You may be thinking that a new website is a huge investment, or you may be questioning how the return will exceed the expense. Outlined in this post are some elements I have put together to make this decision easier to make. Please use these elements as a tool to help further refine your brand.
Is your website user-friendly?
Being user-friendly means giving your target audience the best experience possible. That expectation is already at a high level as people expect their experience to be immediate, relevant and frictionless. Design is the vehicle to carry the relevant content to people in the best way possible. Without good design or content, the user experience dwindles along with your brand perception across your target audience.
- Simplicity: K.I.S.S.
- Action Leading
Simplicity Is Key
Keep it simple stupid, or K.I.S.S., is an acronym for designers to always simplify and refine their design work. Simple web design means no clutter, intuitive navigation, readable font choices and crisp logos. The most popular websites around are Google, Amazon, Facebook and Wikipedia. Simplicity is something all of these brands have in common because it gives people a faster, better and more beautiful experience.
“ Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”
– Steve Jobs
If you don’t have the best eye for design and need consultation, there are two ways to do that. The first way is to user test your website to get feedback from independent web users. Here are some resources: usertesting.com, filesq.com and whatusersdo.com are just a few. The second way is to talk with a marketing agency that best suites your company.
Readability Is Crucial
Effective design and good typography go hand in hand. A good design will have legible typefaces so people can read the content with ease. People read screens differently than books or pages. People scan a website first to decide if the content is worth their time. That means well-designed typography is key to maximizing conversions. This includes maximizing readability, accessibility and graphic balance. Readability is in large part about usability. If your current website doesn’t treat the typography right, you could be losing out on a lot of business.
What would be a good typeface to use? It is all about scalability and easily recognized letterforms. Depending on the size of the device you are using you want to make sure all have appropriately scaled typeface. Many typefaces are readable at larger sizes, but when scaled down, those same typefaces may start to have problems. A person with twenty-twenty vision should never have to strain their eyes in order to read your content.
Action Leading Is Necessary
A well-designed interface should lead users to accomplish the main goal of the website. Most of the time that would be the checkout cart or the contact page. Secondary goals need to be defined too, for example you may want people to checkout from the cart but you may also want them to give you a call. Defining what is important helps determine if your website is successful. Here are three things you need to consider to make sure your website is encouraging users to take action.
- Define the place you want people to go. Where does your target audience want to go on your website?
- Does the interface organize information properly to guide people to that page? Are they receiving a good experience in their process to get to that page?
- Do you have clear calls to action that prompt them to take the next step? What is the most important call to action? What is secondary? Remember, nothing stands out if everything does.
If you don’t have a strategy behind how each page is going/needing to perform, you will not be able to gain traction toward improving your website. This strategy is meant to be refined over time and should reflect the way your website is designed.
Does your website’s design speak to the quality of its products or services?
The first impression a person has of your website directly reflects upon your brand and your products/services. Design is the vehicle that drives the content to communicate a specific message to your target audience. How do you want your brand to be perceived? Your website design should visually represent the quality of your products/services.
“ If you don’t care about how your website looks, what else don’t you care about?”
– User on usertesting.com
- Update your design to leave a high-quality brand perception.
- Design helps your company stand above your competition.
- Design will help people stay longer on your website.
High-Quality Brand Perception
A web designer’s job is to deliver your business goals through a visual online experience. Better brand perception, for the most part, is always assumed to be included among those business goals in a new design. Here are some questions your designer should ask you to maintain the right brand message in your new design: What do you do, why is it important and why should people care? Is your brand meant to teach, improve quality of life or entertain? What is the tone of your brand’s voice? A good web designer communicates your brand’s message to your target audience while also delivering the business goals you laid out for them.
Design Helps You Stand Above Your Competition
Competition is essential to a businesses success. It validates the demand for your product or service. Competitor sites also serve as another medium or resource for people to see and review before making their decision to make their purchase. Typically people have to hear and/or see a message around
7 times before they take action. Your site could be the seventh exposure and if that exposure is paired with a strong quality design, it will only help those consumers to convert with your brand in mind.
People today don’t have time to consume or buy something they have no interest investing their time in. The moment you try to garner a consumer’s attention, you lose that person to some other content that does interest them. How many times have you heard people talking about today’s generation and immediate gratification? It’s true; today, people don’t have to experience anything they don’t want to. People today can and will change their experience in a matter of seconds. So how, then, do you grab their attention? Simple: You give them the experience they are looking for. How do you do this? You build a relationship with your target audience; ask them what they are struggling with that pertains to your product or service. When you give them those solutions they will feel like you are reading their mind and care so much about their experience that they will tell others about it.
Design is not just about being visually appealing; design is about the solving problems and making your experience better. When your consumers realize that you can deliver a better experience to them on your website it allows them to choose your brand over your competition more easily.
Design Keeps People on Your Website Longer
Engaged visitors are more likely to purchase your product, sign up for your services or tell others about you. When people are visually overwhelmed, they are less likely to purchase anything on your website. Simplifying and improving the design for a pleasant reading experience gives people their precious time back. NEVER make your audience think about how they could better consume your content! This should be something that is very easy for them no matter what device they choose to look at your website on. What are they coming to your website to do? Give them the easiest way to get it.
When Deciding to Update Your Website, Ask Yourself These Questions
What am I saying to my target audience? Does my content reflect well on my brand? Does the design of my website frame my content to sell my brand message appropriately? When people are reading my content, are they able to easily navigate my site as well? Is my website giving people a good experience? Can people find me online? Does my website respond to any and all devices?
In order to be up to date with today’s expectations, you need to be able to answer all of these questions confidently. If you can’t answer confidently, it is indeed time to update your website.
Read more on this subject: When is it time to update your website? Part One
Get the PDF of the book "The Busy Marketer's Guide to Persuasion in Website Design" for free.
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