Our Design Philosophy

Regarding our Design Values

Michael R. Meyer Web + Graphic Design creates professionally designed, highly-useable, compelling, and effective web sites for the business and arts communities.

Web success requires a skillful fusion of design excellence, compelling content, and transparent technology.

Choosing MRM Web + Graphic Design gives you the benefit of committed customer service and decades of combined experience in the fields of graphic design, computer programming, typography, and advertising.

Prior to establishing MRM Web + Graphic Design in Berkeley, I acquired many years experience in the pre-web world of graphic design, typography, advertising, computer programming, and graphical user interface design. Some of my past clients and employers include Shambhala Publications and Nolo Press of Berkeley, Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, and Princess Cruises, and I often worked closely with the founders of successful Berkeley companies during their start-up days.

Today, I work from my homebase in Berkeley, California mostly in the field of web design and development for clients world-wide - and I want you as my next client.

Michael R. Meyer

To realize our goal, the MRM Web Design team is guided by a set of timeless, fundamental design principles combined with the findings of recent web useability studies and real-world experience. The most important aspects of our approach to web design and development include:

 Our primary guiding principle is to deliver a site which best suits your unique goals and requirements. We aim to clearly communicate your message – to make you, your business, and your products, services or art works look good!

 Make a good first impression. In most instances, your web site will be the first impression a visitor – a prospective customer or client – receives regarding you and your business. Think about it . . .

 The design of your site should showcase and enhance your message, service, or products; the design should not overshadow or obscure vital information. The site design should be clear, consistent, and functional; it should not be overly complex or cluttered. Your site should not look as if its principle function is to show-off your web designer's clever and complicated skills.

 Don't obscure the nature of your business, products or services. Visitors should immediately grasp the purpose of your site, its benefits, and what you have to offer. Unless you care only about members of a niche market who already understand its catch-phrases and technical language, keep your language clear and simple, so everyone will understand and appreciate what you have to offer. Poorly written text can damage your image as quickly as poor design. Have your copy professionally copyedited if your staff isn't up to par.

 Visitors to your site should feel immediately comfortable with its layout. The navigational system should be intuitive and easy-to-use, allowing visitors to find the information they want with ease. A broader navigation system (menu) is easier to use than a deep system with multiple menu layers. Navigation and site functions should be placed where users expect to find them, and they should work as users expect.

 Brand every page of your site. Visitors should always know whose site they are on. Your logo and brand should appear on every page of your site, preferably at the top and bottom of each page. Never let a visitor to your site see an anonymous web page lacking branding and navigation.

 Visitors should be directed to take action, such as placing an online purchase or making a phone call. Visitors should be able to easily find all the information they need to make a positive decision, or to make a purchase, with confidence.

 Keep your visitors involved, and keep them on your site. Once you have a visitor, you don't want her to leave your site until she has taken positive action. Keep visitors involved by providing adequate links to other areas of your site. Don't rely exclusively on menu links, but invite users to explore your site by embedding links in text. Never link to an external site unless there is a compelling reason to do so.

 In most instances, the timeless principles of print and graphic design hold true for web design. This means keeping the number of colors and font styles to a minimum, employing clear and consistent layout, and using ample whitespace. In other words: "Less is more". Yet the web is not a print medium, though a web site is closer in form and function to a publication than to a video game or a television ad.

 A business or artist site is about exposure and information. Your web site should be enjoyable, interactive, and satisfying, but its primary purpose is to communicate, expose, promote and, at least for commercial sites, to sell products or services.

 Anything on a web page which flashes, blinks, moves, or changes color will draw (distract) the user's attention. This is why web ads typically move, blink or rotate – to distract users from what they are doing and to draw their attention to the ad. Avoid anything which blinks, flashes, moves, or changes color which is not user activated.

 Unless you are in the entertainment or video game business, or cater to a youth market profoundly influenced by video games, do not make your informational, business, art or eCommerce site a "cool Flash site".

 Statistics show that the typical web user will make a judgement on your site within the first 15 seconds of landing on it, and for the majority of sites, about 70% of all visitors spend less than 30 seconds on a site before moving off. This means you have only a few seconds to clearly communicate to visitors what your site is about, who it is for, what you have to offer, and why they should spend time looking deeper. This fact alone supports the validity of all the points above.

 Studies additionally show that when encountering the "loading" message on a Flash site, approximately 90% of all visitors will quickly leave the site unless clicking the "skip intro" button immediately takes them to a non-Flash web page.

 Don't be swayed by what your family or friends say they like or dislike about your site, or by what they think would be "cool". We pay attention to and study what typical users expect from a site and how they use the web, to what makes them leave a site and what makes them stay on and return to a site.

 If building your web site is your hobby, your business or profession will look like a hobby. Many small business proprietors and professionals are inclined to create a web site for their business themselves using Front Page or Dreamweaver (or even worse, an online "site builder"). Unless you are an experienced graphic designer, this is not a good idea. Others, looking for a bargain and thinking the web is "kid's stuff", may hire the kid next door, or find a student or "intern", to build their site.

 Kids, teenagers, and video-gamers are not typical users and are poor sources for information regarding what makes a web site useable and compelling, and what features a site should incorporate. Their views are widely known – "Flash sites are cool. Sites that aren't Flashy are boring". Furthermore, recent statistics show that people under 20 years of age contibute to only about 10% off all web traffic.

 Don't put something on a web site just because you, or someone else, thinks it would be "cool". To most advocates of "cool things", the "cool stuff" only sounds "cool". In practice, they may never use it, or understand how or why to use it. Bottom line, all the "cool stuff" which does not further the real intent of your web site will clutter, confuse, and distract.