When someone first clicks to your law firm’s website, you have all of 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression. That’s all the time you have to catch the attention of a potential client and present yourself as experienced, capable, and the best option for their case. With that brief of a window, high-quality web design is absolutely critical to your success. Once your site has loaded, consider what observations users might make. Is your text readable? Is your design overly cluttered? Is the site difficult to navigate? Failing in any of those areas could result in clicks away from your site.
Even if you are successful in making a strong first impression, it’s still possible for users to lose interest if your site isn’t well-organized. If they spend too much time clicking through links to locate the details of your law firm and the services you provide, they might ultimately decide to give up and go elsewhere. All the relevant information should be available and easy to find.
Fortunately, there are certain principles of design that can help you transform your website and elevate the appearance of your law firm. Elements such as color, spatial awareness, and readability can all have a huge impact on that first impression and effectively convert visitors into clients.
The Value of an Effectively Designed Law Firm Website
When you launch a law firm website, the purpose is to present yourself as the best option for potential clients, showcasing the expertise and trustworthiness of your law firm. With so many sites available, it’s important to differentiate yourself from the competition. The content of your site is important, but many other factors unconsciously affect people’s perspectives of your site. Your website is a direct representation of you and your brand. Something as simple as choosing the wrong combination of colors could make you seem dishonest or inexperienced.
An effectively designed website can benefit your law firm in a variety of ways. As users spend more time on your website instead of clicking away, your site rankings on search engines actually improve, making it more likely that you’ll attract more users in the future. Additionally, putting some effort into design can maximize your conversions, driving people to actually move forward with contacting you for your services.
The Four Basic Principles of Design
Proper application of contrast helps to highlight certain areas of your website and focus people’s attention. One of the most basic examples of contrast is when you examine the colors used to differentiate text from the background. If the colors are too jarring, the contrast can be harmful to readers, increasing the amount of eye strain and presenting an unprofessional aesthetic. However, utilizing low levels of contrast can lead to eye strain as well, in addition to lowering user confidence and limiting accessibility.
Other ways you can play around with contrast include typeface, size, and shape. Just keep in mind that with any form of contrast, finding the right balance is key.
Repetition allows you to tie elements of your website together and make the content look more organized. Designers achieve this by using consistent patterns throughout your website. For example, having uniform headings and bullet points makes it easier for users to navigate through your content to find the information they need. In the more general sense, applying repetition to things like fonts, image sizes, and color schemes help you avoid distracting and confusing visitors.
The principle of alignment refers to the way elements of your website are placed in reference to each other. When you use alignment effectively, it makes you seem sophisticated, polished, and professional. A complete disregard for alignment can make things appear jarring and out of place. Another added benefit of aligning your content is legibility.
Similar to repetition, proximity helps to unite elements of your website. Consider how in most word-processors, bulleted lists often have less spacing between the lines than the rest of the document. This reinforces the concept that each individual item is part of the same list, showing that they’re connected. When adding a caption to a photo, reducing the distance between both elements makes the relationship between them much more apparent.
Proximity also reduces visual clutter. When the various components of your site are grouped together, it gives it an overall cleaner look.
Responsive Web Design Is Crucial
Responsive web design is the practice of creating a website that responds to a user’s needs by adjusting to work well with any device. When people first began using smart devices instead of PCs to access the Internet, most mobile versions of websites were either shrunken down, making the content more difficult to read, or simply un-optimized, resulting in images and text being moved out of place. The experience was often clunky and overall inaccessible.
Nowadays, we have the tools to optimize content for any platform. The ideal design for a site viewed on a computer is going to be very different than the ideal design for a site viewed on the small screen of a phone. This is especially crucial as internet traffic continues to grow on mobile devices. In fact, mobile traffic has increased by over 200% in the last decade and accounts for about 50% of web traffic overall. That means that it’s extremely likely that visitors will come across your website on a mobile device.
How to Use Responsive Web Design To Your Advantage
Trying to design a separate website for every single device is not a realistic solution. In addition to being a lot of work, the devices available a few years into the future may be different than those available today.
With responsive web design, you can use flexible grids, flexible images, and media queries that allow your site to adapt to any screen size and resolution. Regardless of the device, the elements will rearrange themselves accordingly for optimal viewing. This makes a big improvement to the overall user experience, leading to increased mobile traffic and higher conversion rates. Both contribute to improved SEO, allowing you to reach more potential clients.
Combining the basic principles with responsive web design can be an extremely powerful way to elevate the reputation of your law firm and establish you as the preeminent choice for attorney services. However, actively applying those concepts effectively takes experience and skill. Whether you’re looking to start building up your online presence or upgrading your existing website, the professionals at RizeUp Media can help. Get started by contacting a RizeUp Media expert today.