Risingline Marketing strategy / design / development / management
(208) 475.3192

Contact Form

design & marketing blog

Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

Frappe Free Web Design

December 11th, 2013

One of the biggest ROI killing design blunders for any product or publication is over complexity, and Websites seem to be one of the most common offenders.

The term usability is used in Web design jargon as the attribute of how easily understandable and navigable a site is, and how readily it meets its target visitors’ needs. Almost without exception, each of the millions of Web sites in cyberspace are designed for very specific tasks for a narrowly defined group of people.

Osterizer GalaxieYour primary goal as a site owner is to provide a completely intuitive experience for your visiting prospects. In spite of this obvious goal often simplicity becomes lost in unnecessary clutter. When this happens visitors become confused and confused visitors, according to research, tend to make a hasty retreat.

I ran across a great example of usability in design recently when my ancient Osterizer Galaxie Blender broke. While it had provided many years of satisfactory service, it was always a source of mystery and anxiety to me. I just needed it to perform one simple task—blend. But each time I went to use it I had to wonder at all the buttons on the front:

Chop (Off) – Grate (Off) – Grind (Off) – Stir – Puree – Whip – Mix – Blend – Frappe – Liquefy

Am I doing this wrong? Should I be Puree’ing or Frappé’ing this protein shake. And does it matter which off button I push, why are there three? Just for good measure, I would randomly use all the buttons on different
occasions—all with no noticeable difference to my concoction.

Osterizer BeehiveIn browsing for a replacement, I came across the polar opposite of the Osterizer  Galaxie—the Oster Classic Beehive. There’s just one switch on the whole thing and that tne switch does just what I need without having to stop and think about which button to push and why.

While blenders and Web sites don’t have much in common, the design principle illustrated by Osterizer’s two extremes make great litmus tests for the usability of our own sites.

Now the Beehive looks much cooler than my old Galaxie, I no longer have to hide my blender from guests come over. But the most important thing about well designed
products or Web sites is not looks (although good design naturally lends itself to better aesthetics) it’s about making the value you offer clear and easy to implement.

I mentioned Steve Krug probably too much, but I know of no who does a better job of explaining the foundational principles of usability and helping people really “get” what it takes (and doesn’t take) to create an effective revenue producing Web site. If you’re the owner, manager, or administrator of a site I implore you to get your hands on a copy of his classic book, Don’t Make Me Thinklink opens in new window.

Choosing a Domain Name | .Com vs .Net

September 3rd, 2013

Choosing the best domain name for your Website is a daunting task. Actually thinking of a great domain name is not hard, finding a great name, or even a good-enough name, that’s taken is the hard part. We’ve accumulated a number of guidelines to use when considering a new domain name which we’ll be sharing the next few blog posts; here’s the first:

.Com instead of .Net

never use a .net domain as your primary business domain”

This first guideline is the most absolute of them all—never use a .net domain as your primary business domain. The reason a company considers a .net domain is almost always because someone else already is using the .com version of the domain. Usability studies have proven that when someone hears or reads a domain name, by the time they type it in their Web browser they’re most likely going to type .com anyway. If you do choose to go with a .net, be aware that a huge percentage of the branding expense and effort you do for your Website will benefit the .com version, not yours.

Sometimes people see that their .com is not currently developed and assume that since there is no site on the .com the .net is a viable option. In these cases it’s even more important not to choose the .net. A domain squatter dreams about a company investing a ton of money into developing and marketing a Website on a .net for which the squatter owns the .com. It raises the value of the .com significantly and it’s very easy to squeeze the .net domain holder into paying an exorbitant price for the .com when the squatter puts up a porn site.

This means that even though there is the perfect domain name available (such as mycompanyname.net or myexactkeywords.net) you’ll be far better off to select a .com even if it’s not as desirable of phrase. Our upcoming posts will shed some light on how to do that.

CMS Made Simple Admin User Tutorial

September 12th, 2012

CMS Made Simple Admin Overview Tutorial from Doug Case on Vimeo.

CMS Made Simple Tutorial – Getting Started

February 24th, 2012

In this screencast tutorial I’ll introduce you to the most basic features of navigating and editing within CMS Made Simple’s administration panel.

Top

↑ Top