Successful web design means a website that not only looks appealing but also creates a return on investment. A website can have a great product but with poor design and usability the customer most likely will not take action. A website needs to be designed to its fullest potential to reap the rewards. A well designed website can promote products and/or services further.
Whether you are creating a brand new site or redesigning an existing site, design and usability need to be your top priorities. If these two goals are not achieved, you most likely will not see the benefits from your website. During the design process many designers will “ over design” , filling a page with useless clutter that is distracting from the main call to action points. A good guideline in web design is less is more. It is better to keep your website simple and easy to use (this is only a guideline, simplicity may not always be the answer). Always keep your target audience in mind, this will help determine how simple or complex your website design should be. The entire website should be planned and well thought out before designing but there are three aspects that should get extra attention, navigation, call to action points and the checkout process (if your site uses one).
Navigation is a fundamentally important part of your website. Now that you have the customer at your site you need to provide them with an easy browsing experience. There are a few things to think about when planning your navigation. It should have a visual appeal/good design, be easily accessible for your customers and have good functionality. The design of your navigation should be visually appealing to your customers and make them want to click through your website. Along with good design accessibility and functionality are just as important. Your navigation may look pretty but if it is hard to locate and doesn’ t function properly then your customers will most likely leave your website.
Call to action points are the areas where you want your customer to take action. Whether it’ s making a purchase, filling out a form, or signing up for a newsletter, these are the main points of your website and if these points are overlooked then your website is not achieving its goal. You should use familiar language like buy now, register for free, subscribe or free demo. In some circumstances you may want to create a sense of urgency like expires soon or for a limited time only and of course your call to action points need to be designed well. It is important that these points are positioned properly and have enough white space around them so they catch customer’ s attention. Color and size are two other aspects that will help your call to action points stand out. Choosing an alternate color not used in your site will help these points to stand out and hopefully get you customer to act. The size of your call to action points is also important. You never want huge obnoxious buttons, but it is proven that the bigger your call to action points are the more chance they will be noticed.
Once a customer gets to the checkout they have decided to make a purchase, you don’ t want to give them time to change there mind. Most checkouts require multiple steps, be sure you always design some kind of progress indicator so the customer knows what step they are on and what step is next. The checkout should also include a summary window showing the customer what they are purchasing. This may seem redundant but it will provide reassurance that they are purchasing their desired items. Another good feature
to include is allowing customers to checkout as a guest, skipping the “ create an account” step. Most customers don’ t mind creating an account, but for those in a rush this is a nice feature. If you only allow customers to checkout after they have created an account, then you should show them the benefits of creating an account. The design of a checkout is important and should have a clean design that is easy to understand.
In order to create a return on investment, your website needs to be designed with the customer in mind. It needs to be a user-friendly experience. If a customer cannot get around the website or is confused on how to use it, then you could potentially lose customers and not get the results intended. There are many aspects to getting your return on investment from your website, but well designed navigation, call to action points and checkout are three areas that will have the biggest impact.