Friday, 17 June 2011

First Impressions Count; Don't assume that what you present Online will appear the same to your Audience.

Just like meeting someone in person or when a prospect first visits a shop, a visitor's first impression of a business's websites and Social Media accounts is of vital importance. How you present yourself will influence those initial judgements on how professional, successful and capable a business is and whether it's worth a second visit.

With a website, it needs a professional design that gives a feel for the company and copy that succinctly does the same. Usability is also key, so that a visitor can find what they want quickly and without confusion as to how they find it.

eskimosoup have had this as a defining feature of our approach to web design since our inception over five years ago. With the emergence of mobile devices as a means by which to access the Internet, it's become all the more important.

Any good web designer should have always checked the consistency of presentation across the range of browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Respective browser's interpret the code that dictates the look of a website in different ways and without due care and attention, a great looking website on Firefox could look terrible on IE.

But now, with iphones and other gizmos becoming many people's preferred internet access point, ensuring a website is not only viewable, but looking good on these platforms is essential in professional web design.

However, the days of a website being a company's only online presence are in many cases well and truly over, with facebook pages, twitter profiles, blogs and many other Social Media channels, complimenting their existing sites.

Although some Social Media platforms offer a certain amount of scope for customisation with an account's design, especially with blogs, the bricks and mortar are still created by the host. These are more often than not large companies with full awareness of the need for compatibility across a range of platforms. A business can therefore feel confident that their profiles will be looking good however they're accessed.

In the case of facebook, the bricks and mortar are especially predefined, with less scope to change the appearance of a profile than twitter, youtube, myspace and many other major Social Media platforms. Along with having a mobile version, much like other Social Media, this should make facebook the last one a business needs to worry about.


If you have a facebook page for your business, let me ask you a question; have you ever logged out, then looked at your page?

If not, do it now and although the layout will be the same, you may notice quite a difference in the comments and posts (that's presuming you have posts and comments from anyone other than yourself- Top Tip: if you don't, you're doing something wrong!).

Some comments and posts may well be missing, leaving gaps in conversations and answers to non existent queries still displayed.

The 'Most Recent' posts should still be in the same order, but if you toggle to 'Top Posts' (via the link above and to the right of the 'Write something...' status update field) the order could be radically different. Not so great if a negative comment is at the top when logged out, yet far down the page when logged in.

If it all seems relatively the same and the problems above or similar aren't present, you're lucky and checking back through your wall may show that you haven't always been so.

Get into the habit of checking the logged out version regularly or you may risk making that bad first impression.

Next week we'll look into this more, examining why it happens and where else what your Audience sees may differ from what you do.

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