vivid fabrics displayed on the page.

The design utilizes a deeper mauve for the top information ticker and a lighter shade for the navigation menu to create a design hierarchy that grabs user attention.

2. Speed up the Site

Designers who want to please everyone should ensure the site loads quickly. People are busy. If a website takes more than a few seconds to load, they’ll likely bounce away to a competitor. Mobile users are growing more frustrated with slow-loading pages with the advances in connectivity and the higher speeds of 5G networks.

Some ways to make a site load faster include investing in the best hosting plan possible, caching images and reducing file sizes.

3. Highlight Key Features

Knowing the audience means understanding what they care most about. Gen-Z users may be in college or trying to save money to buy a home. They’re likely on a budget and will appreciate highlighted sales and clearance items.

Other audiences may care more about quality, personalization or loyalty programs. Designers should know what visitors seek when they land on the page and can highlight those items to make locating them easier.

Source: https://arranmorelighting.com

Arranmore Lighting & Fans offers users the opportunity to shop by room, style or color. An analysis of how people search for items on a website provides insight into how to best meet their needs and design a site they’ll respond to.

The website also has a featured, colorful box on the home landing page showcasing the end-of-year clearance event. Designers can highlight inventory they wish to move in a similar way.

4. Improve Mobile Responsiveness

Revenue from mobile apps will reach $613 billion by 2025. People spend more time on their smartphones and buy from them more frequently than pre-COVID. People who want to meet user preferences must ensure their websites are mobile-responsive.

Test the site on different screen sizes and ensure they adapt and everything is readable. Consider how someone interacts on their phone versus a desktop computer. They need a button large enough to tap with their thumb or forefinger. They should also be able to automatically fill out forms so they don’t have to type on a tiny keyboard on their screen.

5. Select Visually Pleasing Colors

A pretty design is pleasing to all users. How do designers determine which colors work best, though? One rule of thumb is to limit the number of choices to three or so. There’s no need to include white or black in the equation.

Consider white space and balance. A bold red next to a brilliant blue and dark purple text could make the site unreadable. There should be a nice contrast and accent colors to create an aesthetically desirable design.

Source: https://www.semrush.com

SEMRush uses bright colors but creates enough contrast to keep the overall look readable. The deep purple background has geometric accents in the corners in a medium purple and green. The text is a neutral white to pop against the darker background. The entire impact is bright, exciting and usable.

6. Listen to User Feedback

Designers should ask users what they prefer. They could send out a survey and ask for feedback on their website design. It’s hard to know what people want unless they’re asked. Let them vote on two different looks, have input on color palettes and say which features they want to keep and which can go.

Marketers can also pay attention to heatmaps and see if CTA buttons or pages aren’t converting well. Do people bounce off the page within a second or two? Adjustments may be needed to keep them on the site longer.

7. Make Images Relevant

Photos and illustrations help add to a design’s overall impact n. However, if they aren’t relevant, images can detract from the message. Designers should seek unique visuals that pull the reader in and further explain the information on the page or add interest.

Images can move the reader’s attention where it should go. A person pointing toward a CTA button or looking to the right where the text is can encourage the user in the proper direction through the sales funnel.

Source: https://www.firewatchgame.com

Firewatch is an interesting product site for gamers. The logo sits at the top center of the page, and to the side is a man on a cliff looking out for a fire. However, he also faces toward the logo, drawing attention to it and showing the user what the game is about through the wordmark.

Adding illustrations and images and thinking through the subtle impact can give website designs an underlying element that drives engagement.

Run Tests and Listen to Customers

Determining what users want takes time. A/B tests can uncover which designs they respond best to. Designers should consistently try new things, ask site visitors what they think and add new elements to better meet their needs. A website that hits all the high points can lead to more conversions and loyal fans who share the brand with their connections.


Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

Pushing Boundaries: Advanced Graphic Design Techniques for Enhanced Work

Graphic design is an essential profession businesses need for marketing campaigns, visualizations of projects and presentations. However, you already know this because you have been in the game for a while and are ready to take your designs to the next level. There comes a time in every professional’s life when they need to advance their skills. If you are ready to move up in your career, learning the different graphic design techniques to boost your work is essential. 

