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Web site appearanceThe look and feel of your website is important for more than just displaying information, but displaying it in a manner so that it reaches your intended target audience by appealing to them in a fashion they are comfortable with and can easily understand.
Several factors should be considered when laying out the design of your website with the first being deciding who the intended audience will be. Considerations such as gender and nationality should decide colors, animations, graphics and text appearance.
Targeting a website to appeal to a specific nationality requires understanding the culture and how they use information. As an example some cultures respond better to information that is presented in an entity or society centered format. What I mean by this is that information and images explain the power or strength of a company, society or government. The website would show pictures of buildings, and landmarks rather than images of people or personal situations. Text would be written to appeal to a person's sense of civic pride and responsibility.
More democratic societies tend to respond better to information that is written around individuals. You would typically see pictures of people and products being used by them. Text or copy should be written to appeal to an individual and their desire to improve their own life rather than how it benefits the society as a whole.
Gender comes into play when determining color layout, pictures and such. Research shows for instance, that women prefer bright colors, static pages and colored typeface while men like dark colors, 3D images and animations. Men also tend to prefer Images that are posed unlike women who are more influenced by informal pictures.
Another important aspect of design comes down to presenting an image of credibility. Just like putting your best face forward when making a sale or interviewing for a job, you also want to let visitors know that you care about your online image and have invested the time and money to do it right. This makes sense when you consider that most people are reluctant to get involved with fly-by-night or home businesses because the responsibility factor to the consumer is minimal if it exists at all. If a visitor feels that you are one of those then you will probably lose them.
Hopefully this brief article will help you to understand the importance of knowing your target audience when deciding upon a design.
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