Is ADA Website Compliance Important?

Why Making Your Website ADA Compliant Is A Necessity

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was created by congress as a supplement the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin. The ADA was created to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination and to ensure accessibility. In the real world, this applies to the physical accommodation to businesses as building construction and alterations must comply with ADA design standards. While most of us are familiar with these requirements, many of us might be surprised to learn that the same standards apply to the digital world, in particular websites. The standards are to ensure that people with disabilities are able to access content to a website with the same convenience as people without disabilities. As a business, government agency or non-profit organization, you are compelled by the law to remove any technical obstructions that may discriminate against people with disabilities. Failure to comply with ADA design standards may result in fines or even a lawsuit. Do I have your attention now?

In 2019, ADA compliance should be considered a priority when building a website.

ADA

With the emergence of the World Wide Web in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, it became apparent that website standards were not compliant with ADA standards. The user experience for people with disabilities was frustrating and unwelcoming. Lawmakers acted to extend the protection of people with disabilities to include “goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet.” During this time, the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web, began to take root. W3C standards were created in a cooperative with academic institutions, businesses and government agencies in an effort to ensure that WWW does not stand for Wild, Wild West. Unified standards makes life easier for everyone and ensures a more consistent online experience. The standards created by the W3C and the aims of the ADA made good bed fellows. Soon, Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, adopted W3C compliance standards, mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.

Confused? Don’t be. Whether it’s the ADA, Section 508, or W3C-compliance standards, when building a website all you need to concern yourself with is to ensure that it is fully accessible to all people. The W3C established the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or the WCAG(v2), a shared set of guidelines, “with the goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.” WCAG2 was designed specifically for web developers and compels them to comply. Under this guidance, there are three levels of conformance defined as: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). Depending on the nature of your organization, these levels will indicate to the government that you are either under compliance or begging for a discrimination lawsuit. In 2017, the Department of Justice passed official guidelines on website accessibility standards to be in line with AA requirements. This is why its is so important that when you work with a web design agency that they comply with the WCAG.

Here are some examples of WCAG guidelines your website should follow:

ADA Compliance

  • Provide text alternatives to non-text content such as buttons, input fields, charts, graphics, images, and anything else that is vital to the user’s experience.
  • Add captions for videos, recorded audio and livestreams or broadcasts, clearly labeling alternative text, and providing sign language interpretations for various types of media.
  • Make your website accessible by keyboard, so that persons with disabilities can use the “Tab” command to shift from field to field, instead of operating the cursor using a mouse or a touch pad.
  • Make the site as easy to navigate as possible by using clear indicators such as large-font text for buttons and controls, clearly labeling headers and menu options, and keeping content logically organized.
  • Potentially seizure inducing content does not comply. Examples include
  • Avoid bright flashing graphics and audio-visual content with a fast montage to prevent potential seizures.
  • Provide users with enough time to navigate the website. This means no flashing instructions or input fields that disappear after a short period of time.
  • Use the correct language attribute in their HTML code, so the page loads with the most commonly used language. This also applies to alternative text for images, videos, text-to-speech synthesizers and other multi-media content.
  • Close captioning on videos in crucial, especially for the deaf community.
  • PDF documents need to be properly tagged so that screen readers can properly interpret non-HTML content.
  • Adherence to web development best standards will ensure that content displays properly for all users.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

ADA Compliance

As awareness of the need to create websites that are accessible to people with disabilities, if not for better customer experience than to protect against potential lawsuits, the term “ADA Compliant” has become a marketing term for web design agencies. Do not buy into it hook, line and stinker. As Ronald Reagan once stated, “Trust, but verify”. To ensure that your website is ADA compliant, DEEPBLUE provides a comprehensive audit to ensure that it meets minimal ADA requirements as defined by the government for your industry. Federal and state agencies have the highest standards, followed by large, public corporations. However, if you run a small-to-midsize business don’t believe that you are flying under the radar. ADA compliance should be considered a best practice in web design and it will give you the piece of mind that you are safe from potential litigation while ensuring that you provide the best possible user experience for your customers.

If you are concerned about ADA compliance please contact us today for a complementary assessment.

Anna Oderinde

Anna Oderinde is a project manager at DEEPBLUE.

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Is My WordPress Website Secure?

4 Best Practices To Follow To Stay Safe

For those of us in the web design industry, the emergence of open source and in particular WordPress as the dominant website platform has been nothing short of amazing. In 10 short years, the prevalence of expensive, proprietary .NET platforms has been usurped by a humble blog. Today, WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, with over 75,000,000 active sites.

WordPress Market Share

With all the accolades, however, there has been a controversy that has plagued the platform for years: security. Is a WordPress website a secure website? I will put this issue to bed with two words.

Yes, but…

The reputation of WordPress as not secure is based on a myth wrapped in truth. The reality is, most CMS use similar security protocols and architecture, but WordPress from its humble roots made it very easy for lazy developers to unwittingly create an unsecured website by not following simple best practices.

Lowering the Barrier to Entry

First off, as an open source platform there is no licensing fee associate with WordPress. This lowered the barrier to entry and suddenly there were thousands of “professional” web designers opening shop. These are the folks I call the “Do-It-Yourselfers”, the kind that would rather go to Home Depot and get the materials to build their own backyard patio instead of hiring a professional. In their haste to deliver, the Do-It-Yourselfers used shortcuts, including relying on default password settings instead of taking the two minutes to create a login password that a hacker can’t figure out by guessing the city you were born in or your favorite sports team. Everyone familiar with WordPress knows where to find the admin: mydomian.com/wp-admin. Honestly, if you really have an axe to grind and find yourself at this doorstep is it not in the realm of possibility that given the prevalence of WordPress websites out there that it is inevitable that there will be hacks?

WordPress Login

The truth behind the myth that WordPress is not a secure CMS is that it was perpetuated by sheer laziness and that WordPress became a victim of its own success. WordPress is secure, but only if you follow WordPress Security Best Practices.

WordPress as a non-profit community has a team of developers focused on security issues. When a vulnerability is found and reported within the community, a patch is immediately created and added to the latest version update. This is why it’s so important to keep your version of WordPress Core current. In addition to the core platform, plugins created by third party developers are a major source of security vulnerabilities and should always be kept up to date. So, how can you protect yourself against attacks?

