If your web stats show high bounce rates, dismal conversion rates, and poor organic traffic, it may be time for you to sit down and analyze your web design. In today’s digital world where everybody searches for products online prior to making a purchase, your website has become the face of your business. Visitors will form opinions about you based on their online experience—and unlike potential customers browsing your physical retail store—you are helpless in changing their minds.
Let’s do a simple case study of these two competing office furniture websites by Corporate Office Interiors and DBI, both locally based in Michigan. One of these websites looks functional and reputable, while the other looks home-built and half-assed. If your start-up company is looking to purchase new computer desks, which furniture store would you trust with your investment capital?
Having a great web design will not only create an online representation of your business, but also deliver customers to your doorsteps. And it doesn’t have to be rocket science—you just have to put yourself in the shoes of your web visitors and find out what makes a remarkable experience for them. Here are a few guidelines you should know before sitting down with your web designer.
Start with a clean-and-clear user interface.
A good web design is not merely about adding flash animation or colorful graphics to the site. It’s about how it makes the user interface engaging and how it connects to its audience.
To put it simply, it should be designed for humans. Make it so easy to use and human-friendly that no one would be guessing what they are supposed to do next.
Do the links and buttons stand out from the rest of the body content? Is your lay-out clear and consistent enough that visitors will know how to navigate smoothly across the pages? Is the text point size big enough to read? (This matters especially when your audience is a little older.)
If you answered no to these questions, then you have to rethink your user interface blueprint.
Make the web design affective.
Do these brands create certain images in your head? Starbucks. Nike. Best Buy. These major brands have successfully built their images by influencing people’s emotions in their advertising.
Consider your website as the image enhancer of your business. Your web design has a hand in manipulating the emotions of your visitors through the use of specific colors, fonts, photos, or shapes. These little things come together to yield a subtle control on your visitors’ feelings on your product or brand.
So think of that one emotion that you want people to feel about your brand or website. To use the aforementioned furniture websites as an example, you may want to make your design look trendy and modern, yet professional and formal.
Provide a visible call to action.
At the end of the day, the main point of your web design is to make sales, or even just to invite visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, or to drop you an email for a product inquiry. It would help to lead them to these calls to action by placing prominent elements on the page, such as a headline or a button. These should be eye-catching enough that they wouldn’t hesitate to click on it.