Information Architecture and Usability aren’t considered the fun – or sexy – elements of web design, but planning how content will be displayed and accessed on your site is far more important than any design frills.
If you’re in the market for a new website or landing page, try using Hot Gloo. Hot Gloo is a Flash-based wireframming application (non-nerd translation: wireframes are like bare-bones renderings of your website or application). They are used to layout navigation, content, and overall flow, and usually proceed any actual design work.
One way to keep project costs to a minimum is to build your own. Trust me, you don’t have to be an information architect or know how to command any fancy design software to create a wireframe. Not to mention, this product is incredibly user intuitive. Hot Gloo provides a library of elements – text boxes, buttons, image holders, etc – and a simple drag-and-drop interface. Each element is controlled by a properties box, so you can alter sizes, shapes, and labels, as well as mock-up site interactions like mouse overs, links, etc. I really dig the automatic alignment feature. It makes it very easy to justify multiple design elements and create a crisp, cohesive looking site.
It took me 5 minutes to layout an entire website (I won’t even tell you what we charge clients for that). Granted, my site is bogus. But you can still see how this tool would be useful for a project manager or marketing professional tasked with a new site design. It’s marketing’s role to craft messaging and define how we want the target customer to think, feel, and ACT. Here’s a way to literally illustrate those actions so a designer can interpret them on your website.