The term user-friendly seems self-explanatory. And by the most simplistic definition, it is. When something is user-friendly, it is easily workable and accessible to others. However, there is much more to the term user-friendly than you may think. Understanding this and applying the following concepts to your website will significantly improve how easily visitors move through your website, thus increasing the amount of visitors who stay on your site, and finally increasing, giving you more of what you want out of your website.
There are five aspects of a user-friendly website: learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, and satisfaction. By defining these aspects, we can define what the term user-friendly means in terms of web design.
This is how easy people find your site the first time they encounter it. Can they find what they want easily? Can they understand the structure and the design? Having complex designs can push people away. If someone doesn’t know what they should do, or can’t find what they were looking for, they are more inclined to leave than to look around like your site is a scavenger hunt.
In addition to learning how your website works, visitors must be able to do what they are supposed to do or what they came to do quickly. Having a website that visitors can move through efficiently makes their experience much better. Long page loading times and too many pages on the path to your website’s goal can diminish the efficiency of your website from best web designing companies.
Back in the days of “Build it and they will come” website design, content was basically the words you put on your static website pages that would stay the same for years to come. For many years this actually worked reasonably well if the content on your webpages was keyword optimized. But, as we all know, Google isn’t in the business of providing a really nice search experience, they’re in the business of selling advertising.
So over the past 10 years, Google has continually updated the algorithm they use to determine which sites show up on the first page of their search results and which websites/pages get kicked into the basement. All under the guise of Google trying to provide a better experience for people searching the web for answers to their questions and problems.
A couple of things are becoming obvious as the dust settles on the close of 2014; one, producing relevant and useful content on a consistent basis is critically important and two, how well your content is received by the internet can have a pretty big impact on your results at the end of the day.
So what do we mean by “relevant, useful and consistent”? By consistent we mean both regular and frequently such as one very good blog post (See “What makes a blog Post great article”) per week. (Frequently = weekly, regular=every week).
What! You say. My website designer never told me I need to feed the website like that!!! That’s because website designers are great at building pretty websites but not so great at understanding what it takes to drive leads and sales. Relevant, useful content posted on your website/blog on a regular basis is the only way to consistently drive traffic to your beautiful website that will ultimately convert into a lead or a sale. If you’re not willing to accept this and start by building out a 90 day content plan you may as well shut down your website and double down on your Yellow Page ad. (God help you if you’re still using Yellow pages!)
By relevant and useful we mean creating content that resonates with your prospects as they travel through the buying process for your product or service. According to Forrester, 70-90% of the buyers journey is made through online research, long before a prospect become a lead at your company.
If you’re still managing your sales force with metrics like dials/day, you’re a dinosaur at best and you must be calling senior citizens because they are the only people left on the planet who answer their phone even when they don’t recognize the person calling them on their caller ID.
Smart today know that prospects search for information online and do a majority of their research before ever reaching out to a company for a demo, price quote, info request or appointment. If your company doesn’t have a plan to create content that answers their questions and concerns and publish it online, you will be at the mercy of your competitors that do.
One of the first things we always ask clients for is access to their website analytics, usually Google Analytics, to which we frequently hear, “Um, we don’t usually look at that, our website people do.” This scenario is very common and very unfortunate because leads and sales are a product of website traffic and if you aren’t crystal clear about how much traffic your website is getting, from where and what your 12 month traffic trend is, as the saying goes, “Your flying blind”.
If the conversion rate (visitor to lead or sale) is 3%, than you are generating 3 leads/sales for every 100 visitors. If your site is only getting 100 visitors per month than you are generating 3 sales/leads per month. If you were hoping that your beautiful new website would generate 30 leads/sales per month, than one way to look at this problem is to say you need to increase your traffic to 1000 visitors per month.
The big question is who in your company knows your current conversion ratio and traffic number? If it’s not someone who is closely tied to the financial success of your business, and nobody is asking this question or generating a monthly report that shows period over period change, you’re in big trouble!
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very simplistic view of the common low-lead problem we see so frequently, but at the core, increasing leads or sales is as simple as generating more traffic, as long as your conversion rate holds constant. There are many ways to generate more traffic to your company website but the most effective way is to be consistently creating new content that is relevant and useful to your target market, which leads to our next reason, why your website isn’t generating enough leads or sale
4.Think About Conversions
Design goes beyond just the aesthetics. Yes, you want a website to be visually attractive, but you must also bear in mind that a website is not a work of fine art. Customers do not come to a site to admire the visual appearance. They are there for some actionable reason – to find certain information or to accomplish a particular task.
A successful website is one that understands these needs; thus, its design should lead people to do exactly what they are there to do. With this in mind, you have to keep in mind that the conversion potential of the website is an integral element of the website’s design.
Conversion means people transition from being just a casual visitor to becoming a paying visitor, becoming a member of the site, subscribing to receive additional information from you in the future, or even just completing an inquiry form.
Every aspect of a site’s design plays a role in driving customers to their destination and converting them.
5.Follow Basic Principles
Designers should be able to defend their aesthetic choices in order to create a meaningful design aestheticDesigners should want to create beautiful things even when there is no additional meaning added in that beauty
I think the first point above far more important. Adding beauty for beauty’s sake is something that should be done on top of a meaningful aesthetic and not in place of it. Your aesthetics not only should be, but need to be meaningful, else there’s little point to them.
However assuming you’ve met that first requirement of creating a meaningful aesthetic I think all designers should strive to make the aesthetics of their designs as beautiful as they can for no other reason than more art and beauty in the world are good things.
What do you think? How important is it that design aesthetics be meaningful and is beautifying the web a goal designers should have.
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