Right now, most businesses know that having a good site is very important. After all, your presence on the internet can make or break your business. But is it enough to have at least some site development, or do you need something more?
For small businesses, especially if you face cost issues or limited technical skills, investing in a well-designed, professional website can seem daunting. Or if you already have a working (although outdated) site, you may question the value of revamping.
However, evidence and research repeatedly indicate that a good website is important, and your business website design affects your client experience, leading generation and ultimately your profits.
Why Website Development Matters
The design of your site is important, because your clients care about design. Consciously or not, we all react to visual effects, and people are naturally attracted by good design. When it comes to the design of your site, research over and over again shows that users quickly judge your business only by visual effects, and often stop using your site if it is poorly designed.
Here are some instructive facts about why website design is so important:
75% of users judge the reliability of the company only by visual design.
When you come across an outdated site design, what makes you think of the company? You may question their legitimacy, question their products or services, or even look at a competitor’s website in search of a better answer. Regardless, research shows that we definitely judge companies by the look of their websites.
94% of users’ first impressions of health-related websites were related to design. The first impressions are strong, and the way your website looks can create a good impression or push visitors away. While this study focused on the design of healthcare websites in particular, the same is true for other industries.
It only takes 50 milliseconds to form a first impression of your website design. When you talk about first impressions, users form them almost instantly. According to a Google study, it only takes 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds)! In those fractions of a second, users are unable to read your site or click on anything. This quick first impression depends on the visual design.
38% of people will no longer be interested in your site if your content and layout is unattractive. Bad web design not only harms your trust, but can also discourage potential customers. People prefer to view content on beautifully designed websites, and if your content is unattractive, you are likely to lose more than ⅓ of your visitors.
But while there are certainly some personal preferences in how people interpret design, research shows a lot of consistency in how we perceive design. In fact, science and psychology support the idea that we are attracted to beautiful things, and people by nature respond to good design.
All designs use standard elements such as color, shape and size. Good design uses these elements to create a consistent visual language.
Think of it as English. We communicate using words, sentences and punctuation with consistent rules such as spelling and grammar. Of course, some people are more experienced in using this language than others, and as your class teacher probably taught you, there is a measurable difference between “good English” and “bad English.”
Similarly, there is such a thing as “good design” and “bad design” for your website. Although we do not all know how to communicate visually the same way, web designers are trained to speak this language. So it is important to invest in a professional, well-designed website design that communicates effectively with your customers and prospects.
Because it is so important, some might even want to hire experts for it. These UK web developers are simply the best.
How Does it Help Your Business?
We have already proved that your clients care about good design, but how does the design of your website actually affect their experience? Let’s look at a few concrete ways how good design can improve your website design.
Design has a huge impact on how easy it is for visitors to find what they are looking for in the design of your site. Research shows that 86% of visitors to your site want to see information about products or services, 65% look for contact information, and 52% look for a “About Company” page.
Your web design should make these things as easy to find as possible – otherwise, you will disappoint your users and probably chase them away. Consider using standard agreements, such as including basic services in the main navigation and providing a phone number in the top right corner of your site.
Even if your site works perfectly, bad site design can make users feel that it is harder to use or find what they need. Two Japanese researchers actually did some research on this issue. They created two ATMs that functioned the same way, but one was attractively designed and the other was not. Users reported that an aesthetically appealing ATM actually works better. Therefore, good web design affects both our usability and our perception of convenience.
Your navigation is one of the most important elements in the design of your website, so the way it is designed is crucial. Here, many designers do take into account the psychology behind design by applying the Hick’s law.
Hick’s Law basically says that the more choices you give a person, the more time it takes them to make a decision. This is often summed up as, “Stay simple, Silly”.
So when we use Hick’s Law to navigate a website, we want the choice to be as simple as possible, so that users will have an easier time deciding where to go. As a good rule of thumb, try to limit the number of choices to a family or less.
Take, for example, this company producing office furniture. In their product menu there are 11 different options – and this is a lot of options. If you look closely, you will see that they have several similar categories such as “conference chairs”, “task chairs”, “guest chairs” and “other seating”. They can simplify their navigation by combining all these categories into one option called “chairs”.
A good web design helps guide users’ eyes and tell them where you want them to look. On your website, your design can draw attention to special offers, highlight calls for action, and help users identify buttons and items they can click. All of this can help encourage users to take action that you want.
There are many different ways to optimize your visual design for conversion, but let’s look at a couple of common examples.
One of the most effective ways to draw users’ attention to the desired action is to use white space – or open space – around your call to action.
It’s hard to talk about white space without mentioning Apple. They are known for their pure design and simple, bold images (like this iPhone) surrounded by tons of white space. The message here is very clear: they want you to click on this phone – and almost nothing else on the page to distract you, it’s almost hard not to do.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, take an area like the Amazon. This page is full of information and product options, but one thing always pops up: the yellow Add to cart button. Even on a loaded page, the contrasting colors and styles create a visual hierarchy that draws attention to this important conversion button.
Brand professionalism and trust
As we mentioned earlier, 3 out of 4 users will judge the trust in your business based on the design of your site. A design that looks modern and professional tends to promote trust. Meanwhile, bad site design can make someone doubt your legitimacy. For example, if you were looking for a used car, which of these businesses you would trust more?
Another way to increase confidence in good web design is through brand consistency. Especially if you have a well known brand, your customers will probably recognize things like your logo, colors or style. The design of your website should reflect your brand and help convince people who know you that they are in the right place.