In 2020, over 2 billion people purchased products and services online, catapulting e-retail sales to cross $4.2 trillion.
The hyper competitive markets of tech-savvy consumers demand a highly functional and attractive website. With more than 1.2 billion live websites, the competition for user attention is immense. This means your website design must attract and engage users from the very first second.
A website is the first step for a successful online marketing strategy. It accelerates business growth by opening a doorway to new regional and international markets. An ideal website builds trust and nudges visitors to take the desired action. From generating leads to the final purchase, successful websites deliver results through strategic designs.
A website equipped with essential and out of the box features provides an incredible opportunity to showcase your offerings to a global audience.
Good websites are a delicate mix of brand colours, typography, and imagery, including your website form, aesthetics, and functionality. They emphasise product and service benefits while offering an enjoyable user experience.
Let’s take a look at some crucial web design factors that can make or break your online presence.
Why is Exceptional Web Design Important?
There are myriad benefits of a unique, strategic website graphic design. Mentioned below are a few reasons why web design is important -
- Develops Brand Image
The colours, fonts, and typography all contribute to building your brand image. It is a cohesive mix of design elements that resonate with your brand voice and conveys value to visitors.
A good web design creates a memorable brand image that inspires visitors to become paying customers. Engaging brands that invoke an emotional response receive 3-times more word-of-mouth compared to their less vigorous competitors.
- Create Lasting First Impressions
In today’s internet world, websites are the first place customers look for product information. Princeton psychologists’ series of behavioural experiments found that it takes a tenth of a second for people to form a first impression. Well-designed websites are user-friendly and engaging, which helps create a lasting first impression on visitors.
Good website designs are centred around a great customer experience. They help visitors find what they need in as few clicks as possible. A PWC consumer intelligence report found that as much as 32% of customers walk away from a brand they love after just one unpleasant experience.
- Improves Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Many web design practices directly affect your Search Engine Optimisation. If it isn’t done correctly, your website and business will struggle for visibility right from the beginning. In layman’s terms, your website’s code needs to be SEO-friendly to push it forward in the visibility range of the visitors.
Over 75% of internet users never scroll beyond the first page of search results. On-page search engine optimisation techniques such as alt-text for images and canonical URLs help increase website visibility.
- Helps Distinguish Products/Services from Competitors
To put it in simpler terms, you have to have an attractive web design because your competitors have it too. If your website looks outdated or lacks anything that your competitor’s website offers, your customers won’t blink an eye while choosing them over you.
A remarkable web design will give you the perfect opportunity to showcase a unique feature of your business, which makes you stand out among competitors.
- Important for Customer Service
According to the customers, your website reflects the way you will treat them. An exceptional web design will show the diligent effort you have put in. From that impression alone, they decide the effort you will put in providing a satisfactory customer experience.
Good website designs make customers feel welcome and strike a chord of cordiality by piquing their curiosity about your products/services to the maximum.
Guidelines for Making Exceptional Web Design
Many factors contribute to how visitors will perceive your website. Below is a curated list of guidelines that will help you develop a good-looking website that will attract, engage, and convert visitors into paying customers.
Define Website Purpose
Every website has a well-defined purpose: sharing information, building reputation, generating leads, and customer service. Defining the purpose of your website will help design layouts and graphics that lead visitor behaviour towards the desired action.
For instance, for a knowledge-sharing platform, you would want to design a website with social sharing features. Whereas, if the intent is to generate leads, your website design will rely on the strategic placement of inquiry forms.
Further, if a website’s purpose is a mix of more than one objective, the priority dictates design. For example, for a website with generating leads as its top priority, the homepage will contain CTAs and forms. Whereas, for a website with customer service as the top priority, chatbots and customer redressal systems will take precedence on the homepage.
In a world where consumers are constantly exposed to the next best product and the next best website, simplicity is the best choice for businesses looking to develop a website from scratch. Here are a few ways to achieve simplicity in your website design.
Different colours evoke different emotions. For example, white is said to be the colour of calm and peace, whereas red is the colour that raises an alarm (that’s why we have red lights in traffic signals). Keep your colour palette limited to less than five colours. Complementary colour combinations are eye-soothing and increase visitor engagement.
Typography is the science of letters and characters. It works as a tool for visual interpretation for website visitors. Avoid using cursive fonts and typefaces as they lack clarity when the user glances through your website. Limit yourself to using a maximum of three different fonts on the website.
From the homepage banner to the checkout page illustration, all visual aspects of your website should attract the user. High-quality, fast-loading images create an impression of sophistication and professionalism for website visitors.
