By now you’ve probably heard the recent buzz about relevance in the search engines – the Internet-wide craze to convince the consumer that “their” search results make the most sense. If you are a Metamend client, you already realize the significance of relevance. If your target market can’t find you in the search engines, it may be because your textual content and keywords are not relevant to each other.
The same logic should apply to the graphics on your website. If an icon, symbol, or logo does not relate to the overall focus of your company, then you run the risk of confusing your client. This could be unfortunate if you’ve already done the work to drive the client to your website. Using cool paper airplane icons for buttons on a website about boats may tell visitors that your company is not quite together. The general rule of thumb I use when creating relevant graphics is – if I have to really think about it, it probably won’t work. A lot of good designers run into problems because they fail to plan the overall theme of the project before they begin. This is an essential step in building anything really – not just websites.
After having talked with your client about the “feel” and “look” of their new site, you should also ask them to scan the web for their idea of what a good website looks like. With a bag of objectives and a stack of references, you should be able to start visualizing the building process. A set of colored pencil crayons, sheet of paper, and a beer, (optional) can help initiate this process. If you are lucky enough to have an approved company logo beside you, then half of your work is already complete. From the official logo, you can determine your palette of colors and theme. If don’t have this, you may require another beer (also optional). Again, the general idea here is to closely relate all of your visuals to the theme of the website. If you have a website selling sailboats, then ocean waves would make great buttons. The color red may look out of place, unless it’s in the logo already, but blues and greens may compliment the look perfectly.
I hope you find this article useful. Remember to consider not only the relevance of the text within your website and metatags, but also the relationship of the graphics to the overall theme. This will increase the likelihood of people bookmarking the site for themselves, and ultimately referring it to others with similar interests.