Why Invest in Good Website Design?
One of the most important marketing tools that any company can have in its arsenal is a well-designed and effective website. In the age of Google Search and constant connectivity, it is a company’s website that is the first port of call for most potential clients and business partners and thus it becomes important for the website to be as attractive, informative and useful as possible. In this age of competition, when setting up a website is a matter of a few dollars and some basic understanding of computers, company websites can be found a dime-a- dozen and the one thing that can set a company’s website apart from its competitors is its design. A good first impression can make all the difference, since it is almost always the last impression as well. This is because when a potential client sees an unimpressive website, he or she can, with just a couple of clicks, move to another website.
Hiring a good and reputed web design company is of course the first step. But it’s equally important for the clients themselves to understand what the elements of good website design are. It is also necessary to be able to identify the common mistakes made in web design and how to avoid these pitfalls. This not only helps the clients form a clearer picture of the website that they want, it will also enable them to communicate their requirements to the web designers more effectively. A well-informed and educated approach to web design – both by the web designers and clients – will help to save a lot of time as well as money.
The first step in this regard is to be able to identify the common errors made in web design. There are many reasons why a website may fail to impress or attract users.
The web design trend which was used to design that particular website may be old and out of fashion. While it may still be perfectly functional, to the user, it reflects the company’s attitude towards to their business. According to the user, if the company hasn’t bothered to stay updated with its website, then it hasn’t bothered to stay abreast of latest technological and other developments in its own field.
Following the same logic as the first point, the contents of the website need to be updated as well. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make. If the user tries to get in touch with the company and the contact number provided on the website no longer exists, the user is not going to bother with trying to find out the new one. He or she will simply move on. Similarly, if a product or a service that exists with the company has not been mentioned on the website, the user will go away thinking that the company is out of touch with current developments.
Errors in language
If there are language-related or factual errors on the website or some of the buttons and links don’t work, then it shows a lack of attention to detail and that is the image that the user is going to have of your company too.
Overcrowding of features
Another common error is cluttering the website with too much information or too many features. Too many colours, too much text or too many images: all these make the website look too ‘busy’ and instead of attracting users, end up confusing and annoying them.
Common patterns of web usage and how they affect website design
According to studies on internet use, the average user spends less than a minute on most websites. This is what is termed as ‘scanning’. In fact, the average time spent ‘scanning’ each web page is often just four or five seconds. This means that a website needs to grab the user’s attention in an incredibly brief period of time. Most users don’t actively note the good or bad features of a website; website design, in fact, affects most users subconsciously. If a website is attractive, updated with the latest contents and web design, is structured in a usable manner, then the user is immediately attracted to it. On the other hand, a badly designed, outdated website has exactly the opposite effect.
The common mistakes of web design have already been stated. So how do you ensure that not only do you avoid these pitfalls, but you actually make a website that is attractive, useful and has a high recall value. There a number of techniques and tips to keep in mind in order to grab the users’ attention.
Effective Web Design Tips
Professional look and feel
First and foremost, a website needs to look professional. The web design used has to be such that it will immediately create confidence in the user and will encourage them to avail of services or products that are offered on the website. A good example of such a professional design is the website of Apple Inc. The web design is consistent with their products as they both share clean-cut, functional and sophisticated looks.
Relevance of design to content
Web design also needs to be relevant to the website itself. If a website’s design looks like it has nothing to do with the company’s products or services, then the user will be confused. So using images of children on a website for web solutions is not going to make much sense for your users, while using those same images on a website for family financial planning will be more effective.
Visually pleasing design
Besides looking professional and relevant, the web design also needs to be aesthetically pleasing. This means that the use of fonts and colours needs to be consistent, and text needs to be balanced with images and videos. There shouldn’t be any blinking or overlapping text or flashing images.
The website should also be properly structured. This will make user navigation much easier. To do this, ensure that the important information is available easily to the user. Carefully consider what key words your users will need to find your products and make ensure Search Engine Optimization. Also, besides having clearly marked main sections, you also need to have different pages in each section. To make it easier for the user to find their way back, use navigation tools like dropdown menus or breadcrumb navigation.
Respect empty space
When setting up a website a lot of people are tempted to fill up every available space with information, pictures, videos and other widgets, because empty space feels like a waste. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Proper use of empty space on a website can actually draw the user’s attention to the relevant information. The user doesn’t feel overwhelmed and will actually be able to understand your company’s products or services more clearly.
A useful tip to pick up from advertising and marketing is the effective use of a tagline. Most products and services stay in our minds because of the catchy taglines we associate them with. For instance, McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’ it’ and Nike’s ‘Just Do It’: we only need to hear these words or read them somewhere to immediately think about the product. In a similar manner, the use of a catchy tagline – preferably in the header or the welcome page– will make your website instantly memorable.
No matter what language the content is in, always ensure that it meets the highest spelling and grammar standards. It won’t matter how impressive the logo or how catchy the tagline, if there is a typo or grammatical error anywhere, you are going to put off your users. It doesn’t take much to get your website proofed and edited, and it pays high dividends. It shows the user that you care enough about your company’s image, as well as its products and services.
Put your user in control
Another important thing to remember is that users like to have control over how they use the website. So try not to use pop-up windows or automatic music, as this only puts off users. Also, as far as possible, make sure that a new page or section doesn’t open on a new tab. Most users prefer the simplicity offered by the back button on the browser. If you feel this makes navigation cumbersome, use the breadcrumbs navigation system , as mentioned above.
Updated content and design
One more thing that needs to be remembered is that websites should be regularly updated, not just in terms of their content, but also in design. For this, when you’re structuring your website, you need to ensure that if it can be easily redesigned without causing any significant change in usability or navigation. Updated website design is very important, because users judge a company by how its website looks. If the design is outdated, they will assume that other aspects of the company are outdated as well.
Make it user-friendly
Most importantly, the website design has to be user-friendly. No matter how updated or well-designed the website is, it won’t matter to the user if they can’t comfortably use the website. This means that everything – from the information to the navigation – should be easy for people to understand, and use.
These are some important tips to help understand the value of good website design and how to get it. As we conclude, it will be useful to go over some of the more salient points covered in this paper. They are:
A well-designed and informative website will affect your brand positively. On the other hand, a badly designed and confusing website will only affect it negatively.
Good web design is important because it is a crucial tool in your arsenal to attract customers. A bad website will turn away your customers as well as potential partners, because it signals that you’re not serious about your business.
Sincerity and thoroughness
Updated website design is also very important, because it shows that you and your company are informed about the latest trends and make an extra effort to always be updated.
Guide your customers
Your customers don’t always know exactly what they are looking for. It’s your website’s job to guide them in the right direction. This can be done by making the information clear and the navigation easy.
Your website needs to be user-friendly. It should be accessible and understandable even to the most basic users.
Don’t clutter your website with too many elements, features or information. Always keep it simple to avoid confusing the users.
Attract your customers
Draw your users in with the use of catchy taglines, well-designed logos and short, direct sentences.
We hope you have understood the important features of effective web design and also how to avoid falling into common traps and mistakes. By keeping in mind the points listed in this white paper, not only will you save your time – your most valuable resource – but you’ll also be saving a lot of effort.