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There are two competing forces at play in web design:

Portfolio of WebsitesGraphic Design: Most of the time, web design is created entirely from the perspective of the visual…if it looks good; it must be a good site. Unfortunately, where e-commerce is concerned (i.e. profits and sales as opposed to just entertainment), putting “looks” ahead of usability can not only minimize your site’s effectiveness, it can actually do great harm. If a site visitor can’t navigate, can’t find information, and can’t perform basic tasks, even the most beautifully designed site will NOT offset a negative experience. To make matters worse, not only is the negative experience associated with the site, it is associated with the BRAND.

Technical Design (aka computer programming and most graphic designers): Effective site design is also a reflection of good communication skills. While some of the sharpest individuals I know are software programmers and graphic designers, most lack communication skills and improving them is not a priority. Survey after survey shows that given a choice of improving technical skills or improving communication skills, technical always wins out. What might be entirely logical in the mind of the folks that brought you DOS, CRM, ATI, ATM, XML, PHP, NAS, VPN, graphic design, and all variations thereof … just might not be so logical to the person trying to find a red, size 10, shirt.

The end result? The vast majority of Web sites are seriously flawed.

We've been building web sites since 1996 and through that time both the technology and the sophistication of web sites has grown enormously. Although the science of building a web site has changed, the basic premise has not. Building a web site is so you can display or sell your product or service in the best possible graphic design environment.

To do this, we believe strongly that:

  • bells and whistles should be used very judiciously...if at all

  • content will win your customer every time

  • web sites should be built intuitively, so that the customer knows exactly where they are going, and how to get back to where they were

  • there's more than just pretty graphics that make a web site—there is the code behind the site that must be maximized if your site is to show up in the search engines and be spidered correctly—your site must be written correctly, with content showing up in the proper places

  • for the best possible marketing solution, it is advisable to integrate your web into your overall marketing plan. If you plan on throwing up a web site with the expectations that people will flock to it and you'll become a millionaire overnight—it just won't happen. You will need to drive traffic to your site—brochure or e-commerce—one way or another.

If you choose a web design firm with no marketing expertise, you are setting yourself up for failure. The firm you choose must know how your customer interacts with a site, how to write copy effectively for direct response, how to maximize the marketing of your site after it goes on-line, and must have the technical knowledge to assure you of a site that is always up, always on, and always working to build your business.


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