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Web Design Tips that Work

Posted On: October 30, 2013

One of the common myths people believe when planning a website is that they need to rely on fancy web design strategies to attract customers and beat the competition. While design plays an important role, the best way to differentiate a business on the web is to provide strong content that focuses on the needs of the customer.

Though the web has been around for nearly two decades, the art of creating an optimal website is still somewhat of a mystery. At its core, however the web is a source of information, entertainment and commerce. As such, in order to be effective, a website must convey a message in as clear and concise a manner as possible. Web design should bolster the message. Anything that takes away from the message undermines the success of the site.

In terms of common mistakes, many people assume that flashy and featured filled websites automatically translate into paying customers. However, a bit of analysis reveals that nothing could be further from the truth. Many of the most successful websites contain just one simple page or a set of a few pages total. Think of the Drudge Report, for example.

Rather than flashy technology, successful web design should concentrate on the user experience. Is the site user-friendly and clean? Can a new visitor immediately understand its purpose? Is it trying to do too many things at one time? Web users crave clarity and high quality information. Fail to deliver on these crucial needs and they will simply click away, never to return.

Loading time is another concern when it comes to creating an effective web design for a site. Anything more than a few seconds of loading time is a big turn off to most users. Flash and other technology often interfere with loading times. Instead of impressing potential customers, the result usually drives them away.

On the tech side of things, with the advent of mobile platforms, good web design should ensure that the site appears the same from all entry points. This includes alternative browsers as well as mobile apps and tablets.

Though it may appear obvious, many websites violate another cardinal rule of web design, namely, that the site must work! Links, navigation, and contact information must function properly. Perhaps nothing irritates potential customers more than glitches in one of these three areas.

In terms of user experience, assume visitors want to know three core pieces of information about your site or business: First, they want to know who you are. Second, they want to know what you do. Third, they want to know what they are going to get from you - in other words, what’s in it for them.

Industry experts estimate that a website has approximately six seconds to get these three core messages across. The best way to do this is to ensure that the web design includes an attention-grabbing headline that expresses exactly what visitors will receive.

Next, ensure that the site offers a coherent structure that includes clear calls-to-action. Each page should convey why the customer is there and what the site want him to do.

Finally, good web design seeks feedback from its visitors. Easy-to-use questionnaires may provide crucial information to help improve service. The key here is to act on useful information and institute adjustments and revisions quickly. This sends a message that the business owner responds to customer concerns.

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