First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions
Written by Guest Blogger Sarah Heidtman
We all know that the first impression is alway the most important one. That is true for the dating life, the job search, or anywhere we come in contact with new groups and peers. The same is also true for a website. And how does a website create the important first impression? …
In the same way a book or magazine tries to influence the customer to the purchase … with the cover. The header graphic of a website is the new book or magazine cover and it is important to spend some time and thought on the right choice of your header graphics. Considering the feel of a well integrated image can lend your site more impact and success.
Here are the basics you need to know:
1. Think about how you are branding yourself
Spend some time thinking about how you want to represent yourself and what should be the very first thing you would like to communicate to your client. You should consider if you want your logo to be part of your header or any other type of image that users may connect with your brand, such as an animated character or slogan. Any image that will ressonate well with your audience and has a great association with your company will be a good choice. Then you need to think of the pros and cons of photos vs. illustrations for your site. A photo is fast and easy. It can display an actual product of your company and position your company as a serouis business, while an illustration can show a more creative, friendly, and edgy approach.
2.What to do when using photos?
If you are using photos as header images throughout your site there are a couple of things to consider such as the right size and quality of the images and how to integrate them with the overall color and design scheme. The image size needs to have the right dimensions for the area on your website. Do not use large files to avoid loading issues, and do not use small files that look blurry blown up as the header. And when you take photos, think about your header filling in a horizontal space on your website, so avoid portait layouts of your images. It may be a good idea to use a photographer for your photos in order to garantee a good exposure and lighting.
3. What product are you selling?
We create a lot of economic development websites, which usually use a lot of photography of their county and cities in order to display their area well. Other sites may sell a product that could be displayed in a type of product portfolio in the header. If you are selling a downloadable software or app you may want a direct web app to be your header. And if you are an artist or creative person, you may want to use some of your artwork as an illustration in your header.
Here is our own website which uses a type of project portfolio header.
4. Be unique but consider the overall design
There are many interesting and unique examples of header graphics out there. To stand out from the crowd and to be remembered you may want to think outside the box. You can use a huge header that fills up most of the screen, making a bold impression or you can slowly have the header tranform into your website background. To break up the traditional boxed in header graphic you can integrate it into the background as we did for stacktest.com
5. Do not clutter your website with too many images but keep it interesting.
If you use photography, you may want to edit the images in a way that corresponds well with the overall design of the website. If your website uses bright and friendly colors, you can edit your images in the same fashion, avoiding dark and dreary colors. Some of our clients like to use an image rotator for their homepage in order to make more than just one impression. This can be a great way to avoid a cluttered website.
Here is a website we did for City of Heflin IDB showing an image rotator.
Whenever you are thinking about the design and build-up of your website, make sure to give some thought on how you want to integrate your header image with your website. Do not wait until the last minute to come up with your header images. They are likely to take an important part in making a successful and lasting impression on your audience.