There is a direct link between user experience, marketing goals and your web design. The type of web design that you choose will drive your consumer’s experience, and your design should make sense for your website’s purpose. User experience requires that an e-commerce site should not have the same functional design as a financial institution’s website, and a lifestyle blog should be far different from a clearinghouse portal.
Here are a few different design functionalities:
With the vast volume of information available on the web, users are rightfully cautious about credibility. For companies depending on legitimacy and responsiveness as part of their brand image, web design must portray trust and competency. When internet security company LifeLock wanted to redesign its site, it used customer testimonials which, according to research, promote a sense of credibility better than corporate sponsors or monetary discounts. Whether they are in the form of text or video, testimonials and reviews engage the user, creating a bond of trust. These posts can be indexed for search engines and placed on social media so that they increase your site’s page rank (which is another factor that people use to establish credibility).
How important is credibility online? Using only reviews as our example:
• 63% of visitors are driven to make a purchase from a site with reviews. (stats from iPerceptions)
• Consumer reviews are 12 times more likely to motivate a purchase than your product description. (stats from eMarketer)
• 75% of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements (Yankelovich)
• 70% of online consumers consult reviews or ratings before purchasing (BusinessWeek)
Data clearinghouses, like financial institutions, libraries, and the U.S. Census portal, move huge amounts of information on a daily basis. The users’ experience of these sites depend on safe and quick, secure information access. These users do not need to linger on a site, making functionality and speed a must. Data-driven web design requires a large amount of specialized coding that will never be seen by the user but will influence the experience significantly. The web designer should structure the operations so that the program can predict consumer needs. To create the appropriate hierarchical structure for your site, you will probably need to hire an experienced programmer. A good data-driven design is not a DIY project.
For websites that expect repeat users, responsiveness is a key component. E-commerce sites like Amazon need to respond to the user’s browsing behaviors and be aware of the digital platform that they are using. This type of site design must work just as well on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a desktop. It also must transfer information between the two. Responsive design is based on the fact that a user will view the website on a variety of different devices ranging from a desktop computer to a tablet or mobile phone. Instead of having two different formats, your site will collect data and react appropriately to the user’s interactions even accommodating the ability to easily purchase right from a phone.
According to Jay Taylor of Search Engine Watch, “67 percent of users claim they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website, companies that rely on SEO are wise to begin making the transition to mobile-friendly websites, and responsive web design specifically.”
For more information about why responsive design may be important for your business, check out this article:
Aesthetics cannot be ignored when it comes to web design. Blogs, digital magazines, photojournalistic sites and online stores depend on it. White space is one of the most important parts of creating a visually pleasing website. White space is the amount of negative area between text and images, making text more legible and helping images stand out. Research shows that around 30 percent of your page should be white space, but not more than 50 percent—anything above that amount begins to negatively affect the functionality of the site.
In reality, design for user experience is much more than mere aesthetics; the sole purpose of design is to make your writing and photos stand out in order to effectively deliver your brand message. I love this question that Zach Bulygo asks on kissmetrics,
“If you could survey all the visitors who left your site, what would they have taken away? (What key message or trait would they know about your business?) If you don’t know or think there would be all types of different answers, you may want to reconsider the objective for your website.”
I look at UX Design as design that addresses three core aspects of your online presence:
1) Delivering your brand message perfectly for your audience.
2) Providing valuable content that your audience is looking for easily and immediately.
3) Instilling confidence and trust to all visitors.
It’s easy to get caught up in cool design trends or even designing for your own preferences instead of your audiences. Have you been taking user experience into consideration with your online business?