Using Website Animation and Special Effects Wisely
If you are attempting to design you own e-commerce website, you must have a creative streak in your personality. Creative folks are the ones who enjoy trying new and different things and deplore the "same old same old." While creativity is undoubtedly a great thing, it's also important to remember the basic reason why you have a web presence in the first placeâ€¦you want to sell something.
Therefore, you may need to tamp down your creativity a bit in order to accomplish your main business goals. Even though there are an infinite number of ways that you can make your website unique and different, there are also a few basic rules that you should follow in order to make your online store inviting and friendly for the customers. In short, just because you can use all sorts of cool effects and animations, it doesn't mean that you should.
If you really hate "boring" websites and think that the way to avoid them is to insert bright colors, animated navigation buttons, or tons of flash players, you should rethink that concept. By all means, give your site its own unique personality, but don't do it with too many doo-dads and gee gaws. Being on the "cutting edge" does not mean you need to display each and every new technological advancement that comes along. In fact, there is a lot to be said for simplicity when it comes to terrific web design. Here are a few tips for using special effects wisely when designing your site.
Â· Understand that blinking and beeping can detract from your main purpose. While it might be fun to have your navigation buttons in the shape of twinkling stars, such effects usually overwhelm the content that is available on your website by drawing the eye away from the products and services you are presenting. Of course you should make it easy for a visitor to get around your site, but make the buttons accessories, rather than the main show.
Â· Keep your use of Flash to a minimum. Remember that a video that lasts three minutes can seem like it takes an hour to play on a computer. Many of your potential customers will just not wait for it to load and play. Think very carefully before inserting Flash animation. Does it really advance your main message? Chances are good that if you are selling football gear, for instance, a short clip of a fantastic catch, run, or throw might enhance your site. But if your products are books, accounting services, or other things that don't lend themselves to action, you may be better off without any Flash at all. If you do decide to use it, just remember that a little goes a long way. (Learn about Browser Compatibility issues here.)
Keep in mind the fact that any content you put into a Flash video will not be searchable by the search engines. In other words, it will not help to bring visitors to your site. Will it make them want to stay there? Be sure the answer to that is yes.
Â· Limit your use of music and sound files. If you are selling music CD's or lessons, you have a valid reason for including some music files in your website, but almost no other products or services need them. Research indicates that many Internet users browse while listening to their own tunes, either off or online. The last thing they need is an annoying music file starting up when they least expect it. The same thing is true of links and buttons that beep or buzz when they are clickedâ€¦totally unnecessary. If you are convinced that a song will enhance your presentation, at the very least give your visitors the option of being able to lower the volume of the music easily or opt out of it all together if they choose. (Check out this piece on Clean Web Design.)
All in all, you should try to focus on the products that you are promoting, not on how "techy" you can get. Spend a little time surfing the web yourself while paying special attention to sites that draw you in and cause you to stick around a while. Ask yourself what attracted you, and look carefully at the components that gave you a positive first impression. Chances are, the sites that catch your interest are crisp and professional looking, and those are good qualities to strive for when building an online business.
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