1. 3D Design and Rendering

3D design and rendering is an advanced graphic design technique that turns flat concepts into three-dimensional visuals. This process involves two key stages:

  • Model creation
  • Rendering

In the model creation phase, designers use modeling software to build 3D models. These tools enable you to create intricate shapes and structures, offering control over dimensions and spatial arrangements. Designers manipulate elements like edges and faces in a virtual space to form detailed models. The model development process can be complex, from creating product prototypes to animated characters.

The next step of 3D design is rendering. This phase is where models get their final appearance. The techniques involve applying textures, lighting and shading to make the design realistic. For instance, texture mapping adds surface details, like colors or patterns. Meanwhile, lighting and shading enhance the model’s depth or create a specific effect.

3D design is essential across various fields. You can use it in advertising to create hyper-realistic visuals of products so customers can visualize the items before purchasing. It is an excellent way for designers to bring visual concepts to life. 

2. Custom Typography Graphic Design Techniques

Some graphic designers have an obsession with fonts. After all, working with them helps you communicate a brand’s identity and its vision. However, customizing typography goes beyond selecting pre-made fonts. Instead, it involves creating your own lettering that captures a specific style. 

Custom typography often starts with a concept or theme. Designers begin by considering the message and tone they want the typography to convey. Different fonts can be playful, sophisticated or edgy. Your choice depends on the aesthetics and emotions you want to portray.

Yet, once you have chosen your concept, the fun part comes into play. Here, designers sketch their initial ideas, experimenting with letter shapes, sizes and spacing. Whether digital or by hand, you must focus on crafting letters that come in a set. Each character must work together with others while maintaining their unique features.

After sketching, you will refine your design using graphic design software. The tool you use will allow for more precise adjustments and fine-tuning. You can manipulate curves, adjust weight, and experiment with different styles like serif, sans serif or script. The goal is to create a balanced, readable typeface that resonates with your audience. 

3. Printmaking and Materials

Printmaking is where you translate digital designs into physical forms. While the process involves incorporating your design skills, you must also know various printing techniques and material properties.

An excellent example of this technique is using graphic overlays in print design. Graphic overlays are printed graphics applied onto different materials, often used in product design, packaging and signage. They add a layer of visual and tactile interest, enhancing the aesthetics and functionality.

The process begins with selecting the right material and thickness for the overlay. Typically, the material’s thickness falls between five and 20 millimeters — anything over 20 mm makes it tougher to cut. The types of materials used can range from vinyl and polyester to polycarbonate. Each of their properties can vary in durability, flexibility and transparency.

The next phase involves creating graphics while taking the chosen materials into account. For example, your selected color can appear different when printed on various substrates. You must also consider the printing method, whether it is digital printing, screen printing or lithography. Each offers benefits regarding quality, cost and suitability for the material.

Finally, the overlay is produced and applied. This part can involve additional treatments like die-cutting, embossing or adding adhesive backing. These finishing touches are crucial for the overlay’s functionality, ensuring it adheres properly and withstands different conditions. 

4. Color Grading and Manipulation Graphic Design Techniques

Color grading and manipulation are advanced techniques in graphic design that impact mood, tone and overall visual appeal. It involves adjusting colors in an image to achieve a specific look or feel, which can be a complex process for a beginner. 

Before you dive into color grading, you must understand color theory. With 90% of first impressions of a design being based on color alone, designers need to know how colors interact, influence emotions and convey messages. Once you understand how colors impact audiences, you can use this knowledge to enhance the visual narratives of an image.

Designers often work with software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to execute color grading. Within these tools, you can adjust various aspects of color, like hue and saturation. Hue shifts can change an entire color scheme, while saturation intensifies or mutes colors. 

Color manipulation is a more complex technique known as selective color grading. This is where you apply changes to specific areas of an image, leaving others untouched. This approach aims to draw the viewer’s attention or create a focal point in design. 

In summary, color grading and manipulation are about controlling the visual atmosphere of a design. Through color adjustment, you create compelling imagery that keeps the viewer engaged for a long time.

5. Composite Imagery

Composite imagery combines multiple images or elements to create a single digital image. This method is particularly powerful for storytelling, allowing you to place various pieces into a narrative. For example, you will often find composite images in movie posters. They merge multiple elements of the main narrative into one frame, involving the setting, characters, conflict and theme. 

