In the modern world, having a robust web presence is crucial to maintaining a successful business. And although social media plays a big part in that, websites are even more important. To that end, the design of websites is almost if not more important than the website itself.
In fact, one study from Nielsen Norman Group revealed that visitors often leave web pages within 10-20 seconds if the page doesn’t capture their attention. This means business must make good first impressions with well-designed websites.
Thankfully, designing a website has been simplified from the days when typos could ruin entire page layouts in a website builder. One thing, however, remains a constant in web development: well designed websites attract visitors and poorly designed websites repel them.
In this article, we will discuss three key factors that make a website successful and position a business for growth.
1. Intuitive User Experience (UX)
Businesses that want to compete must ensure their websites are designed with User Experience (UX) in mind to drive traffic and increase awareness. According to Justin Mifsud, Founder of Usability Geek, “User experience … is a process for designing systems that offer a great experience to users.” To achieve this, website designers must consider the psychology of users by applying unique features that address needs from a user’s perspective. Although UX features are myriad, taking a few of these central needs into consideration will enhance the experience of any user.
One of the first issues a UX designer must contend with is usefulness. By answering the question of whether a website is useful to visitors, a designer can better understand what should remain on the website and what should be cut. If some content obstructs a user from achieving their desired goal on a website, it’s not worth keeping on the site.
But even if a website has useful content, designers must organize that content in a usable way. Also referred to as navigation, or information architecture, a website’s usability determines how easy or difficult a website is to use. Etsy, for example, has nine drop-down menus on their main navigation bar, so users can access the site’s most searched topics, themes, and products. This thoughtful feature allows Etsy to make the useful information on their website easy to use/navigate.
2. Responsive Design
If business owners want to compete in today’s market, they need to ensure their websites are universally accessible across all devices—especially mobile ones.
What distinguishes quality mobile versions of websites is that they are designed to adjust to different screen sizes. These adjustments are mainly made to adapt the size of content on the screen and make loading times faster. This in turn allows both mobile, tablet, and desktop users to enjoy the same website.
Since websites don’t automatically have adjust to a user’s device, it's important to work with designers who are skilled in creating websites with responsive designs. If a business’ website does not have a responsive design, then it’s costing the business potential customers. Moreover, if a user has a bad experience, they may also share their experience with others, which can cost a business even greater loss.
But even if a website is functional across devices and has good UX to boot, it still needs an identity. And the best way to convey a business’ identity is through great visuals.
Many users judge a website purely on the appearance of its colors, layout, and graphics–in short, it's aesthetics. Regardless of how we feel about it, all we can do is make a good looking, distinct website. Thankfully, there are a few aesthetic elements that can make all the difference.
One of the primary aesthetic concerns for any website should be color. According to Applied Innovations, “[Color is one] of the most powerful subliminal visual tools [designers can use to] influence the user experience on a website.” A decent web designer understands the importance of brand colors and knows when and where to use each color to effectively grab the attention of visitors.
Another identity defining characteristic of web page design is style. Whether a business sells pizza, software, or home security there’s always a style that can complement the product or service. In this way, a website can more clearly distinguish its purpose through its style.
Although explicit design elements like color and style offer websites an overall more aesthetic visual design, one of the most overlooked aesthetics is implicit: white space. Applied Innovations describes this unique aesthetic feature as akin to “listening instead of always talking […] a welcome break in a busy day, allowing visitors to focus on what’s important.” Indeed, white space offers businesses the ability to frame their content in a way that encourages usability.
By offering aesthetically pleasing imagery that suits a particular industry, a stylish website with appropriate white space draws visitors in without being too overwhelming. It usually takes a skilled pro with an artistic eye to build websites whose style can serve the business.
There’s no denying that a strong online presence with a well designed website is an essential component to successful business in the modern world. But it’s important to keep in mind that, despite a wide range of capabilities, ultimately a website is a tool to help grow your business.