Smashing magazine

Keep looking at original websites

Your next company website tweak shouldn't try to be avant-garde, but keep looking at the most original websites out there, just to stop yourself getting complacent.

Better web forms

Form design is an area where most web designers really could do with some training, if the forms I come across on a day-to-day basis are anything to go by.

Rewriting the Form Book

If you're offering a take-it-or-leave-it item, such as a subscription to a newsletter which they've never even seen, they might well take one look at the form and say no thanks.

Vertical navigation: a symptom of poor planning?

Our main business here at BMON is running Google AdWords campaigns for industrial and scientific clients, but we do a very small number of website rebuilds too, mainly when a client needs one prior to launching an AdWords campaign! We’re often asked to “make it more modern looking”, but what does that actually mean? If you look at “modern” websites, it’s often hard to pin down exactly what makes them feel more contemporary. The obvious trends are clear slogans, rounded corners, large icons and the like, but one of the… Read More »

Product photos: could you do better?

The other day I was reading a Smashing Magazine article called How To Use Photos To Sell More Online and it occurred to me that despite the web being such a visual medium, few of us make the effort to use photography properly. Many great product websites really use pictures to tell a thousand words, but on the average industrial or scientific B2B site, a “box shot” on every product page is the standard “will this do?” presentation. It’s so easy to take photographs demonstrating every aspect of a product… Read More »

Ready to roll with that new website?

Here’s another checklist, but this time one which I can honestly say I do follow when creating websites. 15 Essential Checks Before Launching Your Website on Smashing magazine lists the things every site really should have covered from day 1, and if you’re getting a website redesign done, don’t use this list to try to catch the designer out, send it to them as a reminder of the essentials you expect.

Should we care about Internet Explorer 6?

There was a time, five years ago, when Microsoft’s “Internet Explorer” web browser had such a dominant market share that it was hardly worth web designers worrying about what websites looked like in other browsers. Remember those “Best Viewed in Microsoft Internet Explorer” badges you’d see on some sites? That was an attempt by designers to persuade as many users as possible to standardise on one browser, so they’d never again have problems with display incompatibilities. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer never really adhered to the agreed web standards, and that reached… Read More »

Persuading website visitors to do what you want

Far too many business-to-business website owners look no further than competitors in their market sector when assessing if their website is up to scratch. That would be fine if your prospects’ activities on the web consisted of no more than looking at your website and those of your competitors. Sadly, your average visitor probably has some wonderful sites in their browsing history, and that’s what they’ll be comparing you to. In an effort to appear “professional”, most business-to-business websites simply appear boring, which is a very different thing. Nowhere is… Read More »

Rebuilding your website around usability

To some people, “website design” simply means the look and feel of things, which is why for many years, website designers were usually just graphic designers who’d learned to use Adobe Dreamweaver or whatever. That’s a bit like asking your printer to write your company catalogue. Things have moved on, and today most businesses appreciate that good website design is a multi-skilled exercise, where the look and feel is just one aspect, alongside the structural design, the content, the search engine optimisation and more. If you ever get the opportunity… Read More »

The importance of the footer

Another great post from Smashing Magazine – Informative And Usable Footers In Web Design – looks at what to put in this small and neglected but important part of your website. What do people expect when they scroll to the very bottom of the page? It would appear they want “About” and “Contact” information, some sort of link to an index or site map, and (on long pages) a “Back to the Top” link. Obvious really, but does your site have these in place? I run about 20 websites, and… Read More »

Minimising the people who leave the store empty-handed

Sometimes there’s an assumption that because we’re in the business-to-business sector, our websites are entirely informational and we’re not really involved in selling online. I’m guilty of making that assumption, which suggests I don’t know my audience; I just had a look at the websites belonging to ten random readers, and two offered online shopping. If the sample can be scaled up, that means over 100 of you have to address the particular technology and operational demands of a “web store”, a task which can be tricky. Anyway, here’s a… Read More »

Icons – decoration, yes, but so much more

Because I care a lot about search engine optimisation, and because search engine optimisation is primarily about the words, I constantly have to remind myself of the importance of graphical images on a website. By that I don’t mean the product photos (which are also important), but the little touches which can make all the difference to readability and – ultimately – conversion rate. Let’s face it, a page of text is ugly. It needs breaking up, and not just with endless rules and boxes. In web design, the nicest… Read More »