A website is like a dinner menu. You want to provide just enough variety so every guest can enjoy their meal, and yet you do not want to overwhelm them with too many choices or flavors that seem to contradict one another. One would never serve sushi with spaghetti and meatballs, right?

Equally as important as the quality of the food and its ingredients, the presentation also makes a huge impact on a dinner party. The subtle touches and attention to detail demonstrate to your guests how much care and time you put forth. Your goal is to delight everyone at the table in hopes that they will come back again, and maybe even tell their friends. Are you starting to see the analogy?

But when it comes to catering to many guests with varying appetites, palates, nutritional requirements, aversions, and even allergies, it’s seems insurmountable to satisfy everyone all the time. But much like a dinner party, your website can please the most adventurous and voracious consumers, as well as the pickiest eaters out there. Smart planning, a solid vision, and perhaps most importantly, understanding the needs of your visitors will result in memorable success.

So WHO is coming to your dinner party? You can’t be sure because you rang the dinner bell to the entire world. It’s not invite-only. Of course, not everyone that lands at your doorstep is a preferred or even welcomed guest, but we can break them down into a few categories and try to cater to all of them.

Meat & Potato Guy (or MPG) – No fuss – just give it to me straight. This guy knows exactly what he wants and doesn’t want to look too hard to find it. An MPG does not need to see the whole menu or read every description in detail to order. He is simple and unpretentious. He doesn’t have the patience for the waiter or host to go into a long narrative about all the daily specials. In fact, he can easily get confused or even worse, walk out in a huff if he doesn’t see what he wants immediately. When I design for the Meat and Potato Guy I cater to his needs by applying the important message clear and concise at the top part of the site where it’s easy to find. Large titles and easily to locate action buttons are the design tools I employ for MPG.

Sweet Tooth (ST) – Her real vice are the desserts. The ST often decides on her cake selection before choosing the main course. This guest is more impulsive, and tends to be easily tantalized into ordering something she probably doesn’t need. ST has many guilty pleasures and appreciates beauty and the finer details. These are not a distraction to her. On the contrary, they are expected and cherished. So when designing for these types, I make sure that the something extra or special add-on that only a few notice is one click away. I always put a big bright juicy piece of candy right in the middle top portion of the page at eye level, staring the Sweet Tooth right in the face. How can she resist?

The Foodie (TF) – TF also stands for touchy feely. She yearns for extra information about every ingredient. She asks, “Where was it made, how did they make it, why is it the best, and who prepared it?” This gal loves the whole experience and appreciates both the science, history, and the art of a meal. TFs want to taste every flavor, comment on each sample, read the recipes, and even meet the chef. For this discerning guest, I start the design at the top of the screen adding more and more detail as I go as she demands, building one layer of content after another. Adding spices and building the flavor of the site as I go. The Foodie… the person we graphic designers die for. We love to serve up unique style, layouts, typography that excited the genuine aficionados.

Food Scientist (FS) – This guy is a true scientist and all his decisions are based upon research and data analysis. He investigates deeply into every aspect of the meal. His appetite for information is bottomless. The FS reads the reviews, studies the ingredients with a microscope, and wants the nutritional values. He starts at the very top of the page and slowly, meticulously, reads through the entire menu. He doesn’t leave a page unturned (or a link un-clicked). He starts at the very top of the page and slowly, meticulously, reads through the entire menu. Here it is imperative that you satisfy his hunger for more and more information, or he could leave a bit apprehensive. The design strategy here is to provide answers to his questions, in a way that makes him in charge of his path. Read more…learn more…request info…read reviews, etc. are all at his fingertips. This way you don’t confuse or bore the other guests with the extra minutia.

As you can see my overall design strategy and presentation builds one on top of the other. I am very careful not to overload the page with text and images or extra distractions losing your guests attention and the primary goals. I keep it short and sweet, concise and to the point, but when necessary or requested, more details can be accessed, all while maintaining the theme, tone, color scheme, voice and messages along the way. Big meaningful messages, easy to read fonts, intuitive navigation, engaging UI – my designs are rich and flavorful from top to bottom. Whatever it is I am trying to persuade the user to do, in the end, it is employed in my design strategy, direction, position and approach to move the user to action. By doing this I make sure that everyone is satisfied no matter who sits at your table.

Ready to entertain? Send out the invites and let Chef Rick prepare you a delicious website which will have your guests coming back again and again!