As the person responsible for your company marketing activities online you’re likely to have been inundated with unsolicited calls from digital agency sales people pitching their services. You then ponder why so many companies who specialise in UX and web design even exist. Your website may be a little out-of-date when compared to your closest competitors but it provides the key information needed to educate your visitors as to why they should purchase your products or subscribe to your services. So why give your website a facelift? Due to the quantity of unwanted calls received, you may not have even taken the time to ascertain why they do what they do; what the science is behind their existence. Today, I’d like to provide a little insight.
The short and sweet answer is that a carefully and professionally carried out facelift on your company website can work miracles in attracting new business, increasing your conversion rates and creating better customer experiences.
As with branding, web design plays an instrumental part in attracting, engaging and interacting with your audience. As follows is a simple summary of the key elements that a good UX (user experience) designer will think carefully about when strategising how to improve a company’s website.
Navigation is key. It’s the skeleton to a user’s journey on your site. It’s the GPS to their destination. For that reason it’s paramount that it’s easily discoverable and makes automatic sense to the visitor. We no longer need to name a web page for SEO reasons; now the name simply needs to be decided upon based on your audience. What’s going to make a light bulb switch on instantly and make them certain of the quickest way to the information they seek. Simplicity is key with navigation; distractions and animations can irritate and confuse your audience. A good test is to sit with an elderly person who’s not too familiar with browsing the web and challenge them to navigate to certain information; and watch closely. If they can’t do it easily, then your navigation can be improved. It goes without saying that the easier it is for a visitor to navigate to the area they want to get to on site, the more likely they are to convert.
Your offline and online materials, messaging and identity must all speak the same language. Whether you’ve invested heavily in your brand identity or not you’re likely to have guidelines to adhere to when producing your corporate literature. These must follow through into your web design and digital marketing and really your website becomes part of your brand guidelines. Inconsistency in appearance does not give your company a good impression and ultimately makes your customers feel uncomfortable and lose trust in the value you’re providing.
Content & Positioning
Placement, language and typography of your content on site plays another important role, not only for SEO purposes but also in educating and appealing to your audience. Understanding your audience will allow you to know the buzzwords which catch their attention; tell them what they want to hear and present it in an easily legible way. In the western world we all grow up reading top to bottom and left to right, so if there’s more than one piece of content on a page the most important information should be positioned accordingly. Less can often be more with content; be succinct but welcoming and memorable.
Search Engine Optimisation
An example of how a website’s design can affect SEO is with the use of parallax scrolling and single page websites. Although aesthetically pleasing and a current trend, Google still favours the traditional website layout of having multiple pages, partly because having multiple pages allows you to spread your keywords over more than one URL; with a one page scrolling website there’s only one URL for all sections of your site, so keywords are jammed into one place affecting your SEO.
The most obvious example in which design can influence SEO is of course related to mobile searching; a fully responsive website is well-favoured in search engines over a non-responsive site. Needless to say, as a design agency, there are many reasons a responsive website is good and recommended, SEO is one, and another is that the bounce rate is likely to be considerably lower.
Showing that your company is committed to keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in web design can only help grow trust amongst your customers. As with your offline marketing efforts you wouldn’t typically stick to old trends, you also shouldn’t with your online presence because people do take note. Your offline and digital marketing efforts are likely to drive traffic to your site and if visitors can see progress and that you’ve made an effort to make their experience of your brand better it builds trust. It’s normal behaviour for your [potential] customers to shop around. Make sure your brand stands out above the rest and you’ll increase revenues.
In summary, web design does play a key role in your business and is not something to brush aside as unimportant. Your site’s web design plays a major part in how your brand is perceived by your audience all over the world and is something that everyone has access to, unlike an old printed presentation you might be embarrassed about and hiding away.