What better way to get over the work-week hump than checking out September’s first Example Site Wednesday? This week, we take a look at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and their Center for Market Leadership website. This site’s simple, yet effective approach shows that consistency can be a very valuable tool when creating a website.

The consistency of this site is shown through the cohesiveness of the color scheme, content and spacing. There doesn’t seem to be anything out of place or sticking out like a sore thumb here. Making the right decisions about content, layout and design are critical when trying to make an effective website. People, in general, like consistency in our everyday lives, whether it’s turning a key to start the ignition or turning a knob to open a door. Consistency in a website makes it easier for your visitors to quickly gather the information they are looking for and make a decision — are they going to contact you, buy something, sign up for something or simply just leave your website.

Staying consistent on your site allows for:

Better Usability: If you keep your site’s design, layout, tabs and links uniform, it will make it much easier for visitors to learn about your products and services.

Quicker Adaptability: Just as we learn to adapt to the activities of our everyday lives, visitors on a website like to be familiar with navigation and be able to predict where everything is on your site. Users want to avoid relearning and adapting as functional elements vary from page to page. If you create that consistency on your site, the visitor only needs to adapt to the homepage in order to understand and get comfortable with the other pages.

Improved Marketing: Consistency is a key contributor to marketing your site. Promote your brand simply by adding your company’s logo in the header of every page. It can also increase the chance of having your customers return to your website or recommend it to others, rather than intimidating them with clutter and irregularity.

Can you think of some website components that are important to keep consistent?

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