By: Sarah Dussome
November 8, 2016
Websites are often used by viewers to learn about individuals and companies and to create positive lasting impressions. According to HubSpot, all successful websites must provide viewers with the answers to three fundamental questions: “Who am I?”, “What I do?”, and “What can you do here?” Whether a viewer deliberately seeks out a website or stumbles upon one by accident, they often have certain expectations, such as good organization, complimentary colour schemes, and, to some degree, an aesthetically pleasing design.
With these criteria in mind, author Isabel Allende maintains an excellent example of an engaging website. While it is not the most attractive website, it is simple, sophisticated, and immaculately organized, allowing the viewer to locate the various tabs and peruse the site without distraction. Although I haven’t read any of Allende’s books, her website clearly showcases her personal brand, giving me the impression that she is sophisticated and writes equally sophisticated content.
On the other hand, The Yale University School of Art website does not uphold the level of professionalism that one would expect from a prestigious university. While it is good for a laugh (and certainly showcases the whimsy of abstract creativity), I think it’s a bit concerning that anyone is able to edit the page and that there is no way to monitor any obscene content that could be potentially uploaded. While anything from the font size and background colour may be edited, the glittering American flag always remains, providing further distraction from the page’s poorly organized content and making the web page look even more like one of those games websites you played on as an elementary kid. Along with failing to answer the “Who I am”, “What I do”, and “What you can do here” questions, the website does not offer good navigation and mobility, nor does it possess an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Although I previously had some ideas of how to create a good website, I now have a heightened awareness of how it can make or break a viewer’s first impression. Even though it is important to accurately represent yourself and/or your company, it is equally important to consider your audience and the impression that you wish to leave on them.