Monday, March 12, 2007

Expression and Perception on the Web

It seems like everyone has a website these days, whether a blog, a social networking space, or a business site. Websites express their owners’ personalities through color choices, featured content, and design, all of which are used by visitors to understand more about the site and its creator.

Websites are increasingly being used for self-expression. In a way we are branding ourselves, much like we do with clothing or cars. While brands used to be reserved for businesses, now everyone wants to show their “individuality.” Customized web spaces make it easy for people to declare their personality, but if you think about it, we are truly declaring a demographic.

Colors, language patterns, layout, and content merge in to a full presentation. Consciously or subconsciously, visitors will draw a conclusion about the site and its creator. The visitor will use their perceived categorization to determine whether or not they believe the source to be credible.

There is no one size fits all. What appears credible to one visitor may seem ridiculous to another. The best you can hope for is to be true to yourself or your brand, which in turn should attract the right visitors.

What does your website say about you? What perceptions do you think your visitors glean?