A website that is clear, simple and easy to navigate could increase your sales by 100 per cent, as suggested by the latest research.
It appears that even if your products are less compelling than your competitors, if your website is clean and un-complicated visitors will stay on your site longer and are more likely to buy.
With the fast pace of life these days we expect things to be quick, easy and fuss-free. A website that is clearly marked out and easy to navigate will be more appealing than one that is complicated and busy.
With this in mind a website should be designed for the consumer. The quality of consumers’ online experience determines how long they stay on a site and whether they choose to make a purchase. Good website design coupled with good copywriting could convert up to 100 per cent more than a poor website.
User-centred design (UCD) optimises the principles of designing a website around how people can, want or need to work, rather than forcing the user to change how they work to accommodate the developers design. At each stage of the website design process the wants, needs and limitations of the end user should be evaluated. Rather than dictating how the user will use a website any site should be designed giving the user what they want. Jakob Neilsen, the grandfather of UCD said it doesn’t matter what a website looks like, just as long as it works for the user. Whether you agree with this statement or not the message is the same – usability is the key.
Many websites these days use Flash, and yes, this can make it look very pretty and appealing, but this needs to be weighted up with functionality. Making things bright and swishy doesn’t naturally comply with DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) and Flash content isn’t read by search engines. This begs the question – why use Flash? A well written site doesn’t need Flash, so wouldn’t you prefer a fully integrated site that everyone can see?
There is so much to think about these days when it comes to designing a website, Web 2.0 being one of the latest buzz words. Web 2.0 design style allows users to do more than simply find information, it provides greater user participation, a richer user experience and dynamic content. Web 2.0 also demonstrates clean, simple, basic lines – less is more, as they say!
Google, the most visited website on the planet is the prime example of the perfect website. It’s simple, clean and it just works – what more do you want, it doesn’t need to do anything else! Everyone recognises it you know what it does and it just does it – no big Flash banners, it’s not crammed with text and pictures – it just is.
A website is not a piece of art and it’s not the same as designing a poster. People view websites in completely different ways, whether it’s different browsers, operating system, security software, screen size, resolution, hardware or speed of connection. Designing a website must be about the user experience otherwise people will get bored and go somewhere else. Research shows that it takes only eight seconds for someone to choose whether to stay on a website or not so a site needs to be good enough to catch someone’s eye, but not complicated so that they don’t stay on the site.
Mystery meat navigation is something that some ‘designed’ websites use. Although they may look nice and pleasing on the eye the navigation is inefficient and confusing. If a website is complicated and unclear visitors will not stay on the site. It is not recommended to use something that people are unfamiliar with as they won’t know how to use it and it is a sure fire way of losing a sale.
When designing a website one of the key characteristics is functionality. If a site is clear and easy to use visitors will stay on the site longer, make return visits, bookmark the site and tell their friends. It’s not enough just to think about the colour and what its visual impact is, you must think about what people are coming to the site for. People expect a website to tell them what to do, so make things obvious to guide them. A website is often the first point of contact a company has with a potential customer, so make a good impression.