A company’s website is often the first point of contact for a potential customer, therefore it is important that you make a good impression. Whether a site is light and fresh, warm and welcoming or dark and moody, it can set the tone and lay a foundation for how you are perceived.
When people arrive at a website, typically after clicking a link from Google, their thoughts include:
- Who is this company?
I see they’re called The Lovely Big Company but what are they about?
- What do they do?
“Specialising in effectively making customers happy” tells me nothing
- Where are they based?
It maybe a global market place but people want to know that you’re not an office in Borneo
- Where’s the contact us link?
It’s usually in the top right or at the end of the navigation, if it’s not then it annoys people. Annoying people is not good for business.
Designing a website is not just about making it look pretty, after that initial impression people have to interact with it and use it, and this needs to be as easy and painless as possible. It only takes a few little things to irritate people and they’ll leave the site, your site. We’re annoyed if:
- We can’t find information easily or are made to jump through hoops to get information. (poor layout/structure)
- Feeling lost on a site, the “where am I and how do I get back” feeling (poor layout/structure)
- Something is not where we expect it to be or you have to search for something obvious, like a search box or contact us link.
- A button doesn’t react to a click, even if clicked 10 times it. (slow site)
- We arrive at the wrong page (poor navigation)
These and many others are all factors that we bear in mind when designing a website, taking into account the user’s experience is something often overlooked and is sometimes hard to quantify in a proposal. A website’s web page design may look simple but thought has to go into how people interact with it at various stages to make it possible for the user to do what they have to do with the minimum of fuss.