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I created a footer for a dental lab. I was trying to keep it warm and inviting, but now being told it "looks too casual" or "looks too simple". I heard the blues and grays are "too subtle"

So before I put glitter and <blink> tags I was hoping to get some feedback on perhaps color choice, fonts, or maybe I just did make it too boring?

footer version1

The part in the graph paper is the container that is 960px (using Foundation), the reason for the gap is that there is an aside with content towards the top. The second line in the footer looked better with text-align:right when it was just the year and name of lab, so I am centering that text as well.

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If you phrase it from a best practices in usability angle, this could be a good fit for UX.SE also. –  plainclothes May 7 '13 at 22:10
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Please note that the only correct use of the blink tag is when discussing Schrödinger's cat: It is <blink>not</blink> alive. –  Lauren Ipsum May 8 '13 at 1:22

2 Answers 2

Plainclothes has probably covered all of the important points to a 'successful footer'. These are a few extras.

A footer-sitemap improves not only the bounce rates, but also the visit time and the page-views, all of them quite important.

Something I notice in yours is a clear separation between the site and the footer, 'here ends the page', 'here there be footer'. They seem like completely different entities. There's a trend of making the footers part of the site, it's your choice, and not a rule, of course. Vimeo is a good example of this:

enter image description here

Finally: Interactivity! That footer seems a bit dead, to be honest. Not too tempting to click. Contact info could be much visible, instead of hidden in tiny gray text. Example:

enter image description here

There also bad practices for footers that affect SEO, so just in case you go the other way too much :)

The don'ts:

  • Duplicated content / boilerplate text - Never use duplicated content, spammers have been using boilerplate footers for a while now, and Google has grown quite cautious about them.

  • Link-filled footers - Also exploited by spammers, an excessive amount of links is penalized.

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Thanks for the tips. I was curious what you think about Vimeo's footer in the sense that they have a secondary CTA to "Join Vimeo" but then there is the links below it. In my case all I have for content is the links as Vimeo has. I guess I could experiment with some graphics below as you point out in the second example. –  JGallardo May 8 '13 at 0:17
    
I think the second CTA is a bit too much. It confuses me, to be honest, but mainly because we are so used to big banners in the top. I think the site in general breaks with the 'classic website', it expands to the sides, it has some unexpected elements. But some thinks seem to work better than others, and that CTA... not convinced :) –  Yisela May 8 '13 at 1:08

Sounds like what your client really means is "we want something different". Hard to answer that one. I suspect they're thinking of sites that try to salvage bounce rates by putting more enticing clicks at the bottom.

For starters, try just selling those links harder. Make them bigger by 2-4 px. Use a stronger color. Add some icons to differentiate.

Then you could consider anything that might be missing from a corporate perspective. Something like professional certification badges or security certs, if there's any ecomm going on.

What about social steams to show their activity? The most recent Facebook or Twitter post or the beloved "facepile" module that's everywhere now. Just show that they are legitimate and active in the online community.

The last thing I would try is a note about their guarantee of service, statement about number of satisfied customers, or some kind of promotion like gift certificates.

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I see where you are coming from with the "more enticing clicks" but it is really just secondary navigation within the site. Analytics shows that their customers usually just skim the pages and then go to contact page to call. I agree with making the fonts bigger though, thanks. –  JGallardo May 7 '13 at 22:15
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What about just giving them richer contact info in the footer then? –  plainclothes May 7 '13 at 22:24

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