Here’s what to avoid when it comes to designing your website for success.
Creating a website for your business can be a daunting task, especially when you have little to no prior knowledge of web design or development. We’re here to provide some guidance so you get the best out of your web design team and avoid unsuspected challenges.
Now that we live in a digital era, information is just a click away. Customers and clients need not search far for what they are looking for, so it is imperative that your business offers it to them as efficiently and effectively as possible. Generally a website is the first point of contact with potential clients or customers, and as we know first impressions are important, right? Creating a beautifully designed website that is easy to navigate will set you and your business up for success.
What is web design?
Different components make up a website, from content to images and interactions such as buttons and links. When building a website, the overall look, feel and ease of use of these components is essential. That is where web design comes in. It is the process of planning the layout of content, images, colours and fonts so that a user enjoys the experience of interacting with your site.
A web designer’s job is to ensure that the site’s appearance is aesthetically pleasing and suits the business’ needs and brand. They handle the creative side of the website by sketching mockups of its look and usability. This process, commonly referred to as user experience (UX), also includes researching and eliminating any pain points a user may face while navigating the site.
How will a good designer impact your business?
From the moment a user visits your website, a relationship is formed and every business owner has hopes that it is a fruitful and long lasting one. It is key to gain your users’ trust through letting them know what they can expect from your business.
When this foundation is solid, the relationship can be further solidified through conversion. This means getting the user to take a specific action depending on what your goals for the website are.
This design process might use storyboards to plan the users journey through the site. A designer will try to design the pages in such a way as to funnel users to a contact page or product. This also helps reduce the bounce rate of the site.
A good designer will know how to guide users into taking action, be it signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product or starting an account, thus creating a conversion.
What to consider when choosing a designer
Needless to say then that choosing a web designer who can deliver a worthy website should be top on your priority list. Here are a few things for you to consider, and mistakes to avoid, that can save you from landing up with a badly designed website.
1. Are they familiar with the function and goals of your website?
This is important to know when choosing a web designer because it allows you to look for specific skills. For example, if you are selling a product on your site and users need to be able to purchase your products, you need someone who is able to design an ecommerce site. Not having clear goals for your site can be detrimental to your success because users won’t know what they came to the site for.
It also helps with deciding what platform and tools are best suited to your website needs and who is most knowledgeable of them. Being able to design a website from the ground up is different to being able to customise a design template since a template may only offer limited functionality. You need to choose a designer that has the skills to cater to your needs.
2. Do they know your users?
Working out who will be your target users, helps in solidifying the brand and voice of your business. For example, different age demographics might have different requirements. Older web users might not like a site that has small text and too many CTA’s as they can find it confusing. But a younger audience on the other hand might like having lots of animations, colours and CTA’s.
You will be able to better align these so that your site is aesthetically pleasing to them. Designers should be prepared with information about the type of business you run and its industry standards. This enables them to conduct competitive research to understand what works best for other businesses in the same field as yours and what doesn’t work so well.
3. Do they have a portfolio of previous work?
By having a look at out their previous work, you will get an idea of the kind of design decisions they make. Good web design is not cluttered or overcrowded; it’s clean. Take note of how they make use of negative space. Is it ample with a balance between images, content and call to actions such as buttons and links? Users shouldn’t have to work to navigate your site or complete tasks so having a clean layout will help them find what they need quicker.
Designers should also be able to offer responsive design options to ensure that your users can use your site on as many different devices as possible – whether mobile or desktop. This means that your website adjusts to the size of the screen it is viewed on, while maintaining an optimal experience.
This is especially essential since mobile phones are the most commonly used devices to access the web. Ensuring that your site is compatible gives your users easier access and increases your chances of reaching more customers.
4. Do you and the designer have a realistic timeline and budget?
Make sure what you spend is proportionate to what you need. Resources can vary from project to project so it is essential that you and the designer are on the same page and have the same expectations of when and how your site will be designed. Also, tracking and managing all planned tasks will help keep all those working on the project in check and accountable.
5. How accessible are their designs?
Designing a website to please the majority of users that visit your site, signals great user experience and overall quality.
It’s easy to assume that everyone will experience your website in the same way, but the reality is that they won’t. Following website accessibility best practices such as including well-structured HTML tags, alternative text for images and keyboard navigation are measures that are taken into account for users with impairments or disabilities. This not only ensures you don’t voluntarily turn away customers, but also helps your site rank better in web searches. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provides a standard for web content accessibility that ensures that everyone can access and use your website.
Follow these guidelines to avoid any pitfalls when choosing a web designer and you’ll be well on your way to having the best version of your website and a fruitful business.
If you’re looking for web design services in London or any other UK location, why not contact our team today.