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The Elements of Harmony (totally not a My Little Pony reference)

I’ve been reading articles today.

When you’re working, but not want to work, the only thing you could do is read articles, to make it at least look like you’re doing something. Unfortunately, ever since webdesigners started using big headers and bright images, it got kind of hard to make it look like you’re being productive. Trying to convince your boss you’re actually reading about the effect of something on a company when a big picture of a cute kitten covers the page just isn’t going to work out. Resulting in me, at work, not having any other option but to find articles about webdesign. Content is my favorite part, yet I have also read articles about webdesign itself, colors, CSS, making things obvious, you get my point.
My problem is that they all try to convince you that their part, their element, is the best.

Which part of a website is the most important?

I’m reading in phases. I don’t read “a little bit of this and that”, I’m a binge-reader. I’m either reading about colors and their effects on people all day, or not at all. This results in me constantly changing my mind, because like I said, all articles try to convince me that the subject of the article is the most important thing. So at first I’ll be all about colors, then about code, then about one page websites and why they are so cool, then about content, simple design, flat design, detailed design, functional design… I keep thinking that whatever I’m reading about is the most important thing about creating a website.

While it’s not!

Elements

A website, a good website, consists of elements. Shall we just… since it’s not a My Little Pony reference at all… Take the actual Elements of Harmony from My Little Pony? Yes, let’s do it. My Little Pony is a TV show for kids, yet has lots of adult fans, too. Adults love it because it has lots of valuable lessons, even for adults, and makes you think about the world and about people. Before you ask: yes, I am a fan. Let me introduce you to these ponies, first.

The Ponies

Fluttershy – Kindness

Fluttershy's element is Kindness.
Fluttershy’s element is Kindness.

Fluttershy is the kindest pony and she’s there for everyone. You can’t make mistakes when you’re with Fluttershy, she’ll forgive you. Fluttershy is a forgiving format. Don’t tell people there are no results when they search for “guitat” instead of “guitar”. Give them a suggestion instead, like Google: “Did you mean ‘guitar’?”. Also, make the whole button clickable instead of only the text inside it.

Rainbow Dash – Loyalty

Rainbow Dash's element is Loyalty.
Rainbow Dash’s element is Loyalty.

Rainbow Dash is loyal. That’s what your website should be too: everyone should be able to rely on it. Your website is a savior, a hero, the one that’ll support others, always. We’re talking about usability here. Make sure your website has a good contrast, a screenreader, alt-tags so people using screen readers can still hear what your image is about, and the possibility to increase or decrease font size. (The decrease function is pretty useful for people wanting to read your article at work without looking like they’re not productive- alright, I’m kidding. Just make sure you have a proper font size.)

Apple Jack – Honesty

Applejack's element is Honesty.
Applejack’s element is Honesty.

Apple Jack is always honest and she always wants the best for you. Be honest about your product! If it’s a work-in-progress, if you don’t have any other colors, if a certain part looks like it’s made from glass but is actually plastic – nobody cares, but TELL THEM. You don’t want an angry customer who got a bright pink vacuum cleaner while he wanted a red one. Or something. Clear pictures, make sure the customer is able to zoom in, describe things with text, let people write reviews.

Pinkie Pie – Laughter

Pinkie Pie's element is Laughter.
Pinkie Pie’s element is Laughter.

Pinkie Pie loves to have fun, and so should you. This is about content. Make jokes! Be personal! Make your customers realise that you’re just a human behind a computer too, and you want the best for them. Show that you love your product. Don’t just tell them that your product is awesome, tell them WHY it’s awesome, let people test your product and create a video about it, create infographics. Show people that it’s fun to use your product.

(oh, and pssh: Pinkie Pie also loves candy. So do your customers. Small goodies, like keychains or even little cards, make customers happy. See Generosity below)

Rarity – Generosity

Rarity's element is Generosity.
Rarity’s element is Generosity.

Rarity is a generous, but also a fashionable and formal pony. Same counts for your website – be generous and formal at the same time. Handle complaints and angry customers with care and don’t hesitate to give them any kind of compensation. The personal thing is also key here: a bouquet of flowers with a handwritten card on it where you say you’re terribly sorry will probably make a customer happier than just getting an e-mail with “we’re very sorry”. And in case of just a conversion: A customer can get very happy from a personal sweet little card (even if it’s just printed) with a “Thanks for buying our product!” too!

Twilight Sparkle – Magic

And if you add everything together, you'll get Twilight Sparkle's element: magic!
And if you add everything together, you’ll get Twilight Sparkle’s element: magic!

And if you’ve done all these things and combined them, you’ll create Magic. Blind people, deaf people, people with complaints, people without complaints, just usual people: everyone will know you care about them. And that makes people happy! They might tell others about your product and about what a great company you have. These other people will buy your product faster, because the people who had complaints told them that complaints are being solved fast and without any trouble.

There is no ‘golden element’

Do not believe any article that tells you it’s “all in the content” or “all about a blue layout instead of a red one” – no. If you have the best texts but no layout, nobody will buy your product. If your layout and content is perfect but you don’t have any product images, nobody will buy your product. Only all these elements together will create Magic, will create total harmony and will create the happiest customers.

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