The Importance of Great Web Design to Business

Date Posted: Wednesday, 12 November 2014 20:06
Posted By: Kerry Butters

Congratulations to Hall's Window Center, Sacramento, California (an elcomCMS powered site) on their recent Design Excellence award. We also applaud another award winning site powered by elcomCMS, Austrade, which received the Awwwards site of the day, and is an example of a well designed Government site.

In this post we're going to touch on the main components found in a well designed site.

The Benefits of Good Design

The modern consumer is a demanding one when it comes to what they expect from businesses and this is especially true when it comes to websites. It’s common knowledge that a bad site can significantly affect traffic and more importantly, leads and conversions. As a single example, research has found that a site that doesn’t load quickly can affect conversions by as much as 7%, especially when it comes to mobile sites.

The mobile revolution has meant that many of us access sites on our smartphones and tablets and expect the sites to perform well, with clear navigation and the experience to be simple and non-frustrating.

Good design is a sum of its parts which should include:

  • Excellent UX (User Experience)
  • A good mix of media such as written material, video and images
  • Appropriate branding and graphic design
  • Consistent cross-platform experience
  • SEO
  • Good technical site structure

UX is something which has been around for some time but has recently seen a resurgence in interest as mobile has forced designers to look beyond the desktop.

The Cost of Bad Design

As mentioned above, a poorly designed site can negatively impact a business by reducing conversions. Site speed is just one issue that can affect this; the modern user not only wants to see pages load quickly, they also want to see a site that provides useful information delivered in such a way so that it can be consumed quickly and easily. Of course, it’s also important that a site be aesthetically pleasing and that the language used is well presented and appropriate to the niche.

Taking the above example of site speed and its effect on conversions, Kissmetrics point out that a one second delay in load time for an ecommerce site that makes $100,000 per day equates to $2.5m in lost sales each year. And that’s just one aspect of the design so if you bear in mind how other poorly designed aspects may lose the visitor then your site could be losing a substantial figure each year due to poor design.

Use Branding to its Best Potential

Many businesses don’t think in depth about branding and colour when first envisaging a design but they can also have a huge effect on how the visitor behaves. Colour choice influences the visitor as we naturally associate some colours with emotions. For example, businesses that want to impart a sense of trust and professionalism often use blue. Likewise, green is associated with nature and the environment so a company that doing something to aid the environment will often use this colour.

However, it’s not always an exact science, for many years the design community had argued that for CTA buttons, green is a better colour to use than red because the latter usually denotes delete or stop whilst green means to go ahead. In our head then this should mean that we choose to press the colour which prompts us to go further. However, in an A/B test carried out by Hubspot for Performable it was found that red beat green hands down by 21% when it came to conversions. With this in mind, it’s wise to carry out user testing when designing a site to ensure that your audience connects and does what you want them to do.

So when you’re thinking about branding, about which logos, colours and images that you’re going to present to your visitors, research colour psychology in design and ensure that once you’ve done this, a couple of different versions are tested on user groups. It’s not a bad idea to carry out usability testing all round to ensure that your visitors are getting a good experience on the site that will see them returning again and again.

Site Structure

Whilst content and design is hugely important, as is the way that the site is presented overall, it’s also important that the site is technically sound if it’s to perform to its peak and keep visitors coming back for more. Of course, much of the more technical aspects to the site will be something that’s not immediately apparent to the visitor, such as a logical structure, but putting the right foundation in place will often mean that the site has a good starting point at which to grow effectively.

Optimising for both SEO and accessibility is also integral to good design. Of course, you want the site to look good to the search engines just as much as you do to visitors if you’re to perform well in the SERPs. Likewise, accessibility isn’t just about ensuring that the site can be accessed and enjoyed by those with disability, but it’s also important to consider that for those who are colour-blind, some colours will disappear on the page and this means a button may not appear this way or text may disappear.

When it comes to designing a site for business, there’s obviously a lot to think about. This has been a brief introductory look at some of the main areas. Stay tuned, we'll be exploring these areas further in upcoming posts.

Congratulations again to Hall's Window Center on their recent Design Excellence award:

Halls Windows

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