Here are 4 best practices to follow to keep your WordPress website safe:

Wordpress Website Security

Be Smart With Your Password.

This is the frontline of defense. Do not create a password using personal information that hackers might figure out. Make it long and non-sensical. Use at least 6 characters and a mashup of letters, numbers, punctuation, lower and higher cap. Make sure to change out your password at least every three months.

Install a Security Plugin.

WordPress security plugins are a great way to keep your website safe against security vulnerabilities. Here are my recommendations for the 7 best security plugins available for WordPress:

  • WordFence
  • BulletProof Security
  • Acunetix WP SecurityScan
  • 6Scan Security
  • Sucuri Security
  • iThemes Security
  • All In One WP Security & Firewall

Stay Up To Date.

Keep your WordPress Core and plugins current. Just make sure to backup your website before making any updates. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself hire a professional to manage your updates.

Work With a Dependable Development Agency.

The sad truth about the WordPress myth is that most attacks are human-related. Find a developer that adheres to WordPress best practices and can design and implement a security update schedule, including backups.

Conclusion

As a strictly .NET company for over 15 years, DEEPBLUE  has embraced open source platforms, in particular WordPress. The advantages are significant. As the most popular CMS in the world, WordPress provides a development community that no other platform can touch. In comparison to other open source platforms, such as Drupal and Joomla, WordPress is extremely intuitive and provides the same robust features. In comparison with proprietary .NET platforms, there is no cost for licensing and you will not have to worry about a company going out of business and losing all support. The myth that WordPress is not secure can officially be put to rest.

If you are concerned about WordPress Website Security please contact us today for a complementary assessment.

Anna Oderinde

Anna Oderinde is a project manager at DEEPBLUE.

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Is Your Website Search Engine Optimized?

7 Questions To Ask To Increase Visibility

Have you ever fantasized about having a friend at Google that at the click of a button could move your website to the top search ranking for all your critical keywords? I know I have. Our position on search engine results can be make-or-break for small businesses and non-profit organizations as we depend on organic traffic to connect with our target audiences. High ranking equates to lots of traffic and opportunity. Low ranking leads to irrelevance and Chapter 7. So, how do you know if your website is performing well on your behalf?

Here are 7 questions to ask:

Is your website getting penalized?

Google’s search engine operates on two major algorithms, Panda and Penguin, that get updated 500-600 times each year. The stated purpose for these algorithms is to “to reward high-quality websites and diminish the presence of low-quality websites in Google’s organic search engine results.” For each update, websites become exposed to penalties based on changes to the algorithms. Historically, this has been a result of the cat-and-mouse game between search engines and SEO specialists that employ what is referred to as “black hat” SEO tactics. These tactics can include duplicating content, keyword stuffing and link schemes, all of which are designed to artificially increase your ranking. If your website has been flagged by Google, then you are being penalized and will experience a significant drop in search traffic if not shut out completely. In order to remove your website from the Google blacklist, you must remove all of the offending tactics that got you flagged. To find out if your website is blacklisted, go to https://tools.geekflare.com/tools/blacklist-test.

Is your website guilty of plagiarism?

Plagiarism is alive and well and thriving on the Internet. The very fact that we are given instant access to an infinite amount of content makes it all the more easier to take shortcuts when adding content to our website pages and blog posts. Unfortunately for would-be plagiarists, search engines are aware of this problem as they believe that plagiarized content hurts the quality of their searches and results in higher ranking for low-quality websites. If your website uses plagiarized content you will get penalized. To see if your site contains plagiarized content, click here: https://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/. Search engines want web pages to feature evergreen content, which is fresh, unique content that is relative to the website it resides in.

Is your website responsive?

Although responsive websites are now the industry standard, millions of websites still do not provide a mobile-friendly experience. In addition to the poor showing your website will have for site visitors using mobile devices it will also hurt your organic search rankings. In 2015, Google updated their mobile search algorithms to favor websites that are built on a responsive framework. The company will judge you by how “mobile friendly” your website is as they consider the mobile user experience to be core to their belief that high-quality websites deserve higher ranking than low-quality sites. If your website is not responsive it is time for an upgrade.

Is your website fast?

Another website quality that Google covets is speed. A fast website creates a better user experience and happier customers. To ensure that your website is humming along, make certain that it is coded properly at the structural level. You may need a developer to take a look at your source code to determine this. Code may be optimized that creates a more efficient website, such as reducing the number of CSS files and javaScript files. Test all the images on the website to ensure that they have been optimized for download times. Use different images for mobile view than you do for desktop view. Make certain that you are using a reputable host company that offers tier-one access to the Internet. To test your website performance, go to GT Metrix and run a free optimization report: https://gtmetrix.com/.

Are your pages optimized for SEO?

If your website runs on WordPress you have many advantages for SEO. WordPress has evolved into a SEO-friendly CMS platform, plus there are several plugins you can add that will increase the quality of your SEO on pages. I recommend that you download Yoast SEO as it provides excellent tools for on-page optimization. For each page, Yoast allows you to add focus keyphrases, keywords that are the most relevant to the content on that particular page. Using your focus keyphrases, you then create your title and meta-description. By using these key phrases at least three times in the content area of your website you will ensure that your page is SEO-friendly.

Is your website optimized by outbound SEO?

Outbound SEO are strategies designed to increase your organic ranking using external pages. One of Google’s top criterion for organic ranking is the number of websites that link to yours. Their reasoning is that websites that have the highest number of links must be very popular, and thus desirable for searchers. Many black hat SEO marketers have resorted to creating artificial or low-quality websites with the sole purpose of tricking Google into thinking a website is more popular than it actually is. These are called link schemes, and don’t fall for it. Google will nail you with penalties. The best way to build a healthy outbound SEO strategy is to share links with other reputable sites and register your site on industry directories.

Does your website use XML sitemaps?