When working with composite imagery, you must select various elements for the final design. These components can be photographs, illustrations, text or digital renderings. The key is that each component should work together to create a story or message.

Once you choose the elements, the next step is blending them seamlessly. Adobe Photoshop is a popular tool for this design phase. You can use tools like layer masks, blending modes and adjustment layers. However, attention to detail is essential in composite imagery. This considers everything from light source and shadows to perspective and scale to ensure the elements look like they belong in the same space. The goal is to make it realistic, depending on the intended effect.

Enhance Your Projects With Advanced Graphic Design Techniques

Mastering advanced graphic design techniques opens a world of creative possibilities. Each method — from 3D rendering to composite imagery — is a tool to express your vision and tell compelling stories. Keep in mind that the key to excellence in design is continual learning and experimentation. When you push your creative boundaries, you enhance your skills and leave a lasting impact in the graphic design world. 

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

8 Ways AI is Enhancing Efficiency and Innovation in Web Development

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on nearly every industry has become apparent in 2023. Companies everywhere are looking at how they can implement machine learning ethically and transparently. AI web development is just one more niche in a long list of enterprises tapping into the power of machine learning.

Using it can save you time and money. AI helps perfect processes, speed up coding and ensure consistency. With more time to focus on the creative side of things, developers can brainstorm innovative new ideas. Here are eight ways AI is enhancing efficiency and innovation in web development.

1. Improved Customer Support

Chatbots utilizing AI technology have become quite popular in 2023. Almost immediately after OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, businesses began to see the advantages of having a smart machine interact with customers, answer common questions and take on the role of basic customer support.

Chatbots are well suited to solve some things but not everything. In a Gartner survey, researchers found chatbots solved 58% of returns and cancellations but only 17% of billing disputes. Web development companies can utilize chatbots to handle canceled orders and answer basic questions, freeing up staff time to build a stronger workplace culture and better programs.

2. Better Customer Engagement

AI web development often focuses on the user experience (UX) to ensure the finished product solves a pain point for customers. Tapping into the power of AI allows programmers to run through massive amounts of data about the consumer base and spit out reports that offer insight into their needs and preferences.

In addition, you can use AI to test modules and ensure everything runs smoothly. The better the UX, the more reach you will gain with your website designs. Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful, free form of advertising — when your product shines, you will attract more referrals.

3. Higher Efficiency

Utilizing AI allows you to save money and increase efficiency. Make a list of the menial tasks developers do in a day — anything repetitive can usually be automated to save time, reducing overhead costs.

Website development firms may pay big salaries to skilled workers within a niche development area. When you automate some tasks, you gain additional time for the person to work on creating a new app or reaching out to new customers.

4. Better Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Do not limit the use of AI to your development team, though — anyone on your staff can benefit from automation. The sales department can use it to create better customer relationships. Use CRM software to send a note to people on their birthdays, when a renewal is approaching or to announce a new product they might find beneficial.

CRM programs give companies insight into past buying behavior and predict future patterns. You can also use it to develop buyer personas to help with stronger marketing. Ideally, your team will work alongside one another with web developers, chatting with marketing and sales to come up with new software people want and ways to best promote it.

AI web development considers every touchpoint the user has from the first moment they land on the page until they convert into a buyer. When in doubt, the designer can run the concept through an AI model to see if there are any bottlenecks.

5. Employee Retention

If the 20% voluntary turnover rate remains or increases, keeping your top performers may become more difficult. Keeping your best staff saves you recruiting costs and lost time. If you have to replace someone who knows the job well, it takes time to find someone who can do the same tasks, train them and wait for them to build the skills.

It is better to keep the workers you have, but how does AI help with retention? You can use it to drive productive onboarding, train employees in weak areas and identify people who are dissatisfied with their jobs. HR can tap into the power of machines to customize employee packages and meet their individual needs.

6. Automated Personalization

The same data that goes into creating a personalized worker experience can be used to cater to customer needs. AI gives you a chance to collect behavioral data from buyers and see what they respond best to.

Tweak some aspects of a website based on how users interact with various features. Gather data and process it quickly for insight into where to place a call to action button or which offers people respond to best.

