In an earlier post we talked a bit about the sea change that's happened for IR websites over the last decade―that is, a shift from simply meeting regulatory requirements to using best practice design to convey your investment story in a more compelling, engaging way. That shift has been largely driven by the close relationship between technology and design: advancements in technology have allowed for great innovations in web design. If you think about it, it makes sense. Our vision is only as great as the tech will allow. With code as our paintbrush and the web browser as our canvas, the creative mind is uninhibited as tech evolves.
With less concern over whether web technology can support the functional design requirements of your IR website, much more time and energy can be devoted to IR website design and user experience. Today, it's no longer a question of whether we can build it, but a question of whether we can do so beautifully.
Free from technical limitations, then, the question of deploying modern web design principles to your IR website becomes paramount. With the goal of creating a unique and compelling experience for your shareholders and prospective investors, here are some pointers on what makes a great-looking, modern IR website.
Elements of a Modern IR Website
You've heard it said that content is king. And that's certainly true - but so is the User Interface (UI). The content informs the information architecture which then gives way to establishing the look and feel. But none of that matters without a well thought out UI. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your site is if no one can find what they’re looking for.
Go big and leave the columns behind. With the move to responsive design to reach mobile viewers, we have the ability to break away from the old columned approach of the past. We want to make full use of all the different screen sizes out there so going big - including large, high-resolution imagery - will have a much greater impact.
Scrolling isn’t a burden for most users. The old rules that saw us squish key content "above the fold" are out the window, especially for mobile users. Consider sectioning your content into distinct regions so that there’s logical organization helps users find what they’re looking for.
Allow for plenty of empty space. Empty space actually helps highlight important content. It can also help balance the page and provide that calming feeling that we want our users to have. We’ve all been to sites that feel like a punch to the gut when the page loads – information needs to breath.
Simple interactions and smart functionality can enhance the user’s experience. The idea isn’t to blow them away with stunning animations or crazy fly-in effects. When implemented in a subtle and tasteful way, user interactions are almost unnoticeable. Hover effects, background videos and many other dynamic elements all aid in this.
IR Websites can be more than useful. They can do more than simply meet regulatory requirements. They can be beautiful and they can – and should – be fun to use. Compelling content, engaging UI, clever use of empty space, smart functionality, and a move away from the tired "rules" of the web that no longer apply can help you tell your story in a way that creates an emotional response and lasting impact on your viewer.
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