Pay Attention to UI/UX
UX stands for user experience and constitutes ‘behind the scenes’ work in building an exceptional web design. UX design focuses on visitor emotions, habits, behaviours, needs, and motivation.
UX design includes the information architecture, content strategy, interaction module, and the ideal customer journey. Strategic user experience designs stem from the clarity of thought about visitor intentions and company goals from sign-up to the final purchase.
For instance, if it is a first-time visitor, they should be able to find product/service related information as fast as possible. Product page images, feature representation, and descriptions are typical examples of how UX helps design goal-oriented websites.
UI (User Interface) is the visible part of a website design. It focuses on the appearance and distribution of features on the website. It includes colour theory, vector manipulation, visuals, graphic designs, photography direction, strong typography, etc.
Ensure Easy Navigation
Navigation holds the absolute key in providing the utmost visitor satisfaction. In simpler terms, your visitors shouldn’t feel lost about where to click next. Gliding from one point to the other should be hassle-free. This helps retain your visitors’ attention and interest. We have compiled a few suggestions to help you create intuitive navigation:
- Ensure to include a search bar at the top of your site to help your visitors search for their desired content using keywords.
- Add links to all the page copies, and also mention where exactly these links land them.
- Add a navigation option at the foot of your website.
- Ensure that your page’s navigation structure is not complicated and placed in clear sight of the visitor.
The overall feel of your website’s graphic design should be consistent. Colour schemes, backgrounds, wallpaper undertones, and typography, whether it is a single sentence or a paragraph, every area should have a positive effect on your customers.
Help the customers find what they want with accessible layout designs. It’s not necessary to have the same layout for every page (the landing page, homepage, etc.). But don’t throw in anything just because it looks pretty.
Logo and branding consistency is essential as well. It is crucial to identify your brand image, colour, logo, message, and use the same everywhere, on all the pages of your website and marketing collateral.
This will generate much-needed brand recall and help customers remember your brand while deciding their final purchase.
Responsiveness is Important
No matter which device they access it from, customers demand websites to be user-friendly. Often, a visitor leaves because the website couldn’t display its contents correctly when used on different devices.
A responsive design allows the user to view and interact with your website through any device. Your website should adapt to its viewport, whether smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other device.
Investing in a flexible, responsive website design will ensure that your website, along with its contents, automatically reshuffles and resizes to fit any device’s screen. The information on your website needs to look organic.
This is possible through mobile-friendly HTML and responsive CSS. Remember, rather than building identical designs over different devices, focus on ensuring an in-sync experience on every device.
Accessibility is the Key
Website accessibility can be defined as the usability of a website for people with a diverse range of cognitive abilities. The most common example is the screen reader function which helps people with impaired sight to access websites.
The purpose of web accessibility is to create a website that everyone can use, irrespective of their physical and cognitive limitations. Every website should apply accessibility features such as images, information structure, graphic design, page layout, etc.
Some guidelines for web accessibility have been set up by The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative and the World Wide Web Consortium.
Here is a snapshot of the same:
- Understandable: The content and information displayed on your site should be understandable to all.
- Perceivable: Everyone should be able to understand the contents of your site.
- Robust: Responsive, as in the site and its contents are available and displayed across all devices.
- Operable: Your website should have high functionality and can be used in various keyboard shortcuts for navigation.
To Sum up
A website can make or break your online presence. A well-designed website helps create a good brand image among customers, thus prompting brand loyalty in the future. Apart from this, it is also responsible for providing a memorable user experience that will ultimately lead to a purchase.
Before you dive into the labyrinth of development technologies, timeframes, and costs, it is wise to think about your website’s purpose, its simplicity, UI/UX, navigation, responsiveness, and accessibility. This will bring consistency to every development decision and ensure that the result is a successful website that delivers the expected results.
Whether you are developing a new website or wish to revamp an existing one, strategic website designs go a long way in today’s highly competitive world. If you are hiring a freelance web designer, make sure to convey all your expectations and goals at the outset for fruitful results. If you wish to outsource, hire an outsourcing company that employs documentation procedures such as concept mapping and scope of work. Either way, your goal should be to have concrete discussions using your answers to the points mentioned above.
If you wish to develop a new website, convey your expectations regarding the purpose and goals as clearly as possible for optimum results. If you already have a website, optimising it to your interests is the way forward. The best website graphic designers believe that optimisation is the key to staying ahead of the competition. So up your game by creating the most unique, exceptional and remarkable website that speaks your brand to your potential customers.