Many clients are looking for brands using the powerful insight AI offers, so you can use your development procedures to entice attractive offers. When they hear how you are tapping into machines to drive growth for your other clients, they will be more likely to sign up for a web development package.

7. Improved Security

The global cost of cybercrime is around $8 trillion annually, with a prediction of $13.8 trillion by 2028. Some of the ways you can use AI to help manage cybersecurity include using it for threat detection, where the computer tracks patterns for any sudden shifts in traffic or strange user behavior. It can then block IPs or shore up security on the spot.

You can also use AI for risk management and pinpointing weaknesses in a system. Offering your clients reassurance that you are on top of potential threats puts you ahead of smaller brands without the resources to track cybercrime.

Why You Should Turn to AI Web Development

AI web development offers many advantages to traditional methods, giving you more time to create amazing designs that help you stand out from competitors. Implementing it in your work improves efficiency and puts you ahead of the game.


Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

Merch Branding Design & Illustration

Case Study: Kentucky Branded – Elevating Local Pride through Unique Merchandise and Graphic Design

Overview: Kentucky Branded, a local merchandise company in Kentucky, has made a name for itself by offering a wide range of products featuring unique and eye-catching Kentucky-themed art and graphic design. Their product line includes T-shirts, mugs, and promotional sportswear, all of which celebrate the rich culture, history, and spirit of Kentucky. This case study explores how Kentucky Branded has successfully built its brand and expanded its product line through innovative branding and graphic design artwork.

Challenge: Kentucky Branded faced the challenge of creating a strong brand identity that would resonate with both locals and visitors. They needed to design artwork that was not only visually appealing but also captured the essence of Kentucky’s heritage. Additionally, they wanted to ensure that their products stood out in a competitive market and appealed to a broad audience.

Solution: To address these challenges, Kentucky Branded took a strategic approach to their branding and graphic design. They conducted thorough research on Kentucky’s history, symbols, and popular culture to gather inspiration for their artwork. They then worked with talented graphic designers to create original and authentic designs that truly represented Kentucky.

The company also focused on using high-quality materials for their products, ensuring that the artwork was printed clearly and would last for a long time. They paid close attention to detail in every aspect of the design and production process, from the color schemes and typography to the placement of the graphics on the products.

Results: Kentucky Branded’s commitment to quality and authenticity in their branding and graphic design artwork paid off. Their products quickly gained popularity, and the brand developed a strong reputation in the community. Customers appreciated the uniqueness of the designs and the quality of the products, leading to positive reviews and repeat business.

The company’s innovative approach to merchandise also allowed them to expand their product line and reach a wider audience. They introduced new products and designs regularly, keeping their inventory fresh and appealing to customers. As a result, Kentucky Branded saw a significant increase in sales and brand recognition.

Conclusion: Kentucky Branded’s success story highlights the power of strong branding and creative graphic design in building a unique and beloved brand. By staying true to their roots and focusing on quality and authenticity, Kentucky Branded has become a go-to source for Kentucky-themed merchandise, celebrating the state’s culture and heritage in every product they create.

Festival Map Design

Crafting a Vibrant and User-Friendly Festival Map for the Big Four Arts Festival

Introduction:

The Big Four Arts Festival is a renowned annual event that draws artists, vendors, and art enthusiasts from across the region to celebrate creativity and community. With a sprawling venue and numerous attractions, the need for a clear, engaging, and informative festival map was paramount. This case study delves into how our design team collaborated with Big Four Arts Festival organizers to create a festival map that was not only a navigational tool but also an extension of the event’s vibrant atmosphere.

Client: Big Four Arts Festival Project: Festival Map Design

Goals and Objectives:

  1. Clarity: Ensure that the map is easy to read and understand, even for first-time festival-goers.
  2. Brand Consistency: Integrate the festival’s branding and aesthetic into the map design to create a seamless user experience.
  3. User Engagement: Design the map to be engaging and encourage exploration of all areas of the festival.
  4. Practicality: Include essential information such as restroom locations, first aid stations, food vendors, and stage locations.
  5. Digital Integration: Develop a digital version of the map that could be accessed via the festival’s mobile app.

Challenges:

  1. Complex Venue Layout: The festival’s layout was intricate, with numerous booths, stages, and amenities spread across a large area.
  2. Time Constraints: The map needed to be completed well in advance of the festival to ensure ample time for printing and distribution.