Sitemaps have been used since the creation of the first websites as a tool to help users navigate. As useless as they tended to be it was very common to find a link at the bottom of a web page. Today, site navigation best practices have greatly increased the user experience and negated the need for users to click on a site map in order to access the information they are looking for. Although, XML sitemaps are not designed specifically for human users anymore, they are certainly of great value to search engines. XML sitemaps allow search engines to crawl a website more effectively and index every page, including pages that may otherwise be isolated from the main pages. If your website runs on WordPress and you have the Yoast SEO pugin installed activating your XML sitemaps is very simple. Once you’ve installed your maps, go to Google Webmaster Tools to register your XML sitemaps with Google.

Conclusion

The issues we covered in this article represent just a few critical actions you can take to improve your website ranking on search engines. Although there are technical steps that can improve a website’s performance it is important to note that  SEO is not a quick-fix or one-time task. Effective SEO requires ongoing strategies that take time and commitment in order to deliver on desired results. If your business or non-profit organization is interested in professional SEO services please contact us today and request a complimentary SEO assessment.

If you are interested in Search Engine Optimization please contact us today for a complementary assessment.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DEEPBLUE. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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5 Web Design Strategies For Non-Profits

How Your Organization Can Thrive In A Digital World

Lets face it, non-profits and technology don’t always make for good bedfellows. Non-profits face many challenges, from keeping the lights on, fundraisers, donor and member relations and bureaucratic squabbling, that tend to occupy much of the bandwidth. However, there  are other nuances that lead to predictable outcomes. Non-profit organizations are comprised of idealists; folks that are out to change the world for the better. These people have often spent years compiling degrees, writing dissertations and sometimes traveling to the farthest outposts of the globe to care for people or creatures in need. A noble endeavor, indeed. However, the concept of marketing can seem like a foreign notion, as non-profits seek to make a difference without shining the spotlight. It can be culturally ingrained that promotion is somehow a thing to avoid, as if the attempt in doing compromises the integrity of the cause. This is unfortunate, as minimizing the message diminishes the impact. Non-profits should embrace technology, and the most impactful and cost-effective way to do so is through the proper use of web technologies.

Here are 5 web design best practices for non-profits:

DEEPBLUE Non-profit web design

Promote your organization online to deliver your message.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the U.S. That is a very crowded room, and unless you can effectively communicate your organization’s message and purpose, you stand a real chance that you will get drowned out in all the chatter. Just as with anything in life, we can’t all be the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation or the Susan G Komen Foundation. We can’t assume that people know who we are or what we are trying to do. This is a critical task for your website, and it needs to be clear and simple. The website needs to tell your story. It needs to elicit an emotional response from site visitors. It needs to drive them to take action.

Utilize social media.

Social media is an ideal platform for non-profit organizations invest. According to Brandwatch, the average daily time spent on social is 116 minutes a day. This is an engaging and captive audience that loves to share engaging, emotional stories with their friends, family and co-workers. Non-profit organizations need to create unique content that catches the attention of your social audience, and if your’re lucky some of them might even go viral. Interesting videos, fundraisers, personal stories, etc. A few years ago we created a Facebook ad for the Tennessee Aquarium that had a humorous approach. The observer was asked to guess how many fish were in a picture and post their answer. As the viewer strained to count the fish the image suddenly morphed into a great white shark attacking the screen. It had a simple shock value to it and was shared by over 10,000 people. Simple campaign, effective results.

Take your fundraising online.

Fundraising is the lifeblood of any non-profit organization. Your non-profit web design needs to be your most compelling fundraising vehicle, and don’t play coy. An effective online fundraising strategy is aggressive and visible. Make certain that site visitors are aware of how they can donate at all times. Every page on the website should have a “Donate Now” button. The website should drive the user to all different types of fundraising options, including online donation, attend a fundraiser, membership, sponsorship, gift honor, merchandise, etc. One great platform we highly recommend is Network For Good (www.networkforgood.com), which offers a variety of fundraising services to help even the smallest non-profit organization become a fundraising rockstar. Regardless of your online fundraising strategies, make them as simple as possible and incentivize your audience to take action through  effective storytelling.

Engage the media.

With all the talk of fake news these days it is important to know that the press is still the best way to get your message out to the largest possible target audience. Make sure that all of your site updates are submitted to media channels, some of them might pick them up for mass coverage. Install a news aggregator on your website. Create a mailing list for breaking news blasts and make certain to ask your site visitors to subscribe. Update your blog weekly. Push all your press releases out to social media. Create a media kit for journalists to download. Provide a contact name and information on your website so that the press can reach you for comment. Get to know your local journalists.

Organize grassroot activities.

Not everyone can make financial contributions to your organization, but they would still like to help. Use your non-profit web design as a platform to encourage volunteering at a local level. Provide a volunteer kit that anyone can download and follow to organize local charity drives that promotes your message and fundraising. Have contests that recognizes local heroes that are making a difference. Feature them on your website, give them an opportunity to tell their story and why they are so impassioned about your organization. Show pictures and videos of folks wearing your gear and engaging in the community. This generates buzz, excitement, goodwill and results.

Conclusion

Non-profit web design strategies can be highly effective. We strongly recommend that non-profit organizations embrace a web marketing strategy that revolves around their website. Invest in a strong web presence by a professional web design agency that specializes in non-profits and properly reflects your organization’s purpose, culture and values. Keep your website current and active with new blog posts and press releases. Turn your website into a fundraising machine. Engage social media. Connect with journalists. Encourage grassroot activities.

We are recognized as a top California Web Design Agency on DesignRush.

Anna Oderinde

Anna Oderinde is a project manager at DEEPBLUE.

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7 Web Design Best Practices

What Your Web Design Agency Should Know

Although web design best practices have evolved over the years, some things have not. In this article we will discuss the 6 web design best practices that your web design agency should know.

DEEPBLUE Web Design

Know Your Business

Your web design agency does not need to know how to modify your software architecture, increase efficiencies in your manufacturing process or develop new service lines. However, your web design agency does need to understand your business fundamentals: who you are, your core values, what you do, who you do it for and how you differentiate yourself from your competition. Your web design agency should also understand your culture. A tech startup in San Francisco, for example, will have a vastly different culture than a manufacturer in Waco, Texas.

Know Your Target Audience

As mentioned above, your web design agency needs to know your target audience. Most organizations have multiple audiences, so your web design agency needs to know how to structure your website architecture to cater to each specific audience.

