The importance of good website design
November 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
It is important for brands not only to have a website but a well designed website. Poor website design often times in the primary reason for a website’s failure. The goal of building a good website is the website should be painless to use no matter how complex the site really is. By designing a site that is fluid and intuitive new users get up to speed more quickly, it reduces the chance that existing users leave the site to switch to another site and users let other users know about the positive experience they have on the site. By creating this type of website the result is more users, increased activity, and greater awareness of the site.
There are many components that contribute to the creation and success of a good website. A few components include usability, navigation, sitemaps, contact details, search, color and image usages, and ease of navigation.
Research shows that more than 83% of Internet users are more than likely to leave a website if they feel they have to make too many clicks to find what they are looking for. If the information contained on the website is difficult to read or poorly structured chances are users won’t be able to find what they were looking for and will try to find what they are looking for on a competitors site.
As a general rule users should be able to get back to your homepage within one click. Common practice is to make your website logo on each page link to the websites home page. Another important navigation tactics is to use breadcrumbs. The use of breadcrumbs provides an excellent navigation system and shows exactly where a user is in relation to your entire website at any given time.
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Sitemaps help users clearly see the structure of your website at a glance. They can also help search engines such as Google find the pages that make up your website. Google’s website crawlers rank pages higher within Google’s natural search results if the landing page content reflects the actual product name. This strategy aligns with the reality that the less time it takes to find a product the more likely a customer will make a purchase and a clean, content rich site will do just that.
Contact information is critical to any website. Whether it’s email or phone support. You should clearly provide an easy way for visitors to contact you. Contact forms should be simple and require minimal input from users. Providing contact details also adds credibility to your website
The larger a website the greater the need to implement search functionality is. Search results should be as exact and accurate as possible. Users are used to using search engines such as Google and getting what they want within the first search. If they need to type many different queries before finding what they need, chances are they’ll go elsewhere.
When using colors on your website it helps to select colors that are not too intense. Use white background with black text to aid readability, users will commonly associate links with blue text and an underline. Also, there shouldn’t be too many colors, less is more. Images are also as important as color. It is important for images to align with the content but it is also important that images don’t take a long time to load. Slow loading images can frustrate users with slower connection speeds and increase the work load on your website host.
Ease of navigation
One of the most important aspects of a website, and yet one of the most overlooked. According to Jim Ramsey, “a site must appeal to new users and power users alike. It must stretch both sets of users in a way they find enjoyable rather than daunting. Despite the challenges, the rewards of designing for ease of navigation are a user base that is loyal and enthusiastic—one that will evangelize your site to others—and a more profound sense of engagement between you and the people for whom you design.”
If a customer has a positive user experience on the client’s website they more likely they will purchase a product or service therefore a well designed website is a very important component in the overall IMC mix.