Process:

  1. Client Collaboration: Engaged in multiple discussions and planning sessions with the festival organizers to understand their vision and gather all necessary information.
  2. Initial Sketches: Developed a series of rough sketches to layout the basic structure and elements of the map.
  3. Design Iterations: Created multiple design iterations, incorporating feedback from the client at each stage.
  4. Branding Integration: Ensured that the festival’s color scheme, typography, and logos were seamlessly integrated into the map design.
  5. User Testing: Conducted user testing with a focus group to gather feedback on the map’s usability and design.
  6. Digital Integration: Worked with the festival’s app developers to integrate the map into their mobile platform.
  7. Finalization and Delivery: Made final adjustments based on user testing and client feedback, and delivered the final versions of both the print and digital maps.

Results:

The Big Four Arts Festival map was enthusiastically received by both the festival organizers and attendees. The clear layout, vibrant design, and inclusion of all essential information made navigation easy, enhancing the overall festival experience. The digital version of the map also saw significant usage, showcasing the success of the integrated approach.

Conclusion:

The collaboration between our design team and the Big Four Arts Festival organizers resulted in a festival map that was not just a tool, but a valuable part of the event experience. The successful melding of practicality, brand consistency, and engaging design ensured that festival-goers could easily navigate and fully enjoy all that the event had to offer. This project underscored the importance of thoughtful design and user-centric planning in creating effective navigational materials for large-scale events.

This Type of Leader Is Necessary at a Growing Digital Marketing Agency

With the world being highly interconnected, the marketing field is shifting at lightning speed. Each change brings fresh opportunities and new challenges. This makes digital marketing ever so vibrant, as it is constantly evolving. However, handling these shifts and leading a digital marketing agency to growth is no small feat — it calls for effective leadership.

Yet, with various types of leadership in the digital marketing space, there is one that champions the rest. This type of leader possesses a unique blend of foresight, adaptability and innovative thinking to guide a digital marketing agency towards success. If you are part of this fast-paced industry or aspire to be, you will know the truth in this — the right kind of leadership can turn challenges into stepping stones for growth.

The Unique Challenges of a Growing Digital Marketing Agency

Running a growing digital marketing agency comes with unique challenges. The rapid pace of change and evolution is the most prominent among them. Each day, new technologies, platforms and digital marketing strategies emerge. Algorithms update, consumer behavior shifts and marketing trends evolve at warp speed. As a leader, you must stay ahead of these changes, adapt quickly and ensure your team is well-equipped to navigate this changing landscape.

With this pace of change is the constant necessity for innovation and creativity. In the digital marketing space, there is no place for complacency. In fact, at least 50% of marketing agencies strongly agree creativity is essential to long-term growth. Therefore, it is always in your best interest to create continually and execute cutting-edge campaigns that reach your client’s target audience and resonate with them. Inspiring and fostering creativity among your team members is key to staying ahead.

Additionally, the digital marketing industry is fiercely competitive. Agencies need to build and maintain strong relationships with their clients to achieve growth. This requires a deep understanding of their business goals, proactive communication and consistent delivery of results. As a leader, you must cultivate a client-centric culture within your agency and ensure your team strives to exceed client expectations at every step.

Different Types of Leaders in Digital Marketing

In digital marketing, various leadership styles have been observed, each with strengths and limitations:

  • Transactional leaders: These leaders operate primarily based on routines and performance metrics. They reward or penalize their teams based on predefined targets and benchmarks. While this approach can ensure consistency and discipline, it may stifle creativity, which is vital in digital marketing.
  • Transformational leaders: Transformational leaders inspire and drive change. They are visionaries who motivate their teams to go above and beyond the call of duty. They cultivate an environment of trust, encouraging innovative thinking and embracing new marketing strategies.
  • Servant leaders: Servant leaders put the needs of their team and clients first. They focus on the growth and well-being of their staff, fostering a nurturing environment. This approach can lead to high team morale and superior client service, but it also requires the leader to balance being supportive with driving results.
  • Laissez-faire leaders: These leaders give their teams the autonomy to make decisions. They trust their team’s skills and expertise, offering guidance only when necessary. This leadership style can spur innovation and employee satisfaction. However, it requires a highly motivated and competent team to be effective.