Content & Information Architecture

They say on the web that content is king, and this is true. But content left unchecked can quickly become a vast wasteland of dead, scrolling pages that customers will either ignore or become so frustrated with that they leave the website. Whether your new website is using repurposed content or you are creating fresh content, it needs to be well organized. Information architecture is the process in which your web design agency will effectively organize your content. This includes creating navigation schemas, page wireframes and search systems that will provide the blueprint for a well organized website.

Design, Design, Design

Content defines information architecture, information architecture defines design, design defines how successful your new website will be in the eyes of your customer. I describe information architecture as the UI (user interface) and design as the UX (user experience). The design of your website will represent you in the most practical sense, and it needs to be a true representative of your business. Your web design agency should create a custom design based on collaboration and focused on UX on both desktop and mobile views. The process of building a website that adapts itself according to screen size and device is called responsive web design, which is an absolute standard in 2018. If your web design agency does not use responsive web design on its own site or client examples run away. Don’t look back, just run away. A good tool to test for responsive web design can be found at Responsinator: https://www.responsinator.com/.

Content Management System

Your web design agency should build your website using a content management system, or CMS, that is intuitive, robust, scalable, flexible and open source (non proprietary). WordPress is the most popular open source CMS in the world and is our recommended CMS of choice. With WordPress, you get all of the advantages of using a content management system without any of the drawbacks, including ease of use for non-programmers, a large online community of add-on developers, security and perhaps most importantly for small business owners, no license fees. If your web design agency is pushing you towards a licensed platform ask them how it has any advantage over WordPress in regards to these factors.

Calls to Action

Calls to action are the most important psychological drivers on your website. They drive users to desirable outcomes you have already identified during the planning stages of your website. Your web design agency should work with you to help determine the calls to action and make certain that they take priority in the overall flow and structure of your website. Calls to action can include filling out a request form, signing up for a newsletter, register as a customer, make a purchase or join your social networks. The flow of the website in regards to calls to action should be designed during the information architecture and design phase of the project. All calls to action should be measurable via analytics.

Web Standards

Web standards are invisible, but critical to the overall success of your website. Web standards ensure that with compliance your website will be optimized for search engine optimization (SEO), cross browser compatibility, mobile device compatibility, site performance and accessibility. The most popular web standards are the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the “Living Standard” created by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) and ADA government standards for accessibility compliance. To test your website for W3C compliance go to https://validator.w3.org/. Ask your web design agency about web standards. Have them place a web standards compliance guarantee in their service and maintenance agreements.

Conclusion

This list of web design best practices is just the tip of the iceberg and I will be adding more components in more blogs to come. The purpose of this article is to help you determine which web design agency is best for you. Afterall, you are the last word on whether or not it fails or succeeds.

We are recognized as a top E-Commerce Design & Development Company on DesignRush.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DEEPBLUE. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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7 Web Design Trends for 2019

Keep Your Website Relevant With Emerging Trends

It’s that time of year again when we in the web design industry look back on the previous year and marvel at all the breakthroughs that occurred while looking forward with Nostradamus-like accuracy to all the predictions, trends, buzz and ill-guided persuasion attempts the new year will bring to web design best practices. I’ve come to view my annual article about web design trends as obligatory as my New Year’s resolutions, which never last past February. Anyway, 2018 was a good year for steady evolutionary increments in web design, such as the further standardization of responsive web design, chatbots, micro-interactions, asymmetry, tactile design and font personalization. So what can we expect in 2019? Here are 7 trends that you should consider for your website.

More Focus on UX

UX, or User Experience, is a central tenet to all modern web design. I like to define UX by pairing it with UI (User Interface) and then making an analogy that has nothing to do with the web design industry. Let’s consider rental cars. If you are like me and travel constantly from airport to airport you have become very familiar with the exercise of de-boarding, dashing to grab your luggage and making a beeline to the car rental center. Rarely do I get the same type of vehicle twice, and I want my experience to be as painless as possible. I honestly don’t care if I get a compact, a sub-compact, a micro-compact, or a nano-compact as long as it gets me where I need to go. My issue has always been with the damn gas cap as I never seem to be able to find where the button is, whether on the dash, on the door, or (literally) hidden under the seat. Nothing frustrates me more than being stuck at a gas station and crawling through the entire car to find it. I always wonder why the engineers that designed the layout simply could not place the gas cap release some place that would be intuitive for all drivers, especially since these models constitute the majority of car rental fleets. I describe this as a very poor User Interface (UI), and because of this I have an equally poor User Experience (UX). You see, the design interface has a direct impact on the overall experience as a user of a product. Poor UI leads to poor UX. The same applies in web design. Make sure that your site is designed with the customer in mind.

More White Space

Apple started it, and we all followed. Then every website began to look like an Apple wannabe, so we all got away from it. Now it’s back, and not necessarily because Apple is no longer creating innovative products. For good design that translates well for desktop, tablets and smartphones (RWD), use less clutter and more white space. The proper use of white space amplifies the important calls to action on the page that you want your users follow. When it comes to web design, less is certainly more. Do not accept any design that has everything and the kitchen sink thrown into it. This is not expert design but rather an indication of of a designer that is aesthetically-challenged and is attempting to cover up deficiencies by continuing to add more and more to a page. Don’t fall for it. Keep it clean.

More Videos

For those of us old enough to remember when computers used to connect to the Internet using a phone line we can all commiserate with the excruciating experience of watching streaming videos on our CRT screens. Thankfully, those days are long gone as the Web is now a safe place for using video as content for your website. Videos are a fantastic way to tell your story and capture the interest of your target audience in a convenient snippet. More and more, you will see videos replacing static images for the hero section of websites, which is the main focal point of the home page. Using a CMS such as WordPress, it is extremely easy for site administrators to add videos on a daily basis. But make sure that the videos are relevant and of high quality. We recommend working only with reputable video production agencies that will help you craft your story, define your narrative and deliver your message on point. Also, you probably want to set up a premium account on a video platform such as Vimeo or YouTube to ensure that they run ad free.

