New website design projects are always exciting. Finally, you get to replace your outdated, or underperforming website of yore. A fresh start! Endless opportunities! You’ve been looking forward to this refresh, and every possibility has been piling up in the back of your mind.
At our digital marketing agency, we get just as excited (building new websites is so much fun!). But before we let loose and get wild with your web design, let’s rein it in right quick.
Building out the fun bits of the web is a blast, but let’s not lose sight of the prize. When designing your website, you have to know your focus. Your new website has to support your business goals. So let’s avoid some common pitfalls.
On many websites, the first thing you’ll see is an image slider front and centre. They’re so eye-catching and flashy, with that swiping animation and all sorts of messages with each slide.
But is this design good for your business? If you’re placing any important messages inside your slider, then the answer is no. As the first thing on your website, you’d hope to have something to say here. But placing content inside a slider puts at great risk of running into banner blindness.
Banner blindness is a phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or unconsciously ignore banner-like information.Wikipedia
Because moving image sliders can be easily mistaken for ads, many visitors will simply skip them. It’s alright to use image sliders for photos. If you have any text to be read (as it should be!) however, then it’s best to let it stay put on its own.
The time required for a person to make a decision increases with the number of choices available.
Seems obvious, right?
At a restaurant with a small menu you can make your choice in no time.
When you’re at a restaurant with a menu so large that items are titled, “#201B”, well… you might have to send the waiter back a few times before you’re sure what to eat. Once you order, you may even start to regret your choice. The wheatgrass is always greener…
Websites are exactly the same, except providing too many options can do even more harm in this context. At the restaurant, the customer is sitting in their booth. They’re sipping a glass of water. They’re committed.
On your website, they’re gone with the click of a tab.
Providing too many options can lose your potential customers altogether. If you have a wide product line, it’s best to break things down into categories or recommendations. Only show what’s necessary at each step of the way.
Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.Jakob Nielson
To put it simply: don’t reinvent the wheel. Oftentimes it can be tempting to make your website design break the norms of navigation: a hidden interaction, horizontal scrolling, or an animated menu. At best, this risks confusing your users. At worst? You just might tick off your next big client.
When it comes to web design, there are plenty of ways to make your page stand out: typography, imagery, animation, and interaction. But no matter how fancy you get with appearances, you can’t break usability. Everything should function as your users expect.
Too many options can cause users to leave. Too many steps can make them abandon your website just the same. Knowing your focus means that we keep your business goals in mind at all times. For most websites, that means capturing leads, sign ups, or purchases.
Whenever we guide a visitor towards a business goal, we have to keep things simple.
Imagine you’re trying to sign up for a website:
- Click the “sign up” button
- A pop-up form appears
- Click the first form field
- Enter your name
- Enter your email
- Enter your password
- Enter your password again
- Enter your date of birth
- Click “submit”
That’s a lot of steps! If the goal is only to capture the visitor’s email address, we can look to Notion (a popular productivity app) for simplicity:
- Enter your email
- Click “Get Started”
That’s it! If we need additional details, we can ask for those after the email has been captured. Like any app, Notion requires a password, but they don’t bother with that until after you’ve registered.
Reducing friction means we get to the goal as quick as possible. We can always collect supporting details later.
Wrapping it up
When you approach your website design project with your business goals in mind, you’ll end up with a website that’s not only easy to use and good looking, but truly beneficial to your business.
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest trends, but trends pass. If you know your focus, your website design will support your business in the long run.
Want to make sure your next website is designed with your business goals in mind? Stop by our marketing agency in Downtown Vancouver and let’s chat! (P.S. We always have chocolate.)