Any company that invites online quotes, reservations and bookings is more than likely to start the process from a sidebar on their homepage or inside a large header. This is fine, but there are common design mistakes that go along for the ride.
1. Too many fields
asking for information when someone has just arrived to the homepage is like a salesperson pouncing on a customer as they enter a store. Marketers insist on it. Site visitors don't, unless you've got an amazing offer.
2. Placing Trustmark images around the application
Some sites pile them up on top, the sides and underneath in an effort to show authenticity. This is overkill.
The one image you want to be seen clearly is the "Submit" button.
3. Putting site search next to your lead application
Especially don't try this when your application is a search or browse one. (Yes. I've seen this done.)
4. Piling forms, app, search
Separate your forms, apps and search fields from each other.
A site search and newsletter signup are not likely as important to your bottom line so avoid piling everything into one spot on the page.
Think: What do I want visitors to do first?
Look at where your applications lives.
There is the left sidebar with tasks, Trustmarks and maybe a form.The middle has content, embedded task links, links to inside pages, the value proposition and more content. The right sidebar has promotions, newsletter, brochure, catalog, quick links and more Trustmarks.
What do you want visitors to do first?
Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, search engine optimization and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, and persuasive design. Human Factors and Usability and how it blends with Search Engine Optimization have been her passion for over a dozen years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998 and was a self-employed usability and search engine marketing consultant for Cre8pc.com since 1996. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability and persuasive design in her role as Usability and User Interface Analyst.