More Bold Colors

Approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women in the world are color blind. They do not care about which colors you choose for your website. The rest of us do. Color evokes emotion. Color defines the tone, theme and attitude of a website, and bold colors used correctly can provide that extra ‘pop’ you need to really grab someone’s attention and pull them in. Eye tracking studies have shown that the proper use and balance of color can make a difference between bounce rates and conversions. Contrasting color within site elements make appropriate callouts more apparent and recognizable, which will help you craft a site that encourages them to take particular actions and more predictive outcomes. Modern computers can display 16,777,216 different colors, so there’s really no excuse to be drab and boring.

More Creative Fonts

Steve Jobs loved fonts. He hated the standard suite used for Windows PC’s (Arial, Helvetica, Sans-Serif) and was the first to insist that his Macs gave us a real choice and ability to express ourselves with personality and creativity using fontography. Fonts are a pillar of good web design that is often and shamelessly overlooked. More than anything, fonts establish attitude and individuality. One of the best ways to make your website stand out is to get creative with your use of fonts. Always ask your web designer what fonts they like to use and how they can help you establish a font profile for your website that is fresh and appealing.

More Gradients

What a second… did I just write that? For years, I HATED gradients. They were the bane of my very existence. I perceived any use of gradients as a cheap conjuring of poor web design used by designers that simply did not have a clue about good web design philosophy. And worst, they looked HORRIBLE on those older CRT monitors and low quality graphics chips. But as those old menthol ads used to say, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby. Today, modern chips and screen technologies have the processing power and higher resolution necessary to display gradients as they were initially intended and look fantastic on a website. Gradients provide a subtlety to a design that will allow your colors to shine and your use of fonts to pop. They serve as a conduit from one graphical element to another, allowing your users to transition seamlessly from one section of a page to another. Look for gradients to be a popular choice in 2019.

More Responsive Web Design

Yes, Responsive Design was a top trend for 2018 and 2017 and 2016 and 2015, etc. Need I say more? Responsive Web Design, which is an approach to designing web pages using fluid-based proportion grids, media queries and scalable images, has completely revolutionized the web design industry. In the era of the mobile web, it is imperative that web design place equal emphasis on desktop, tablet and smartphone devices. Responsive websites are easy to maintain and do not require developing a separate mobile site, plus they are compliant with modern web standards, ensuring browser compatibility and search engine optimization. Do not ever consider working with a web design agency that has not adopted responsive web design as its development standard.

Conclusion

This is where I remind you of how important your website is to your brand and marketing strategies and how keeping up with web design trends in 2019 will help you maintain a competitive advantage, yaddi, yaddi, yaddi. Just keep in mind that trends are just that… trends. What’s hot sauce today is cold soup tomorrow, so always approach trends in web design with a modicum of salt. Regardless of how things change with technology and social preference, the fundamentals of marketing remain. Always present yourself with confidence.

 

Antje Knott

Antje Knott is the Social Media Manager for DEEPBLUE. She has over 10 years of industry experience as a wordsmith, social media manager, SEO/SEM specialist and digital advertising executive.

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8 Effective Web Design Principles You Should Know

Follow These Web Design Principles To Maximize Impact

The design of your website is more important for conversions than you think. You can implement any conversion boosting tactic in the world, but if it looks like crap, it won’t do you much good.

Design is not just something designers do. Design is marketing. Design is your product and how it works. The more I’ve learned about design, the better results I’ve gotten.

Here are 8 effective web design principles you should know and follow.

Effective Web Design Principle #1: Visual Hierarchy

Squeaky wheels get the grease and prominent visuals get the attention. Visual hierarchy is one of the most important principles behind good web design. It’s the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees.

Exercise. Please rank the circles in the order of importance:

Without knowing ANYTHING about these circles, you were easily able to rank them. That’s visual hierarchy.

Certain parts of your website are more important than others (forms, calls to action, value proposition etc), and you want those to get more attention than the less important parts. If you website menu has 10 items, are all of them equally important? Where do you want the user to click? Make important links more prominent.

Hierarchy does not only come from size. Amazon makes the ‘Add to cart’ call to action button more prominent by using color:

Start with the business objective

You should rank elements on your website based on your business objective. If you don’t have a specific goal, you can’t know what to prioritize.

Here’s an example, it’s a screenshot of the Williams Sonoma website. They want to sell outdoor cookware.

The biggest eye catcher is the huge piece of meat (make me want it), followed by the headline (say what it is) and call to action button (get it!). Fourth place goes to  a paragraph of text under the headline, fifth is the free shipping banner and the top navigation is last. This is visual hierarchy well done.

Exercise. Surf the web and consciously rank the elements in the visual hierarchy. Then go look at your own site. Is there something important (key information points that visitors are likely seeking) that is not high enough in the hierarchy? Change that.

Effective Web Design Principle #2: Divine Proportions

The golden ratio is a magical number 1.618 (\varphi) that makes all things proportioned to it aesthetically pleasing (or so it is believed).

Then there is also the Fibonacci sequence where each term is defined as the sum of the two previous terms: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on. The interesting thing is that we have two seemingly unrelated topics producing the same exact number.

Here’s what the golden ratio looks like:

Many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio. A famous example is Pantheon built in Ancient Greece:

Can it be used for web design? You betcha. Here’s Twitter:

Here’s a comment by Twitter’s creative director:

To anyone curious about #NewTwitter proportions, know that we didn’t leave those ratios to chance.

This, of course, only applies to the narrowest version of the UI. If your browser window is wider, your details pane will expand to provide greater utility, throwing off these proportions. But the narrowest width shows where we started, ratio-wise.

So, if your layout width is 960px, divide it by 1.618 (=593px). Now you know that the content area should be 593px and sidebar 367px. If the website height is 760px tall, you can split it into 470px and 290px chunks (760/1.618=~470).

Effective Web Design Principle #3: Hick’s Law

Hick’s law says that with every additional choice increases the time required to take a decision.

You’ve experienced this countless times at restaurants. Menus with huge options make it difficult to choose your dinner. If it just offered 2 options, taking a decision would take much less time. This is similar to Paradox of Choice – the more choice you give people, the easier it is to choose nothing.

The more options a user has when using your website, the more difficult it will be to use (or won’t be used at all). So in order to provide a more enjoyable experience, we need to eliminate choices. To make a better web design, the process of eliminating distracting options has to be continous throughout the design process.

