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  • Christie Clark

Designing for Desktop: Dos & Don'ts



When designing a digital advert, you have to make certain that you fully appreciate the context of what you’re designing for. Though they may seem very similar, the way that ads display on a desktop and on a mobile device is very different.


At times, designing digital ads for display on desktop can seem like the opposite of doing so for mobile. So, here’s a handy list of dos and don’ts to follow when you next start designing digital ads that are going to render on desktop screens...

✅ Do...start off humble


You need to remember that, wherever they come to engage with your advert, your viewer isn’t there to see your ad. They’ve opened their computer and gone onto a specific webpage to view the content of that page, not the ad that you’ve placed upon it. Baring your viewer’s inevitable lack of interest in mind when designing your ad should ensure that you’re working to create the best, most impactful, digital ad possible.


❌ Don’t...forget what you’re competing against


Your ad may be on the viewer’s screen from the get-go but it’s bound to be tucked off to the side of their display. Your viewer isn’t going to be looking directly at where your ad will be - they’re going to be looking at the page’s actual content so they could have a million different images and links and other competing ads in front of them. It could take your viewer six or seven seconds to even locate your ad because there’s so much noise (due to the amount of space there is available on screen). So, your ad really needs to pop and be the loudest, most unique, visual your viewer can see.


✅ Do...make sure that your ads have a strong end frame


If a viewer misses the first few seconds of your ad, they can (at least) make sense of your message if you have a cohesive and succinct end visual. Your final frame needs to be able to stand alone in its own right and needs to make a point of its own - it can’t be half a sentence split across the frame before that the viewer can only catch the final bit of it. On a desktop, a viewer can spend time stationary before scrolling so, if they’re reading copy while your advert actually plays, you still have a chance to catch their attention with a solid end static.


❌ Don’t...forget to loop your advert


Much like the importance of having a strong end frame, looping your advert is important for desktop digital ads because of the prolonged dwell time of viewers. On mobile, viewers can flick their finger and scroll right past your ad without seeing it at all so the potential for them actually seeing a secondary play is unlikely but you have to remember that that isn’t the case for desktop users. Setting your ad to loop can give site visitors a second or even third chance to see your ad rotate so you should always do it.


✅ Do…adhere to the specs that are given to you


Building to the wrong specs is an absolute dealbreaker for, pretty much, any and every client in existence. Don’t trash the user experience by creating an ad that’s way too big and heavy to run properly. Specs are shared for a reason - ignore them at your peril.


❌ Don’t...forget that your ads are a guest on someone else’s site


The website your ad sits on - that’s the party that your viewer’s attending. Your ad is basically a guest on that site (networking to generate you leads) so it has to behave itself. Like every decent party, there’s probably etiquette rules that it’s polite for you to follow. It’s why following specs and being mindful of the fact that other ads and content are all going to be present matter.

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