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Why Good Web Design Matters

A well-made ad will capture your attention, even if it’s for a brand you didn’t think appealed to you. That’s because the people behind these ads understand what consumers like – ads that are bold, easy to grasp, and memorable.

It’s the same with websites – and anyone who thinks that investing in the design of a website is a waste of money is missing a trick. According to Digital Synopsis:

  • 35% of users fail to complete tasks on a website due to a lack of information or pages that are too ‘busy’ in their design
  • The banking industry drive the least proportion of visitors to conversion, with hotel websites having the highest conversion rates

Times have changed since a simple listing in the telephone directory or a shop on the high street was all you needed to survive in business. Today, bricks and mortar retailers are struggling, amid a growing in online sales. In 2016, online retail sales totalled £60bn in the UK. In 2017 this figure was £67bn – accounting for 17.8% of total market share. The fact the market share was 9.4% in 2010 puts this staggering growth in perspective.

So websites are clearly important, as they’re a retailer’s shop window to the world. Even small business owners with local followings need a good website, because customers will still be searching for their products and services on their devices. In fact, 71% of customers begin their journeys to a transaction on a search engine, according to research by Forrester. If a company hasn’t a decent presence online, they won't get the business – even if they’re not a global entity.

Top website design tips Following website design best practice is essential to success

Once you have decided to build a new site, what are the most important design elements? Here’s some quick tips to achieving a successful website.

1. Make it navigable

It might sound obvious, but rule one is making sure your website is easy to navigate around. Whatever the strengths your product or service, they’ll soon be undermined by a website that can’t be used in a simple way. It’s much the same in bricks-and-mortar stores, and even in garage forecourts – which are laid out in a uniform way so that everyone can find the products and make their purchases as easy as possible.

Navigation should be designed so that your user can get to where he or she wants to go with as few clicks as possible.

2. Uniformity is key

Remember, your new website is going to be integrating your brand (most likely in the form of your logo) into the online world. But this doesn't mean that it should vary from the way it is used in your offline printed materials. A consistent style and tone of voice across all media is very important, as it makes sure your business is recognisable from other brands, and creates trust and familiarity among your customers.

3. Make your visuals engaging

Using interesting and engaging images on your site is one way of increasing the time users will spend on your websites – and therefore the chance they will make a purchase. With an attention span of eight seconds, short, snappy messages are better. Also, keep your pages uncluttered and don't be afraid of white spaces – as we said before, ‘busy’ pages will put off customers.

4. Adopt a user-focused layout

There is something instinctively right about some sites. The majority of the world reads left to right, so the best sites place the most important elements (i.e. the product pages). On top of this, they ensure all pages are arranged in a similar, recognisable way, retaining that user comfort, trust and familiarity.

5. Make it search engine optimized

There’s more going on in a website than meets the eye – with lots of hidden factors at work to draw customers in. As we said earlier, with 71% of transactions starting with a search engine, the best websites optimize the copy on their website to rank highly for key search terms. These will vary greatly between different businesses, audiences and markets, but the best websites will have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to help their website rank highly in Google, Bing and Yahoo – and win more traffic and customers searching for particular products and services on the web.

The websites doing it best Wink Bingo has a great balance of easy navigability and eye-catching design

So now we know the rewards a great website design can deliver, let’s see what it looks like. Here we’ve cherry picked five examples of well-designed sites.

• British Airways

The British Airways website offers a masterclass in how to simplify a website and optimize the user experience. It simplifies the company’s huge list of destinations and travel options into one easy-to-use website. The customer journey is as simple as it can be. Once customers have booked their flights, they can then easily manage their bookings and arrange hotels and car hire. The design is also appropriately pared back. There are no lengthy lists of flights and prices – just boxes where customers can type in their destination, dates of travel and numbers of people travelling, before pressing the search button.

• Knoll

The Knoll website acts as an online showroom, where this multinational designer furniture company displays its products with simplicity, care and beautiful photography. The navigation is simple and the typeface is clear – as you would expect from a company that produces eye-catching designer products. Despite having plenty of information on the pages with full product details, dimensions, how to order, more from the same designer and a 'story' about the designer, there’s lots of white space on the page, letting the furniture speak for itself by putting the images centre stage.

• Wink Bingo

The final example, Wink Bingo, is a site that offers users the chance to play games in a fun and colourful way. The redesigned site stands out from any others in the industry, because its pop-art theme catches the eye as soon as the user lands on it – so recognisable these visuals are across the world. The site is also easy to use, catering for bingo fanatics by giving them the chance to play their favourite games whether they’re at home or on the move. Wink Bingo has a rewards programme that includes a shopping voucher scheme and its own 'Wink's Shop' where players can redeem the rewards they earn in the game.

So as you can see, great websites have a mixture of eye-catching designs and easy-to-navigate layouts. That way, they can attract more users from search engines, keep these users engaged with quality content and visuals, and drive them to conversion with a slick, speedy customer journey.

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