In the era of infinite choice, people need better filters! If you sell a huge amount of products, add better filters for easier decision making.

Effective Web Design Principle #4: Fitt’s Law

Fitt’s Law stipulates that the time required to move to a target area (e.g. click a button) is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target. In other words, the bigger an object and the closer it is to us, the easier it is to use it.

Spotify makes it easier to hit ‘Play’ than other buttons:

They also place it (on the fullscreen Desktop app) in the bottom left corner, which is considered the most valuable real estate since the corners are technically the most accessible. This does not, however, apply to web design (due to scrolling and the way operating systems are).

It doesn’t mean that bigger is always better. A button that takes up half the screen is not a good idea, and we don’t need a mathematical study to know this. Even so, Fitts’ law is a binary logarithm. This means that the predicted results of the usability of an object runs along a curve, not a straight line.

A tiny button will become much easier to click when given a 20% size increase, while a very large object will not share the same benefits in usability when given the same 20% boost in size.

This is similar to rule of target size.

The size of a button should be proportional to its expected frequency of use. You can check your stats for which buttons people use the most, and make popular buttons bigger (easier to hit).

Let’s imagine there’s a form you want people to fill. At the end of the form, there are two buttons: “Submit” and “Reset” (clear fields).

99.9999% want to hit ‘submit’. Hence the button should be much bigger than ‘reset’.

Effective Web Design Principle #5: Rule of Thirds

It’s a good idea to use images in your design. A visual communicates your ideas much faster than any text.

The best images follow the rule of thirds: an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.

Using beautiful, big images contributes to design as it is (not withstanding the growth of Pinterest), following this rule will make them more interesting and thus your website more appealing.

Effective Web Design Principle #6: Gestalt Design Laws

Gestalt psychology is a theory of mind and brain. Its principle is that the human eye sees objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts.

Here’s what I mean:

Notice how you could see the dog without focusing on each black spot that the dog consists of?

The key takeaway here is that people see the whole before they see the parts. People always see the whole of your website first, before they distinguish the header, menu, footer and so on. As one of the founders of gestaltism Kurt Koffka said: the whole exists independently from the parts.

There are 8 so-called gestalt design laws that allow us to predict how people will perceive something. Here they are:

1. Law of Proximity 

People group things together that are close together in space. They become a single perceived object.

With effective web design, you need to make sure things that do NOT go together, are not perceived as one. Similarly, you want to group certain design elements together (navigation menu, footer etc) to communicate that they form a whole.

Craigslist uses this law to make it easy to understand which sub-categories fall under “for sale”:

2. Law of Similarity

We group similar things together. This similarity can occur in the form of shape, colour, shading or other qualities.

Here we group black dots into one group and whites into another one, because – well, the black dots look kind of similar to each other.

3. Law of Closure

We seek completeness. With shapes that aren’t closed, when parts of a whole picture are missing, our perception fills in the visual gap. We see two squares overlaid on four circles even though none of these shapes actually exist in the graphic.

Without the law of closure we would just see different lines with different lengths, but with the law of closure, we combine the lines into whole shapes.

Using the law of closure can make logos or design elemets more interesting. A good example of this is the World Wide Fund For Nature designed by Sir Peter Scott in 1961:

4. Law of Symmetry

The mind perceives objects as being symmetrical and forming around a center point. It is perceptually pleasing to be able to divide objects into an even number of symmetrical parts.

When we see two symmetrical elements that are unconnected, the mind perceptually connects them to form a coherent shape.

When we look at the image above, we tend to observe three pairs of symmetrical brackets rather than six individual brackets.

5. Law of Common Fate

We tend to perceive objects as lines that move along a path. We group together of objects that have the same trend of motion and are therefore on the same path.

People mentally group together sticks or raised hands pointing somewhere, because they all point in the same direction. You can use this to guide the user’s attention to something (e.g. a signup form, value proposition etc).

For example, if there is an array of dots and half the dots are moving upward while the other half are moving downward, we would perceive the upward moving dots and the downward moving dots as two distinct units.

6. Law of Continuity

People have a tendency to perceive a line as continuing its established direction. In cases where there is an intersection between objects (e.g. lines), we tend to perceive the two lines as two single uninterrupted entities. Stimuli remains distinct even with overlap.

Effective Web Design Principle #7: White space and clean design

White space (also called ‘negative space’) is the portion of a page left “empty”. It’s the space between graphics, margins, gutters, space between columns, space between lines of type or visuals.

It should not be considered merely ‘blank’ space — it is an important element of design. It enables the objects in it to exist at all. White space is all about the use of hierarchy. The hierarchy of information, be it type, colour or images.

A page without white space, crammed full of text or graphics, runs the risk of appearing busy, cluttered, and is typically difficult to read (people won’t even bother). This is why simple websites are scientifically better.

Enough white space makes a website look ‘clean’. While clean design is crucial to communicating a clear message, it doesn’t just mean less content. Clean design means a design that makes the best use of the space it is in. To make a clean design, you have to know how to communicate clearly by using white space wisely.

Made.com does white space well:

The fine use of white space makes it easy to focus on the main message and visuals, and the body copy easy to read.

White spaces promotes elegance and sophistication, improves legibility and drives focus.

Effective Web Design Principle #8: Occam’s Razor

Occam’s razor is a principle urging one to select among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions and thereby offers the simplest explanation of the effect. To put it in the design context, Occam’s Razor states that the simplest solution is usually best.

In a post about their Angelpad experience, Pipedrive guys say the following:

The Angelpad team and mentors challenged us in many ways. “You have too many things on your home page” was something we didn’t agree with at first, but we’re happy to test. And it turned out we had been wrong indeed. We removed 80% of the content, and left one sign-up button and one Learn More link on the home page. Conversion to sign up increased by 300%.

It’s not just about the looks, but also about ‘how it works’. Some companies – like 37Signals – have turned ‘simple’ into a business model.

Simple, minimal design does not automatically mean the design works, or is effective. But in my experience simple is always better than the opposite – and hence we should strive to simplify.

Conclusion

Effective web design and art are not the same.

You should design for the user and by having a business objective in mind. Using these web design principles you can get to aesthetically and financially rewarding results.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DEEPBLUE. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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7 Typography Trends in Web Design

Typography (n): the style, arrangement, or appearance of printed letters on a page.

