Submit Saturdays: First impressions and Cover Pages
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Welcome to Submit Saturdays, a year long series of articles in partnership with Squarespace. First impressions count. When people arrive at a website, research shows that you have around 50 milliseconds to make a good impact. Cover Pages, a product developed by Squarespace, are an opportunity to make a bold statement that will encourage people to learn more about you and your work.
Think of a Cover Page as a kind of billboard – but the capabilities the platform offers means they can also serve as the initiation of a dialogue with a potential collaborator or customer. Studies have shown that the design of a webpage has a direct impact on the perceived credibility of its content – these vital first moments are complex and critical.
The opportunity to showcase your talent and personality can be used by innovating within the flexibility that cover pages offer.
A visual showcase
Cover Pages place an emphasis on the visual. In those crucial first moments when someone visits a site, there is an opportunity to make a simple, bold statement that will make a lasting impression. Is there one piece of work or image that sums up your attitude and abilities? Do you need to collage existing pieces together or create a slideshow? Will you create a bespoke image that changes with the seasons? It’s Nice That commissioned four artists to design a cover page that depicted their new years resolution at the start of 2016 – is there an opportunity to make each new Cover Page an event that people will look out for? The format allows you to treat the most important image on your website as an evolving creative brief.
Hold the front page
Maybe your website is a work in progress, you’re busy pulling together a portfolio or completing a project that isn’t quite ready to be unleashed on the world. A Cover Page could provide a more attractive or intriguing holding page than an empty website with no content. It’s also an opportunity for visitors to submit contact details or get in touch with you while the project completes.
A Cover Page needn’t be static. If you work with moving images it can serve as a showreel that gives visitors a real flavour of the scope of your work – before they venture further to find out more. A trailer for your main feature.
Say it loud and proud
The time needed to update a website may not suit the speed at which you work. A Cover Page can link to your social media accounts, which update with greater regularity than a website and can give insights into your process and creative thoughts.It could serve as a much faster paced and up-to-date introduction to your work.
Offline and Out there
It’s quite possible that the most important thing happening in your career is not happening online. Do you have an exhibition opening or a launch party coming up that you want to attract people to? The ease at which the page can be updated and transformed allows you to provide a focus at the start of the user journey, where you dictate what the most important information they receive is.
Break the rules
The flexibility and simplicity of Cover Pages allow you to decide how you are going to make the biggest impact in those vital first moments. The capabilities of the templates allow you to work with audio files and maps too – the possibilities are endless and whether a Cover Page is a temporary or permanent fixture on your site is down to you.
In partnership with Squarespace
Squarespace is a creation tool enabling individuals to build a great website by giving them the tools to find elegant solutions and get their voice heard in the world of online publishing. Whether for experienced designers or for someone putting together their first website, it makes forming a beautiful platform simple.
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About the Author
Owen joined It’s Nice That as Editor in November of 2015 leading and overseeing all editorial content across online, print and the events programme, before leaving in early 2018.