How Aspects of Web Design Can Be Used to Improve Business Results
Your web presence, in all its forms, is key to getting better results for your business. This may not seem obvious to some business owners that don’t quite see the connection, however, that doesn’t make it any less true. Whether it is the Facebook header that introduces the brand and leads down to the content on a business page, or the design of the company website, it all matters in different ways.
Here is how web design in all its facets can help improve business results.
Web Design for Navigation
The navigation on a site is often overlooked. It seems unimportant, but its appearance, how it’s structured, where it’s located and what’s there does matter greatly. When visitors arrive more often at the home page and then navigate around, instead of arriving through a Google search at an inner page, then it matters more because visitors are relying on it.
Some menus are sticky and stay in place usually at the top of the screen. Other menus disappear as soon as you scroll down beyond the fold and only reappear when jumping back to the top of the page. With web design, choices must be made about how navigation is best used and whether sticky navigation is sensible or not for the site’s audience.
Navigation to Increase Eyeballs on the Right Page
When the navigation is confusing or overly complicated, visitors won’t find the page they’re looking for when starting at the home page. They may not always think to use the site’s search function unless it’s made really obvious where it’s located. When it comes to design, think of navigation design and structure as part of the sales and conversion process. As the smart designers at iProgress web design know only too well, when visitors cannot find the product reviews or services page easily, then money is lost through a lack of sales. Therefore, navigation design and structure shouldn’t be overlooked.
Using Design to Create a Certain Aesthetic
There’s a good reason why luxury brands choose typography that’s clean-looking. It’s big, bold and usually sans-serif to make it extra readable too. When a luxury brand’s website is created using clean lines and good use of colour, along with excellent typography and slick photography, it looks like “Money”.
By contrast, a haphazardly put together website with typography that is a mishmash of styles and colours, with old-fashioned design that doesn’t look classy or sophisticated serves a high-end restaurant, boutique, fashion show, car showroom and other premium priced goods provider poorly.
The visitor associates a low-brow appearance with a low-quality product and won’t be convinced to visit or trust completing a purchase on the site either. As such, a client that wants to keep costs artificially low on their design budget while attempting to market a mid to high-priced product range only hurts themselves in the process. With design, you have to know your market to create a look that suits the audience and their sensibilities. Otherwise, all is lost.
Pay Attention to CRO
When thinking about conversion rates and optimising them, seemingly small tweaks here and there on a page or on a site overall, can lead to significantly different responses from visitors. A Call-to-Action button that uses wording which doesn’t appeal to that type of buyer won’t be as successful as one that considers the jargon that the people in that industry or demographic use. The typography and placement of the button also matters and affects how many people follow through with a purchase. Seemingly small details matter.
A-B Testing & Web Design
The use of A-B testing with two kinds of pages used to gauge reaction, response rates, subscription opt-ins or sales conversion is something that sophisticated companies use as an effective tool in their arsenal. While designers may think that they nailed the design perfectly and that it will sit well with most of the targeted audience, actual visitors may feel differently. There’s also subtle variations to positioning, font typefaces, and other style elements, that change the time on the page and whether visitors will take the action the site owner is look for, i.e. subscribing to a newsletter or making a purchase.
Designers can tweak the elements on the page to create multiple versions and run them through an A-B testing process to see which one customers respond to. Hugely successful companies like Amazon have been seen to do this with each revamp of their home page – especially when they implemented a changed navigational system because of another expansion to their product range. Smaller businesses can now perform A-B testing to boost their conversion rates too.
Using Analytics to Inform Design
Using Google Analytics or another analytics service, it’s possible to look at design decisions and revisit them months after the site was created or redesigned. Analytics can tell you which pages get the most (or the fewest) visits. You can examine the time on site for the average visitor. This can be cross-referenced with the pages that the typical visitor arrived on and whether they viewed more than one page or tended to bounce out from the same page.
When reviewing the data, it can identify issues with the web design and whether it could be adjusted to improve business results by changing visitor behaviour on the page. When pages with a single product review perform far better than ones using a multi-product review format, it’s time to look at how to improve the multi-product page because it’s obviously not designed as well as it could be.
Coming back to the issue of navigational clarity covered earlier, is the navigation too confusing to use and does it prevent people from moving around the site? Do they tend to hop from an inner page to the home page and then out to a linked page from there because of this confusion? The use of analytical data does require some intelligent amateur sleuthing to figure out what the data means for design, but it is possible to use it instructively to create better outcomes for the average visitor. It’s essential to stay on top of data as it can also help inform other decisions in a business alongside design.
Heat Maps for User Behaviour Insight
Heat maps which for WordPress are available as simple plugins, make it clearer where visitors are moving their mouse or tapping on the screen on a touch-sensitive device. The areas of use are highlighted within the software for subsequent analysis. Once you have a better idea what is (and is not) attracting the attention of the average visitor, design adjustments can be made to direct the eyeballs where you want them. Confusion about a page’s design can be resolved using the heat map tracker’s behaviour as a guide.
Web design is not a one time “set it and forget it” activity. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. Even the best designers make calculated errors with layouts that make the site less easy to use which in turn reduces interaction levels, opt-ins or a conversion from a visitor to a buyer. By taking some sensible steps to look at the results of the web design, smart designers can go back in to apply tweaks, or majorly overhaul it, to deliver better results for the business that the site represents. Therefore, web design teams must possess the humility to be willing to make improvements and not see them as previous failures.