And perhaps the most important design element of 2018.

The purpose of your site is to be read — and what you’re saying matters just as much as how you’re saying it. In 2018, text in web design continues to thrive under the helm of content-first design enthusiasts. We’ve rounded up the typography trends we’re seeing this year, many of which place text front and center — or, all over the page.

In 2006, Oliver Reichenstein published “Web Design is 95% Typography”, the second-most controversial artifact of that year — runner up to Borat. Reichenstein says, “Web design is not about picking great typefaces, it is how we use them.”

Let’s take a look at how we are using them.

1. Behold the bold hero

Big, bold, condensed, and unmistakably dramatic text is perhaps the most obvious use of text as a primary web design element. This year, we’re seeing hero images replaced by bold headlines that anchor homepages with brand names or messages.

The effect? A site’s typography becomes the site’s design. CreativeDoc, for example, masterfully creates a loud design out of six bold, white letters on a strong black background.

‍Font used: Dharma Gothic Heavy

 

Souffl, a European design and innovation company, employs condensed, bold, white text on a black background, then adds character with pops of animated color.

‍Font used: Custom (Souffl Web)

2. Put your best foot forward

Serifs continue their footed rise to the top of the font kingdom since we first nodded to this trend earlier this year.

Elegant titles and sophisticated headlines outfitted in popular serif fonts like Calluna and Minion are warding off serif naysayers. So, what are designers doing with their newfound love for … feet?

The designers behind Cobble Hill and Gin Lane are using them to infuse otherwise minimalist sites with a serif-induced elegance:

‍Fonts used: Arno Pro and Proxima Nova
‍Font used: Miller Disp, Lt

3. Captivate with plain ole text

The visual revolution that dominates journalism, among other industries, has yet to tarnish the importance and prominence of text in web design.

Justin Jackson’s site Words has been around for ages and it demonstrates how text alone can speak volumes on the web:

‍Font used: browser default

 

Now, in 2018, we’re seeing designers embrace words —what Jackson names the “most powerful tool on the web” — in their designs. It is no small feat to design a web page exclusively with text. But done well, we don’t even notice the lack of images.

 

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DEEPBLUE. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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5 Reasons Why Your Website Is Not Converting


How do you measure the success of a site? Conversion.

You could have a lot of traffic going to your site, but those visits don’t really matter if you aren’t converting them into customers. The only visitors that matter are those that are adding to your bottom-line. All other traffic is essentially wasted.

Are you finding yourself with a lot of traffic, selling the right products at competitive prices, yet not with many paying customers? Then read on to find out why your site isn’t converting and what you can do about it.

Check Your Current Conversion Rate

First things first, you should know your current conversion rate. Whether you measure your conversions by product purchases, brochure downloads or email newsletter signups: you need to be measuring and tracking those conversions regularly. You can track your conversion rate using Goals in Google Analytics or through any other analytics platform of your choosing.

So what’s considered a good conversion rate? The ideal rate is between 2 to 3 percent. This rate could be higher or lower based on the value of the conversion (e.g. you’d have more difficulty converting customers if you’re selling products or services worth $10,000+). But if you’re having less than 2 percent conversion and your conversion value isn’t very high, then you might have a problem on your hands.

Here are five reasons why your site may be underperforming.

#1. You’re Providing a Bad Mobile Experience

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, there is no way it will survive in these times. It isn’t enough for your site to be responsive, it has to be designed specifically for mobile in terms of content and structure. Failure to do so would mean marginalizing a substantial portion of your customer base and in turn decreasing your conversion rate.

But what does designing for mobile entail?

  • Using large and easily legible text
  • Using short paragraphs
  • Making sure that every key feature is just a tap away
  • Having just a single call-to-action

The key is to keep testing your mobile site. Perhaps you should even ask customers and family members for feedback on your site’s mobile experience. Afterwards, you should review what is working and what is not – and address those issues.

As long as you do not ignore the importance of having a good mobile experience for your site, you can easily hone in on the reason(s) your site is not converting.

#2. No Call to Action

Your website could be user-friendly with engaging and quality content, but without a clear and concise call-to-action, you simply won’t convert. Users may want to convert but just don’t have the opportunity or means to do so. Because you haven’t provided it.

Make your call-to-action clear, concise, prominent, specific and compelling. Provide all the information users need so they know exactly what you want them to do next. Create calls-to-action that are relevant and specific; and place them in a prominent place on every page of your site.

Whatever you do, make sure it is very easy for the user to convert when they are ready to.

#3. Your Users Are Annoyed with Your Website

You may be missing out on conversion opportunities if there is something off-putting about your site. Look at your bounce rate: if it is high, then you know there is something that is not appealing to users.

In such a case, you need to find out what the problem is – directly from the user. You may use heat maps and look at your user journeys via Google Analytics, but perhaps it will make your job easier to ask users directly (e.g. via a quick survey).

A few common annoyances on websites:

  • You do not offer any useful information
  • Navigation is too difficult
  • You have too many ads or popups
  • Your site doesn’t look good

These are all problems with a rather easy fix. Take your time investigating them and fix the errors as soon as you can.

#4. You’re Off-Target

Your website should be anything but general. A lot of website owners aim to please everyone – but they can’t – and end up isolating their entire audience.

Perhaps you’re writing for the wrong audience, perhaps you’re writing for a larger demographic than you should be; whatever the case, inaccurate targeting could negatively impact your conversion rate. Your copy, branding, marketing and site design should speak directly to a niche demographic.

Conduct market research to properly define and know your audience.

#5. You Have a Slow Site

When your website doesn’t load fast, your visitors leave and are unlikely to visit again in the near future.

There are many factors that can slow down your site, such as:

  • A site that isn’t optimized for mobile
  • Broken links
  • Not using caching
  • Messy code
  • Images that aren’t optimized
  • Flash and Java
  • Average web hosting

If your site is taking longer than 3 seconds to load, you need to work on it. Studies show that most users quickly exit sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load.

Measure, Measure and Measure

This is actually a sixth reason why your site may not be converting. Measure, measure and keep measuring. If you’re not measuring, you’re guessing, and in turn, not really making any strides.

