Using Design to Engage Readers

Design

The Internet is filled with thousands of beautifully designed websites that are both aesthetically pleasing to visitors as well as user-friendly and functional, serving the dual purpose of capturing reader interest and providing a rewarding Web experience. And then there's some that don't quite hit the mark.

How does your digital magazine stand up? If you aren't getting the traffic you expect, perhaps you might want to consider a redesign, incorporating important and effective design elements that will improve the look of your site without sacrificing content and functionality.

Content and design should be partners

Every savvy marketer knows that content is king when it comes to giving consumers what they want on the Web. But if you don't have a strong, attractive design to showcase your content, visitors may leave your site in favor of a competitor. Design elements should be used in partnership with content to present a site that engages readers and improves brand recognition.

Ditch the clutter, savor the space

A cluttered website is a website that annoys readers. Using space to improve flow, highlight specific elements or areas of content, and creating focal points is a key component of good web design.

White space is often a key element in print advertising as well, commanding attention in a more elegant and sophisticated manner, rather than being the design equivalent of someone shouting in your face.

Fonts & Logos

Are you trying to present a company that is professional and corporate or whimsical and fun? Logos may be one of the first things a reader sees when they view your print ad or website, and the fonts you use for headlines, captions or other text elements help create a tone for the whole piece. Make sure the tone of the design matches the tone of the text so your design and content support each other.

Images that tell a story

What is a website without images? Bland and boring of course. But how you layout your images also makes a difference. Will you use images that encompass the entire background of the page, or a series of images to punctuate the content? Regardless of your choice, the images should serve a purpose in helping to tell a story.

A great example of a site that incorporates all three of these important design elements is BK Ultrasound. Note the layout of the user-friendly navigational bar as well. Another place to learn from is the Boston University site. It presents a modern, clean site with all the important information showcased.

Of course, there are other design trends that come and go, but the important building blocks of any functional, successful website remain the same.

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