A website wireframe on a notepad.

On Monday, we discussed what pages are essential to any website, regardless of the industry. Two other essential site elements that we want to discuss are the header and the footer. A vast majority of websites have a header and a footer, even if they are minimal or unobtrusive, and they both serve important purposes that benefit the site’s UI/UX.

What they are…

The header and footer are both key elements of a website, and each one is aptly named. The header is the row or area that runs along the very top (or head) of your webpage, and the footer is the row or area that runs along the very bottom (or foot) of your webpage.

With most standard sites, the header and footer remains consistent on all webpages (meaning the appearance and the content does not change, while the pages themselves vary). However, some sites have unique headers or footers for their homepage, specific interior pages, or landing pages, depending on the needs, purpose, and design of that specific page.

The header and footer contain valuable information that the user may need to access conveniently and intuitively, such as navigation or contact information. 

What they do…

While the header and footer of a site are unique in both placement and appearance, they both serve the same purposes and contain similar information.

The first purpose is brand awareness.

Most brands include a recognizable variation of their logo in their header. Some brands opt to just showcase the brand’s icon, while others might include the company name or the complete logo. The most common logo placement is on the top left corner of the header, but some brands will choose center or right justification if it better compliments the overall design of the webpage. Including your brand identity in the header of your page (and in the footer, if possible) helps visitors immediately recognize (or confirm) who’s site they are on and helps build brand awareness with each visit.

The second purpose is navigation.

Depending on the number of pages a site has, that website may have several menus. Your header menu (which is the most vital) should include links to your home, about, product or service, and contact pages. If there are any other pages your visitors might frequently visit or have convenient access to, you can include them here as well. These same links should also be included in your footer menu, but you can also include additional links to pages that are less frequently visited but still need to be accessible to the public, like your FAQs, terms and conditions, or privacy policies.

The third purpose is lead generation. 

Since the header is the first thing your visitor sees and the footer is usually the last, you should use them both to their fullest potential to try to generate leads. Many brands do this by including a click-to-call button in their header, and either including all of their standard contact information in the footer or attaching a contact form there that shows up on every page. Also, if you’re offering a discount or special sale, you can feature this in your header as well.

Why they are important…

The header is the very first thing your visitors see when they land on your site, and it sets the tone for their entire experience. The footer is equally important, as it is usually your last chance to get their attention and encourage a conversion or action. This is why these elements are essential and why they should be treated with great attention, effort, and intention.

Through learned browsing behavior and consistent browsing habits, most website users are subconsciously dependent on the header and footer of a site to quickly identify the brand, navigate to other pages, or find contact information. Users naturally scroll to these two areas expecting this information to be there, so it’s important to provide that information to your users.

Make the most of your header & footer.

When we design & develop a website for one of our clients, we pay close attention to the header and footer. We consider what information should be included, how they should look, and how they work with each unique page of the site to provide your users with the best possible UI/UX.

If you or your users aren’t satisfied with your current header and footer, or you’re interested in launching a new site with stellar headers and footers, contact us today to speak with one of our experts.