What do users think of your website?

This week I was talking with one of our clients who is in the middle of a website redesign. They are an established firm of architects and were in the process of moving away from their green colour scheme to a more neutral white and grey layout to alow their work to stand out and for the site design to take a back seat; good objectives, we all thought. 

They happened to be talking with one of their best clients who said "I've been looking at lots of architects websites over the last couple of weeks and what I really like about yours is the way that I can find out quite a lot about you and your work and the green colour looks different from the others and makes me associate it with you."

Well obviously with feedback like that we have now looked to reintroduce the green colour - albeit used more sparingly than previously - simply to make the site stand out and give a greater brand identity.

As website designers ourselves, we are not immune from the need to get feedback. Take the redesign of our current site as an example. When we user tested it we found that people wanted to be able to contact us more quickly than our initial designs allowed - you either had to go to the contact page or scroll to the top of the page, which showed our email address and phone number.

To counter this we added a contact bar (see below) which appears as you scroll down the page, and which sticks to the top of the screen giving users a quick way of contacting us.

volute-redesign-menu

volute-iphone-viewWith mobile devices we took a slightly different perspective. We have inserted a menu that is permanently fixed to the top of the screen and which expands when touched to reveal the site's full navigation, a search field and contact details. This ensures a balance between ease of contacting us and minimising the amount of screen space devoted to navigation/contact details on devices with such a small screen area.

With your site, you will have different issues, possibly use of industry terminology, appearance on mobiles, complex navigation, too few words etc. The feedback of a few friendly users during the development process should help you to be able to tweak your designs so that it better communicates with your audience.