The Ideal Leader for a Growing Digital Marketing Agency

In many respects, an ideal leader for growing a digital marketing agency aligns with the transformational leadership style. These leaders can facilitate continuous change, which is integral to managing the complexities of digital marketing. They motivate others to think more creatively while fostering a work environment that thrives on constant learning and adaptability. Transformational leaders maintain a strong visionary perspective, which aids in keeping the agency at the forefront of digital marketing.

Furthermore, transformational leaders instill purpose and provocation in their teams. They value their employees, promoting a culture that aligns individual goals with the overarching objectives of the agency. This approach ensures the staff remains agile and efficient in the face of industry changes.

A key example of a transformational leader is Neil Patel — a recognized figure in digital marketing. Under his leadership in Neil Patel Digital, he has succeeded in growth and sustainability. Patel is credited for establishing a solid company culture, emphasizing an innovative approach, and encouraging his employees to take risks and think outside the box.

His ability to inspire his team led his company to create groundbreaking marketing strategies and high-profile client wins. Patel’s leadership shows the potential of transformational leadership in driving growth in a digital marketing agency.

Cultivating Yourself Into the Ideal Leader

Becoming the ideal leader in a growing digital marketing agency involves intentional self-development. Here are some strategies to help you cultivate essential qualities:

  • Adaptability: Embrace change as the only constant. Stay updated with industry trends, learn new technologies and encourage your team to do the same. Create a flexible environment where change is an opportunity, not a threat.
  • Empathy: Understand the needs and concerns of your team and clients. Foster open communication and encourage feedback. Show genuine interest in the well-being of your team members, and they are more likely to reciprocate with loyalty and education.
  • Innovation: Encourage new ideas and be willing to take calculated risks. Be a culture where your company celebrates creativity and sees failure as a stepping stone to creation.
  • Continuous learning: Keep shaping yourself into the ideal leader for your digital marketing agency. Attend workshops, webinars, and conferences related to leadership and digital marketing. Reading and educating yourself about new strategies, tools, and industry developments will help you stay on top of your professional development.
  • Feedback and self-evaluation: Regularly assess your performance as a leader. Invite input from your team, reflect on it and make necessary adjustments. This process will help you improve and show your commitment to growth, inspiring other team members to do the same.

Growing as a Transformational Leader

Transformational leadership is the optimal style for a thriving digital marketing business. By inspiring change, fostering innovation and maintaining adaptability, transformational leaders can manage the industry’s challenges well.

As the leader of your agency, your role is pivotal in guiding your team toward growth. Embrace the qualities and cultivate yourself into a transformational leader, as it can be the key to unlocking immense potential in this highly evolving industry.


Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

Why Your Web Agency Should Be Committed to Creating Less E-Waste

Old electronics — such as computers, televisions and cell phones — are considered e-waste. How you get rid of these items can impact the environment. Focusing on green production helps companies protect the environment for future generations, be good stewards of their local resources and reach like-minded consumers wanting to embrace an eco-cause.

Committing to reduced carbon output and preserving resources is easier than you might think. You will gain a lot of traction with those wanting to do business with eco-friendly companies. Here are some things you could do and why you should be doing them.

1. Recycle and Reuse

The Environmental Protection Agency mentions recycling electronics reduces pollution by lessening the amount of new materials necessary to produce new items. It also keeps old devices out of landfills. Some e-waste leaches into the soil and contaminates groundwater, impacting everything from local wildlife to human drinking water.

Upgrading a computer system rather than completely replacing it might also save your agency money. Electronics are a considerable expense, so stretching them further is sensible.

2. Sell Old Devices

Small businesses often need upgrades to keep software up to date or keep up with a growing enterprise. If you are scaling up by buying new electronics, consider how well the old ones work. Are they in a condition where you could reset them to factory settings, trade them in or sell them to make a few bucks?

You can even offset the cost of purchasing new electronics by selling your current equipment. You will reduce e-waste and get paid to do it.

3. Keep Devices Out of Landfills

It might be tempting to pitch that smartphone that no longer works and send it out with the trash. However, this is not the best way to dispose of electronic devices.

