Footers are Underrated

Let’s be honest. Footers are not very glamorous. They’re very utilitarian, and they don’t often
look the prettiest. They’re at the bottom of the page,
a place which we know doesn’t get as much attention as the top of the page.
It’s fact of the web. But I’m here to tell you that footers are
the real MVP of so many sites. Okay, I know when you think footers, the
first thing that might pop into your head would be a footer of the past: maybe an entire sitemap,
or something disorganized and filled to the brim with random links that
no one knows what to do with. For example, that random PDF
that no one can categorize? Let’s put that in the “Resources” link
in the footer! That said, I’m proud to say that footers have
come a long way since the early 2000’s. They’ve really grown up. Here’s why I think they’re great and severely
underrated: First of all, people actually use footers! In our studies, people would arrive at the
footer and use it for a number of reasons: They finished reading whatever they were reading,
and maybe they were interested in more content, and went to the footer. Or maybe they purposefully navigated there, expecting information to be there in the first place. Or they turned to the footer as a last resort
because they couldn’t find it anywhere else on the site. Footers, in essence, act as a guide for users. They’re also great for increasing discoverability
of other parts of the site that aren’t as obvious. Global navigations may have certain constraints
due to real-estate, especially being on responsive or mobile designs. But footers, they allow for
more flexibility, because you can incorporate different styles and components, and expose layers
of content that maybe didn’t get top billing. Some examples of what can be included in the
footer are: subcategories or deeper levels of the site’s
information architecture; maybe tasks that aren’t featured in the global
navigation, but might still be important for certain user types, for example, information
about careers, investor relations content; customer engagement links or social media
accounts; maybe customer service options; They also provide an opportunity to re-engage
with customers. If a user has made it to the bottom of your
site, you can pretty much guarantee that they are interested enough in the content on that page. So, when it comes to engaging them further,
use that moment in the journey to inform other content you might offer. Related content in the footer is a great way
to re-engage customers. That said, you also need to make sure
that that related content is truly relevant. Keyword stuffing might lead to content looking
more ad-like than truly related. Contextual content is a great option as well
– maybe you have a “generic” footer that users might use on other parts of the site,
but within an article or product page, maybe there might be certain common questions.
Think about what those questions might be, and see if there’s an opportunity to answer them in a contextual footer. Look, I know minimalism and flat design is
really “in” right now – and maybe you could technically opt for the bare minimum footer
content: the legal stuff like Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Copyright Info. But we find that functional footers – that
is, more “full” or “fat” footers that include navigational links, related content,
social links, etc, they tend to increase engagement with a site much more compared to a minimal footer. Ultimately, it’s up to you how “fat”
or “skinny” your footer is, but the data doesn’t lie: footers are here to stay. Don’t sleep on them – they might be more
important to your audience than you think they are.

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