5 Design Principles to Help Convert Customers
Great website design does much more than look good. There are design rules that guide how a website should look and function in order to convert users into customers. By making small but important design changes, you could see your metric counter jump. But what are these design principles?
What keeps customers coming back?
Think for a moment of the last e-commerce website that you purchased from. And now think of another website that you spent some time on. What was it about these sites that kept you there?
Undoubtedly, it could have been the content, its authority and relevance to what you were looking for at the time. If you bought something, you may have been enticed by an offer or considered the price point competitive.
Underlying all these actions was the web design itself. Those call to action buttons that had you 'buying now' or 'learning more'. The graphics that subtly drew your attention to an area on the page that had the information you needed...
There are so many design factors that come into play they are almost too numerous to mention. It is true to say that poor web design is off-putting and could be the reason why your bounce rate is high.
Small changes will have a big impact. But what design principles are you looking at?
1. How easy and simple is the navigation of your website?
On one hand, a different design can buck a trend; making your website the standout site amongst a sea of competitors.
But if the design and style itself are different and trailblazing, there needs to be a clear route that users will follow. This is true whether your site is an e-commerce one or whether you sell services by people signing up for more information.
In fact, three-quarters of your users will confirm this as they say when it comes to website design, they want to be able to find what they want quickly and easily. How easy and simple is the navigation on your website?
Usability is key web design principle. Test the usability of your site as well as taking a closer look at the analytics of different pages. Are people being asked to travel through too many pages to get to the main point of the website?
2. How predictable is the layout of your website?
Following on closely to usability and function is the practical aspect of your website. We are creatures of habit and as much as we may fight against being predictable, the truth is, your website users are looking for a predictable layout.
The shape of your website is important. Cluttering it with widgets that no one uses or wants pushes your users away.
We often mistake website style for design, although there is a subtle difference between them. For example, you can have a minimal, cutting edge design that bucks the style trend within your industry but, your users still want to be able to move around your site and find things where they expect to find them.
For example, the norm is to land on the home page, a catch-all page that acts as a signpost to the rest of your site. Landing on the contact page is nonsensical.
If your website is large with thousands of products, the expectation is that there will be a search box, because who wants to spend time trawling through product after product for the one that they want?
Functionality and predictability are two design principles that should not be forgotten. Are you tweaking your website as it grows or to meet the demands of your users?
3. Are you using graphics and images as visual clues?
Images and graphics on your website are an important channel of communication. Images trigger emotions - sometimes good ones, and sometimes no-so-good - and that's why it is important to:
a. Have images on your website and
b. Have the right images on your website
Again, like text and call to actions, where they are placed is also important. Many rules govern the use of graphics, backed by a wide field of study and research.
For example, research has found that using images of real people is an emotional trigger, especially if they have a happy, smiling face. The direction in which the person is facing is important too. If they are looking away from your content, people's eyes track in that direction. And so, flipping an image so their head or eyeline is directed at a box of content means users will look in the same direction.
Poor quality pixelated graphics are a no-no. And stay away from poor quality stock images too.
Good quality images are essential. This isn't just reproduction quality on your website but the content and style of the image. Consider if your images are supporting content or detracting from it?
4. How well do the colours on your website work?
This ties in with predictability in many ways, but is an important trust signal to buyers and users. However, when the style and colour change from one product to the next, they become suspicious that this isn't a well-run website.
The same is true when there is a change in design or colour scheme within the same product.
As your website grows and your business does, there will be changes and tweaks made. When these happen, you need to take the time to make sure that they are applied uniformly across the website. If there is a stylistic update for a product, for example, and it appears on more than one page, the changes need to be applied across all pages.
Consistency in colours and branding is key so that as people move through pages they are receiving the same stylistic message on each. When colours vary, the website starts to look cluttered and won't be meeting the expectations of users.
5. Is your website mobile-optimised?
51% of the 3.7 billion internet users across the globe access the internet via their mobile. The expectations of users when they visit your site, whether on a desktop or mobile, is that they have all functions open to them. If your website looks radically different in its mobile version, and it affects layout, architecture and function, you may find that your bounce rate metric pays the price.
Modern web design and hosting platforms can produce a mobile version of your website but don't rely on it fully. Editing your website within the mobile setting will create a version that is responsive and enticing to users.
Frictionless mobile design is key to converting users on mobile. How well adapted is your website?
There are many website design principles, but get these five right on your website, and your conversion tracker will spring into life.