For many brands, web design seems like a foreign concept.
On one hand, a typical brand may understand that the company needs a website, but the person in charge may not necessarily understand how web design can impact the brand.
This article focuses on the importance of an effective web design strategy, explaining how each design aesthetic plays a monumental factor in branding and ultimately generating sales.
A brand’s website makes a big difference to consumers and investors.
A good website is what separates your brand from a legitimate business and having zero credibility.
Brands should not think of web design as just content. Instead, brands need to view web design in the realm of marketing. An effective website makes you take action. Whether you purchased a service, signed up for a newsletter or donated funds, you did so because your experience on the website was effective at holding your attention. Thus, an effective website is essentially a useful marketing tool.
There are many components that go into creating an effective web design strategy. As a business owner, you should ask yourself many questions before building a website. For the sake of brevity, this article will focus on the most important elements of web design including purpose, content, font, color, image, navigation, categorization, F pattern design, load time, mobile friendly,
In order to create a web design strategy that translates into sales or incites a specific action such as signing up for a newsletter, a web designer must have a clear understanding of user experience.
What Is User Experience?
User experience (UX) is a broad term that refers to having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations.
UX best practices promote improving the quality of the user’s experience on your website. It also ties in with the user’s perception of your product and any related services because of your website.
The core of UX is making sure that users find value in what you are providing to them. As a brand, a website works as a portal to your company. It’s the face of your company and features your brand’s goals, services, products and other credible information.
Peter Morville explained the concept of UX in an easily digestible visual. You can view the infographic here.
Why Is Web Design Important?
According to the Missouri University of Science and Technology, a person’s eyes take 2.6 seconds to focus on a specific element of a web page when it loads.
This means on average, it take a person less than 3 seconds to determine if your website is important.
Within that small window frame of time, the user determines the following:
– Your brand’s credibility
– Your brand’s purpose
– Whether or not your brand’s purpose (i.e., services or products) relates to her needs
The strength of your website’s homepage determines whether or not a user will stay on the website and navigate to other pages. An effective web design strategy addresses many factors that contribute to a user remaining on the website and taking a specific action.
Why Are Visual Elements Important To A Website?
When you go to a website, the first thing that captures your attention is visual, which includes content, fonts, graphics, color, images and videos.
All of these elements must incite a specific emotion, which will translate into action from the user. Once a brand is aware of the emotion that they want to be associated with, they can replicate that feeling on their website with images and content. Visual elements interact together in an ecosystem that creates a mood in the user.
“People have [feelings] about your company based on the experiences that they have had with a brand,” Adriana Marin, a freelance art director, told Business News Daily.
“Great design not only conceptually reflects the mission of your company, but also, functionally, it’s the embodiment of that concept,” added Ty Walrod, CEO of Bright Funds, an all-in-one corporate program for donating, matching and volunteering.
As an example, Marin cited Apple’s unique designs, which distinctly distinguish itself from its competitors. Apple worked with several partner companies to create the consistent design aesthetic consumers recognize today.
People are more responsive to a strong visual than a short paragraph.
This is why its important to engage with consumers with a clean, simple aesthetic that includes images.
“An image can communicate even complex messages quickly, concisely and memorably,” Cole Sletten, creative director at digital branding agency Ready Set Rocket said. “It’s this same drive for fast consumption that has evolved the Internet from its text-centric roots into an image- and increasingly video-centric.”
For this reason, Marin noted that eye-catching visuals will set your brand apart. The imagery you use should be relevant to your brand and engage your target audience, and when in doubt, keep things direct and simple, she said.
When it comes to web design, the rule of thumb is to prioritize simplicity over complicated strategy.
A brand should be explicit, concise and transparent with its information.
The content should establish a tone, look and feel that is reflective of the brand and its consumers. The reason behind this is simple: a brand’s website is a marketing tool. Because the website is a entity of the company, it should reflect the company’s image.
What Is Website Navigation?
Website navigation refers to the process of navigating a network of information resources on the Internet. It can refer to navigating information entirely on the Internet or on one specific website.
You may not understand website navigation fully as a concept, but everyone knows the difference between a good website and a bad website.
A bad website, like a good website, does cause you to react but the reaction tends to be to exit from the homepage and never return. When this happens, this is attributed to a poor user experience. In turn, a poor user experience can be attributed to a poor web design strategy.
A bad website has the trappings of a poor user experience.
A poor user experience essentially means the following:
-You did not get the information you were looking for
-The website provided misinformation which made you view the brand as a poor authority figure on the subject matter
-The information was not presented clearly which confused you
-Navigating the website was difficult and confusing
When creating a web design strategy it is imperative to your website to have an understanding of your consumer or user.
You must understand why someone would want to visit your website. Once you understand the reason behind that action, you can now set up visual information in the form of content and images in a specific order on your webpage for said person. Again, you would need to put yourself in the mindset of the user.
Ask yourself the following questions when creating an effective web design strategy:
-Why did I come to this website? What information am I looking for?
-Now that I am on this website, why should I stay?
-What is this website’s speciality?
-How does this website’s services or products align with my goals?
Once you can answer these preliminary answers, you’ll have an understanding of where to place your content. Your content should be clean, clear and concise. It should be easy to find on your webpage through tabs or a drop down menu. In fact, navigating a website in general should be effortless.
Remember if a user finds your website to be too difficult to navigate, whether its for information or to the next page, she will not return and you will lose a potential customer.
How Does Navigation Affect Web Design?
If your web design isn’t aesthetically pleasing both visually and content wise, it will negatively affect a consumer’s user experience. Thus, a good web design strategy affects a user’s navigation experience.
“Figure out what the most important information is that you need users/customers to take away from that page, and make it extremely easy to find and understand,” explained Christina Coviello, head of UX (user experience) research at Noom Inc. and a freelance consultant. “Then identify the most important action you’d need users to take on that page and make it prominent and easily accessible.”
For example, Coviello suggests adding a purchase button on the homepage as a call to action. Whatever call to action you choose, it should engage your audience with your services and/or products.
Another important factor of web design is creating a website that is mobile friendly.
Ever since data was released that shows more people access the Internet on their mobile devices than an actual desktop computer, Google has made a website’s mobile friendliness as a factor in determining your website’s ranking.
For example, lets say you made the perfect website based off of a great web design strategy. But your web design strategy does not include optimization for mobile devices. As far as Google is concerned, your website doesn’t exist because it is not compatible to mobile devices.
When creating a web design strategy focus on responsive web design. Again, this will give your website a cutting edge from other websites that have not covert to industry best practices.
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