Experts estimate people around the globe contributed about 33.8 million metric tons of e-waste in 2010, but the number keeps rising as new phone models, computer hard drives and other modern electronics advance rapidly. Make it a policy to recycle responsibly if you must trade your old devices in for new ones.

4. Know the Laws in Your State

Regulations surrounding e-waste vary from state to state and even from one town to the next, so learn the rules where you run your business so you do not rack up any fines. Some laws are more stringent than others. If you are not sure you comply, talk with an expert on local regulations and ensure you change policies as necessary to meet expectations.

5. Pay Attention to Partnerships

Who does your web agency partner with and how do they handle e-waste? Look at all your service providers as well as suppliers. For example, if you work with a hosting company for your website, be aware of its ongoing impact on the environment and whether it throws old servers into landfills.

Web hosting is a $90.42 billion industry with steady growth. You can find an organization with similar policies to yours regarding reducing carbon footprint. Ask the tough questions to verify you are doing your part and any company you support is, too.

6. Be Aware of Toxic Substances

As electronic parts break down, they seep back into the environment, and can poison local land and water. Some items are worse than others. Do your due diligence and research how to reduce the toxic waste your enterprise produces. Also, take the time to look for ways to ensure your old electronics do not turn into a problem for future generations.

7. Fund Research

Taking items to dedicated recycling centers is sometimes the only option. However, scientists are researching how you can recycle different components and reuse them instead of just throwing them away.

For example, one European project called CROCODILE considers cobalt recycling and how old batteries can take on new life. Look for cutting-edge solutions to a growing problem and invest in them to improve the impact of e-waste in the future.

How Worried Should Your Brand Be About E-Waste?

It might seem like a small contribution to delay buying new machines or recycling responsibly. After all, giant corporations may not be overly concerned about doing the same and they have much more of an impact. It is crucial to remember that if smaller brands come together and do their part, they can set an example for the rest of the world and safeguard the environment.


Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

Mastering the Art of Product Page Designs

Product page designs can make or break conversion rates. Big players, such as Amazon and Walmart, use a formula to ensure each page has images, descriptive text and calls to action (CTA) to drive buyers through the sales funnel. Outside of the basic data each page needs, there are a number of things e-commerce brands can do to improve customer experience (CX) and see an increase in revenue.

The best way to figure out how to create stellar product page designs is by studying what successful companies do. Here are six favorite examples and why they work.

1. Grab Their Attention

Consumers see numerous ads each day. Standing out from the noise of marketing means companies must figure out how to grab attention. The headline or product title is often the first thing users see. A descriptive heading pulls them in and answers the question of whether the item is right for their needs.

Source: https://bellroy.com/products/slim-sleeve-wallet

Bellroy sells slim wallets with lots of storage. They use pointed headlines, such as “Slim Sleeve,” “Hide & Seek” and “Flip Case.” The user knows what the product is when they click on the landing page link.

People also have no question about the product’s category from these descriptive terms. The keywords shoppers are most likely to use can serve as an excellent way to refine headings.

Spend time on the call to action (CTA) and make sure the wording engages the user. Use action words and keep the language short.

2. Use Clear Images

A crucial part of product page designs is showcasing the product via photos. For e-commerce stores, the user has no way to experience the item if they don’t do so through visuals. They aren’t in a physical store where they can touch, smell and hold the product in their hands. Photos are one of the ways they can understand the finer details of an item’s design.

When researchers asked people what website features they value, 91% said visuals attracted them. The images must tell a story and showcase inventory from all angles. Consider what the consumer most wants to know before making a purchase. Showing color might require a close-up of the surface. Size needs a comparison to a familiar object. Answer the questions users have before they ask them.

Source: https://www.towersealants.com/products

Tower Sealants shows how much images add to a product description. Each of their product packaging designs comes in a different color to make it easily recognizable. Customers who’ve ordered the item in the past can easily identify it.

Note the similar placement for images in each product box. The user knows where to look for the image and glances to the right each time as they scan down the product page’s design. Showing some consistency helps show a company is reliable.

3. Create a Hierarchy

The best designs embrace a visual hierarchy. The impact is subtle but still draws the user in and makes pages predictable. Create a visual hierarchy with a color palette, text size and style. For example, you might bold the title and make it larger than the body text.