The problem most website owners encounter is that they are either not tracking their website traffic or that they are tracking but not reviewing their metrics. Some do know they should be tracking, but just aren’t sure what to look for or what to make of the results.

Well, you should always start with your goals in mind. Then you can identify which key metrics will help you to measure your progress towards those goals.

Once you start measuring, you can improve on those metrics; figure out what is working, what isn’t, and then fine-tune and optimize.

Wrapping Up

These five reasons are just a starting point to help boost your conversion rates. There are many other reasons why your site may not be converting. However, these are fairly common in under-converting sites.

If you find that any of these reasons apply to your business, simply make the changes and you’ll see a big difference or improvement in your conversion rates and bottom line.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DEEPBLUE. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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How to Create an Effective Brand Strategy

This article will define a high-level summary of the most important aspects of your brand: your brand vision, brand values, the identity of your audience, your brand promise, and your brand story

…….

A brand strategy is a plan to communicate the unique value you offer customers. It can be reflected in your logo, your customer experience, or your company culture. A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments. The Brand Strategy Guide is a simple framework for creating and communicating your brand strategy.

Components of a brand strategy:

Your brand vision is the ultimate goal of your company.

Your brand values are the non-negotiable core beliefs you hold.

Your audience profile determines how you position your brand to the marketplace.

Your brand promise is the tagline you use to tell your customers what you promise you’ll do for them.

Your brand story is the sum of all of these parts.

Each component of the strategy process leads up to defining your brand narrative.

Vision, Mission and Values

Your Vision or “Why does your business exist?”

The vision describes the future your company is working to achieve. This is the reason for your existence as a company. It should be positive, motivating, and fun to talk about.

  • “Advancing man’s capability to explore the heavens”. (NASA)
  • “To live in a healthy, honest and supportive world”. (Core Foods)

Customers & Competition

Target Customers

Who are the people that will connect with your vision and values? Who will connect with the idea behind your business? Demographic based descriptions like “Females 18-30 in San Francisco” do not effectively describe target customers. Instead, focus on what specific needs your business solves, and the people who have those needs.

  • Traditional furniture retailers employ sales staff, but at Ikea, the customer experience is self service. Customers navigate huge showrooms with many products on display, pull items off warehouse shelves and assemble them at home. Ikea serves people who are happy to trade service for cost and are willing to complete some of the manufacturing steps themselves.
  • Southwest Airlines offers friendly service, and short, frequent, low-cost flights for customers traveling from midsize US cities and secondary airports in large US cities. They serve price sensitive customers who value convenience.

The Competition

When running your business it can be easy to forget about the context or landscape that it exists in and miss the external forces that affect it. Competitors can offer substitutes to your product or service. By learning more about who you competitors really are you can develop a brand strategy that is different and that only you can own, so customers have no choice but to come to you.

Your Competitive Advantages

Your competitive advantage is what makes you different and better than your competitors. Companies achieve competitive advantage by performing activities differently, or performing different activities than rivals.

  • Jiffy Lube specializes in automotive lubricants (oil changes) and does not offer other car repair or maintenance services. Their focus allows them to provide faster service at a lower cost.

Focus & Differentiation

The Big Idea or “What is the essence of your brand?”

A brand is a collection of thoughts and feelings based on your experiences. Thoughts and feelings are “intangibles” while your products and services are “tangible”. Tangibles you can touch, see, smell, hear, and taste, but intangibles you just feel.

  • Riding a Harley-Davidson Motorcyle feels liberating.
  • Sending and important package via FedEx feels safe.
  • Experiencing Disney World with your children feels magical.

What does it feel like to interact with your business? It’s easy to underestimate feelings and focus only on the tangibles, but people are emotional beings. We make decisions based on feelings, so you need to be able to express what you’re all about as concept or idea that is emotionally engaging. This is The Big Idea. It needs to be focused and it needs to be different.

  • Think Different (Apple)
  • Expect more. Pay less. (Target)
  • The world’s online marketplace. (eBay)
  • Adding vitality to life. (Unilever)
  • Safety. (Volvo)
  • The world on time. (FedEx)
  • Rider Passion. (Harley Davidson)

Brand Attributes or “What does your brand look and feel like?”

Really, brand attributes are just adjectives used to describe your brand. For example, IBM is seen as “older,” while Apple is perceived as “younger.” Apple is almost known entirely for its brand personality: innovative, stylish, intuitive, cool, casual, easy-going and friendly. Defining your brand attributes is important to help you differentiate yourself from competitors, as you would want to focus on those attributes that help you stick out. They also help make sure that your activities are inline with your brand. Together this group of adjectives gives you something to evaluate things like messaging and the look and feel of touchpoints.

Brand Promise or “What are you going to do for me.”

A brand promise is what the company promises to the people who interact with it. But it isn’t a literal description of what a company does. It’s a description of the company’s character. It’s the feeling the company conveys to its stakeholders. A brand promise can be explicitly articulated to the public, or it can be come to life more subtly in the delivery of the brand experience. A few years ago, FedEx declared that it was the only choice “when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”—an overt promise that still resonates today. The ultimate goal of branding is loyalty. A loyal audience seeks repeat brand experiences and recommends the brand to others. Brand Loyalty drives most purchasing decisions and loyal customers are willing to pay a premium for their choice. Branding is defining, promising and delivering. When you promise and then consistently deliver you generate loyalty.

  • Your package will get there overnight. Guaranteed. (FedEx)
  • You can own the coolest, easiest-to-use cutting-edge computers and electronics. (Apple)
  • You can hire the best minds in management consulting. (McKinsey & Company)
  • Empowering you to save the wilderness. (The Nature Conservancy)
  • To be the premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together, connecting them socially and emotionally like no other. (NFL)

Positioning

A well positioned brand clearly defines the category of the business and describes what makes it different. It borrows from the journalistic model of storytelling: WHAT, HOW, WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHY?

  • WHAT is your category?
  • HOW are you different?
  • WHO are your customers?
  • WHERE are they located?
  • WHEN do they need you?
  • WHY are you important?

Conclusion

Once these brand elements have been determined and applied towards your brand strategy you will be taking the first steps in creating true brand value for your business.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DEEPBLUE. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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