Elemis are targeting millennials with a campaign that includes lots of video and Insta Stories and they’ve cleverly included the stories on their website home page.[Read more…] about LOVE Elemis Superfood Skincare Campaign
There is a perception that building websites with WordPress is easy, and it is, as long as you want a very basic website with no real functionality. As soon as you need your website to do anything – display a gallery, show social media, provide a contact form – you move into the realm of plug-ins. Some plug-ins are great, don’t get me wrong, I am particularly a fan of those that protect your website from harm. There are literally millions of them that are well built and well maintained.
So what are the problems with plug-ins? First, there is the headache of the constant updates that face you each time that you log into your WordPress dashboard. These can cause real issues with the version of WordPress and the theme you have chosen to use, as well as the upgrade itself. Who hasn’t had a Windows Update crash and burn their computer? Same story with plug-ins.
Then, the real problem with plug-ins, which is that you have no idea who built them, so each and every one of them is a potential open doorway that you have forgotten to lock and secure against problems. Leaving doors wide open is not something that you would do in everyday life but it is something that WordPress users do on a daily basis. Did you choose your original plug-ins carefully? When was the last time you checked if your plug-in was recently updated and still compatible with your version of WordPress? I thought not……
Do I still use WordPress?
Of course I do, always mindful of the developers and plug-ins that I choose to work with. WordPress is genuinely a brilliant tool to get you and your business started on the web.
Working with businesses who use multiple languages can be quite challenging. Everything, from titles and text, to captions for images and links to the correct language translation page needs to be thought of, including disclaimers and error messages.
The meaning of language
There is also the possibility that a marketing message can be lost in translation. What means one thing in English may not mean the same in another language and all use of colloquialisms and slang terminology has to be thought through carefully particularly where culturally it can cause insult (easy enough to do in a home language as it is).
Another complication with multiple languages is that the space required for one line of text in one language may translate into a much longer (or shorter) line of text in another, throwing layouts in adverts and menus on websites out.
Updating a website or email in multiple languages
Care needs to be taken when cutting and pasting translated text into emails or web pages too as if the content editor isn’t familiar with the language, they can’t know if they have made a mistake and they can’t proof-read either. It is a good idea to get the translator to check over the work once it has been completed.
Regardless of all the above, working on marketing material that reaches a wide range of audiences can be beneficial and well worth doing.
I have a number of amusing stories relating to proofreading (well, amusing to me but probably not always the person involved). I won’t recount them all here, but there was the time I was interviewed and the current brochure was passed across to me – with a glaring error on every one of the hundreds of copies they had just had printed! This is a bad when it is printed matter, but even worse when this kind of mistake is on a website where it is easier (and possible!) to change.
Key product information
There was the time I was ushered into probably the most impressive boardroom I have ever been in, all chrome and glass walls and a huge boardroom table, white boards, the works – you could have photographed it for a stock photo. Anyway, I wandered across to a promotional banner in the corner while I waited for the key client to appear and noticed the typo misspelling of their key product.
Proof reading is part of everyday business life
Proof reading should come as standard. Every person who produces copy or marketing material, at the very least should check and double check it, but there is a more subtle requirement. If the company produces written material on behalf of a customer, like a report or quote, it must also be checked. It lends a level of professionalism to have accuracy and nothing says “slobby workmanship” like errors on a quotation.
Fresh view of your work
If you know that your written work is less than ideal, built in to your work habits to get a cross-check, get a colleague or friend to review your work before it goes out and even better make it a company procedure to get everything checked whenever possible to do so – two sets of eyes are always better than one, particularly if you have worked for any length of time on something, you can get ‘mistake-blind’.
I’ve done two SEO reports within the last couple of months for businesses in two different industries and both of them had serious page load issues. This can have a serious knock on effect for both SEO and engagement or conversion.
Optimise web images
Site 1, a luxury travel brand, had used big glossy images all over the site. They had the big splash banners that are so beloved by website designers and some lovely person had uploaded full-size high resolution images. The website didn’t have any image resizing software installed so the consequence was that each page took over 7 seconds to load. Optimising images is a complex task, but as a simple rule of thumb the image should be saved to web (72dpi) and not print resolution (300dpi).
Minimise site files
Search engine ranking factor
Site speed is a key search engine ranking factor, cited as one of the top five ranking factors in 2015 by SEO experts. In addition to this, users will click away from the site if a page takes too long to load. There is research to demonstrate the drop off rate can be as dramatic as 11% in a second. As engagement with pages is also a ranking factor, it is well worth checking your site to ensure that your pages are optimised to their best. Not least to prevent loss of custom.
I’m interested to read the UX professionals survey by NN Group as they advocate the use of round tables with the business owner to review the initial designs and pick and choose the best of each design. In my experience, this doesn’t result in a cohesive whole. Many of the designers I have worked with have not been given credence by the business owner to use their expertise and bring the best result. They have been forced to use a number of elements from different designs in one, making the end result less than a choice of one of the original designs.
Website agency collaboration
On the other hand, I am wholeheartedly in agreement with the suggestions that UX designers should work together with other members of their team – project managers, business analysts or account managers, marketing AND technical development staff to ensure that the options that they share with a business owner, either remotely or in a presentation meeting, are checked for usability and errors before sharing them with the client. It’s always useful to bounce ideas off other creatives and the rest of the team. And it is crucial for designs (and software) to be tested internally and in user testing. This has become much easier to do with online creative tools and user testing services.
UX design expertise
In both cases, though, too many cooks can spoil the broth and the collaborators do need to bow to the knowledge of the key decision maker, in this case, the UX designer.