Source: https://www.seattlechocolate.com/collections/best-sellers/products/sip-sip-hooray-truffle-bar

Seattle Chocolate Company uses bold and larger text for the product page title. They also bold the purchase options to make them stand out. Another thing they do to set a few features apart is use bold colors, such as pink for the reviews and green for the “Add to Cart” CTA.

4. Utilize the Power of Video

A video can say more about a product than static images. Add some music and text overlay and users become more likely to watch to the end and turn from browsers into buyers.

The 2023 Application of Video Marketing Statistics Report showed 91% of marketers use video content. Keep up with competitors by showcasing popular items and giving users an immersive experience.

Source: https://vflatworld.com

V-Flat World shows their photo backdrop boards in various settings and includes a video to explain how they work and how to set them up. Embedding the videos gives users an opportunity to see the product from different perspectives. Users can choose to view them or not, depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey and the push they need to know if the item is right for their needs.

5. Evoke Emotions With Color

Most product page designs use colors that pop to grab attention. However, the psychology of colors indicates some hues might bring forth emotions in the viewer.

For example, most people like the color blue. Red evokes passion and excitement. Black can be seen as elegant or serious.

Add product page design colors to your style guide so each item has a similar look. You may need to do some split testing to see which shades work best for your target audience.

Source: https://www.kettleandfire.com

Kettle & Fire uses three colors repeatedly throughout their site–a soft, earthy yellow, white and bright red. By using the red as more of an accent color, the design pulls the user in and encourages them to take action.

Note how the red is used in the discount offer selection box and the CTA. Because the rest of the page is neutral, the CTA pops and grabs attention. The color generates excitement and pushes the user to add the item to their cart.

Study Successful Product Page Designs to Learn

Which products sell best on the brand’s site? A clue to improving current descriptions is to repeat successes and replace failures. Apply the things learned from studying the website examples above and find the right combination of elements to drive conversions.


Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.



Veterinary Clinic Website Design

Case Study: Enhancing Online Presence for a Veterinary Clinic


Introduction

In today’s digital age, even sectors like veterinary care require a strong online presence to reach and serve their clientele effectively. This case study examines the transformation of a veterinary clinic’s online platform, emphasizing the importance of user experience, accessibility, and trust-building in the pet care industry.


The Challenge

The veterinary clinic, although well-established in its local community, lacked a comprehensive online platform. They faced challenges in:

  1. Reaching a younger demographic of pet owners who primarily search for services online.
  2. Providing easy access to essential information such as services offered, appointment scheduling, and emergency care.
  3. Building trust online, given that pet care is a highly sensitive and personal service.

The Solution

  1. User-Friendly Design: A clean, intuitive website layout was developed, ensuring that visitors could easily navigate and find the information they were looking for.
  2. Online Appointment Booking: An integrated system was set up, allowing pet owners to book, reschedule, or cancel appointments at their convenience.
  3. Informative Content: Detailed sections on the services offered, preventive care tips, and profiles of the veterinary staff were added. This not only informed visitors but also helped in building trust.
  4. Emergency Contact Integration: Recognizing the urgent nature of some pet ailments, a prominent emergency contact section was added to the homepage, ensuring that pet owners could quickly access help when needed.
  5. Client Testimonials: To further build trust, a section dedicated to client testimonials and success stories was incorporated. Real-life experiences shared by pet owners added authenticity to the clinic’s services.
  6. Mobile Responsiveness: Given the increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, the site was optimized for mobile viewing, ensuring a seamless experience across all devices.

Results

we estimate that post-launch, the veterinary clinic should receive:

  1. A 60% increase in online appointment bookings.
  2. A 40% rise in website traffic, with a significant portion coming from mobile devices.
  3. Enhanced engagement with the local community, with many pet owners citing the informative content as a valuable resource.
  4. A notable increase in emergency calls, indicating that the emergency contact integration was effective.

Conclusion

The revamped website for the veterinary clinic not only enhanced its online visibility but also solidified its reputation as a trusted pet care provider in the community. This case study underscores the importance of a well-structured, informative, and user-friendly website in the healthcare sector, even when it pertains to our furry friends. With the right digital tools and strategies, businesses can effectively bridge the gap between online and offline worlds, ensuring they cater to their clientele’s evolving needs.