Many people believe that, when designing a website, the most critical aspects are the development and functionality. Though these are definitely important features, they shouldn’t be the only ones considered – indeed, the user experience should be at the forefront of the process, from planning and development through to the site launch. This is because, if the customer is having a poor experience, be it loading issues, difficult to navigate menus or large blocks of text, they will ultimately leave your site before they make a purchase or enquiry.
If you’re wondering how design and the user experience (UX) can impact your business – and how to create a website that works for you – then understanding these elements is vital.
What is Design?
The design of website refers to all elements that you – and the customer – can see. This includes the colour scheme you choose, the images and graphics that you use and the presentation of the content. Your site should be a cohesive reflection of your brand, creating an extension of your business that your customers will enjoy spending time exploring.
What is the User Experience?
An engaging user experience is ultimately the most important aspect of your website, as your customers can and will leave your site if it doesn’t meet their standards. There are a wide range of factors that can impact the UX, including the website design and layout, presentation of text, accessibility and social validation.
Why is designing for the user so important?
As you can see, design and UX are intrinsically interconnected – an engaging UX is dependent on a well-thought out and attractive design. But why are they so important?
- Increase your conversions
It should come as no surprise, but an excellent user experience can increase your conversions. Your business could be missing out on customers because they haven’t remained on your website for long enough to find the product or service they were looking for. By designing an easy to navigate menu and reducing the number of steps between landing on your site and making a purchase, you’ll notice an improvement in your conversion rates. Well-thought out CTA’s are important too – ‘click here’ simply doesn’t offer the same direction or sense of urgency that ‘Book your free quote now’ can provide.
- Grow brand loyalty
It isn’t just new customers that you should be focussing on – retaining existing clients is critical in creating a successful business. By designing enjoyable and memorable experiences, not only are you gaining new customers, but this can translate into brand recognition and loyalty. After all, why shop elsewhere if they know your website is easy to use? Monitoring their movements as they navigate your site will also provide invaluable insight into the aspects of your design that work well, and those that can be modified to best accommodate your target audience.
- Reduce future costs
As we mentioned above, changes may need to be made to your design as you better understand your users – but by placing the UX at the forefront of your development and design process, you can greatly reduce the overall cost of these changes; rather than doing a complete overhaul of your website in the future, only slight tweaks will need to be made. In fact, of the bugs and issues found within a brand-new website, approximately 20% are development issues. The other 80% is in usability issues, the majority of which could have been solved during the demo stage of the process, rather than once it is live and impacting customers.
By placing design and the user experience at the forefront of your website development process, you can create an online presence that attracts customers and turns clicks into leads – ensuring your business continues to grow following the launch of your site.