You walk into a room filled with computer screens. You look around for a place to sit down and head over. On your way past, did you notice which people had Facebook open? How about those with a Youtube video playing?
While scanning the room you likely saw some familiar websites. Brands you could name in an instant.
These sites are recognisable at a distance or – as I like to call them – RAD.
Why RAD is important
Within certain industries, groups of potential customers often use the same tools. When I walked into the revision room at university I always spotted the same sites – Wikipedia, Microsoft Word, Google Image Search and our student portal.
Picking up that information probably reinforced the idea that these were sites or services I needed to use too. We use the tools people around us use.
We’re creating a RAD website right now for award-winning study tools company, Meddicle. The site will be used by students in both secluded and crowded environments. Word-of-mouth will be a strong marketing angle for this product, but sometimes a recommendation isn’t enough to convince people to try something.
Using RAD design, potential users (often located together) will see others using the product – a product they have previously heard about – and finding it helpful. And that’s a convincing reason to give it a go.
A RAD website is a website optimised to be recognisable, and these sites benefit from all the usual upsides of brand visibility. If a potential customer sees your website often will build familiarity and ensure it’s the first brand they think to use. Recognising it as a service used by their peers builds the user’s trust and your product’s credibility.
How to design a RAD website
RAD ties into the concept of brand recognition, but it goes beyond simply including brand elements on your website. It’s about designing a website that uses branding and other design elements in a distinctive, impactful way.
Here are four design considerations for creating a website that’s recognisable at a distance.
Choosing a recognisable navigation colour and position is a major step towards having a RAD website. Think about the major elements that make up that navigation bar: a logo, a search bar, a small number of crucial controls. While the position and colour is essential, the shape of a navbar and its components can also help distinguish it from the rest.
This is something you’ve probably thought about separately, and rightly so. There are often a lot of use cases and reasonings behind your branding decisions.
Assuming your company’s logo and typefaces were decided before you decided to make your website RAD, think about how best to incorporate them to increase your website’s RADness. Where will your logo have uninterrupted strength? How can your brand’s style flow out into the website’s functionality?
Maybe the main colour from your logo is enough colour injection, like Google or Youtube? It could be your navigation bar has a distinctive colour, like Facebook or Amazon. Your main colour could even be the absence of colour, as with Apple or GoPro.
With most websites, variations of colour will be supplied through content that is constantly changing. Picking a single colour and a specific place on the page for that colour to stand out is a fantastic way of making your site RAD.
Sometimes it’s not about using your main colour for all the important parts – just the one place on the screen that never changes.
You know what kinds of content your website will display. This content might stay mostly the same or change constantly. The one thing that shouldn’t change is the shape in which you frame this content. Product listings should clearly be product listings. Videos should be showcased. Articles designed for easy reading.
This is some pretty obvious user experience (UX) design – the next step is keeping these content types laid out in the same shape. If your copy is displayed beneath a video on one page, it should appear in the exact same place on another page.
Make RAD part of your process
Next time you visit a new website, consider if it would pass the RAD test. Would you be able to recognise it at 10 paces? Or 20? How could the design be improved to make the site more RAD?
Once you’ve made checking for RAD a habit, your own designs will improve as a result. Ensuring a web page is recognisable early on in the design process is a small consideration that could have a big impact down the line. RAD-proofing sets a solid foundation for strong brand recognition.
Want to find out how to make your site RAD?
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