Good content that people want to use is central to a successful website. How it is presented is also crucial to its effectiveness. Our considerable experience of all the following techniques means that we can ensure your content is tailored to your users' needs, easy for them to use and accessible – for people and for search engines.
In the blink of an eye, internet-users make up their minds about the quality of a website. Recent research has shown that people form their first impressions of web pages in just a 20th of a second.
These snap decisions users make about the quality of a web page have a lasting impact on their opinions. This is because of what is known to psychologists as the ‛halo effect’. If people believe a website looks good, then this positive impression will spread to other areas, such as the content, credibility and usability.
Creating a fast-loading, professional, well-designed website, which quickly communicates the appropriate mood to your desired audience, is vital.
The use of mobile phones and tablets to access the internet is increasing rapidly. At Envoy, we build mobile-first, responsive websites. A flexible, responsive design allows websites to work from a single set of code that resizes the layout of the content to fit whatever screen a particular visitor is using at that time. This means that there is no need for a separate mobile website.
To see how this works, try resizing your browser window to a narrower width and watch what happens to the content on these pages. Other examples include: curioustenthire.co.uk, eskvalleyoutings.co.uk, tomtesofhilltopwood.com. All of these websites were created by Envoy.
How people absorb information from websites is different from how they do so from printed materials. On the web, people tend to browse or scan information, rather than really ‛read’ it the way they would read a book or a magazine article.
Studies have shown that:
- 79% of web-users scan a new page for individual words or sentences; only 16% read it word-for-word
- reading from a computer screen is about 25% slower than reading from paper.
Therefore when writing for the web you need to:
- be succinct – half the word count of conventional writing works well on the web
- structure text so that it is easy to scan – blocks of text with headlines, sub-headings and short paragraphs
- use bulleted lists to provide entry points to the text
- use meaningful hypertext links and highlighted keywords to make important words catch the user's eye.
COPY-EDITING AND PROOFING
The credibility of a website is harmed by incorrect grammar, spelling or punctuation, typographical errors and broken links. Our background in publishing means that we understand the importance of attention to detail and implementing production procedures and schedules which ensure that webpages are thoroughly checked.
Getting people to read web pages is difficult, which means that paying careful attention to good typography is very important. Recent changes in web technology have given web-designers much more control over how type appears on-screen. At Envoy, we pay particular attention to choosing legible fonts, defining a column width which is comfortable for the eye and adjusting the leading (the space between lines) to ensure that text is engaging and easy to read.
Typography which is suitable for the printed page is applied to the printer-friendly pages. For instance, the font can be altered and the width of the text made to fill the full width of the A4 printed page. This will make the pages easier to read and also save paper and ink.
We have considerable experience of sourcing and optimising photographs,and creating static and animated graphics for the web (view examples). All images carry 'alt' text and credit lines feature where necessary.
SITE ARCHITECTURE & NAVIGATION
Finding our way around the virtual world is different from elsewhere; lots of cues that we depend on in the real world simply aren't present in this environment.
Clear, simple and consistent navigation is vital. It lets people know where they are and what they can do, as well as giving them confidence in the website.
If people can't understand something, they simply won't engage with it. All of us, when we are able to, avoid things which make our lives more difficult.
Someone visiting a website might be able to get what they want from it, eventually, and they will persevere if it is the only place they can get that information; but ideally you want to help them to get what they want with the minimum time and effort. Then, having had a good experience, they will keep coming back.
Good usability is achieved through understanding the users' experience of a website, mainly through observing them. Usability testing with even quite a small number of people (probably five or six) during the development of a website can yield very useful results.
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
Envoy includes a range of features to ensure that websites are accessible.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
The quality and accessibility of the content on your website will have a big impact on its ranking with search engines. This ranking can be further enhanced by writing keyword-rich copy and ensuring that the information is presented in a search-engine-friendly way.
Envoy worked with Propellernet, one of the leading specialist search-engine marketing companies, to implement a range of techniques to enhance OrionBooks’ search-engine rankings.
Right from the start of any project, Envoy takes into consideration the behaviour of search engines.