When the first websites emerged in the early 90s, the thrill of having any kind of online presence pushed niggling complaints about slow loading times, boxy graphics and broken links to the sidelines.
But these days the novelty’s worn off and there’s lots more competition — so poor web design makes users frustrated and might damage your reputation.
Getting it right requires a few ground rules, so here are three ways web design influences customer experience.
First impressions last online — so the immediate visual appeal of your site has a massive impact on consumers.
There’s no point cramming as much information as possible onto each page because it’ll look cluttered and your key marketing messages will get lost.
But you should include the following:
- A responsive design — mobile web use overtook other devices in 2016, so if your site isn’t optimised to offer customers the same smooth experience on their phone as on a PC, they’ll abandon you quick-smart and search for a competitor.
- Fab fonts — Sans-Serif fonts have become very popular for websites in recent years. They look bold and lively without becoming distracting, so the reading experience is smooth, and your key messages are absorbed effortlessly.
- Multimedia — an animated ‘explainer video’ can encapsulate your business offering in a minute, meaning customers quickly get a feel for your business and want to learn more. Videos, infographics and interactive elements break up the text on your page and make the whole experience more engaging.
Your site should also be simple for users to navigate — intuitive dropdown menus can work well, and clever use of colour can make calls to action more prominent. All these features make conversions more likely, whether your aim is capturing newsletter sign-ups or sales.
Pages that take ages to load really put off customers —and Google is set to make page speed a factor in mobile search ranking soon.
So slow pages might mean new customers can’t find you because your site’s taken a nosedive down the search engine results pages, and those who do come across your site are wasting time waiting for pages to load.
There are a few simple fixes to improve page speed:
- Optimise image sizes by using jpeg files for high-quality images.
- Replace autoplay multimedia with audio and video elements that users click manually on each page.
Speed is particularly important on mobile, where users tend to want reliable information rapidly and often have a high purchasing intent. So if your site loads at a snail’s pace you might be missing out on conversions — Google recommends a sub-second load time for mobile.
Positive customer reviews and testimonials are very influential, so make the most of them online.
92 per cent of customers read online reviews and 72 per cent say they make them trust a business more.
And projecting a reliable and trustworthy image is particularly important for B2B businesses — shrewd fellow businesspeople want to know that their hard-earned cash will be well spent on your products and services.
You might also include:
- Photos of your staff looking happy and helpful — this reflects a positive internal culture and humanises the online experience for customers.
- Case studies — if you can show photos and videos of your products being put to practical use in a business setting, their usefulness to similar companies will immediately become more apparent. Tie case studies in with testimonials for an influential double-whammy.
- Blog — a well-written blog brings personality to your website. You can keep customers up to date with the latest developments in your firm, highlight community projects you’re involved in and provide oversights and opinions on your industry as a whole. A regularly-updated blog refreshes your website and provides sharable content for social media channels.
Tweak your website according to these three areas and customers will have an experience that makes them come back for more — boosting your online presence and bolstering your business.
For more advice on terrific web design, get in touch with us today.