While conventional wisdom may suggest that form should follow function, when it comes to user experience it is the form that dictates the function. A poorly designed website frustrates your customers and could drive them to a competitor. Consumers demand a great experience on your website; great design draws them in and gives them confidence in your business.
Navigation and User Experience
A website’s design isn’t just font choices and color palettes. Part of web design is how a user navigates through a site. How do they find information and perform tasks? What paths do they take? Make these paths too complex and users will get frustrated and leave. Think about your own web experiences. Do you hate wasting your time, stumbling through dozens of pages trying to find the right information? So do your customers. Simple, clear menus should be easily located on your landing page to direct users to the necessary secondary pages. Studies show that users look towards the upper left portion of a website for information first. Looking at other websites, you can see that menus or logos are often located in this area. The best way to ensure that your website is intuitive is to put yourself in the user’s shoes.
Another important aspect of web design is mobile responsiveness, or the ability for a website to be viewed and used on a mobile device. With mobile users surpassing desktop users, it is crucial for successful websites to resize for mobile devices.
A picture is worth a thousand words and our brains can process visuals up to 60,000 times faster that text. Doing the math, one can easily see the value of visuals. Photos of your shop, the vehicles you work on, your office, and even your employees can help users connect to your business. These visuals can communicate a variety of messages. Even something as simple as a photo of the exterior of your shop can help customers find your business more easily. Slideshows, videos, and infographics can all help to visually convey information. However, it is crucial to include alt text with each image to help with search engine optimization and accessibility for blind or visually impaired users. Alt text is the title of an image that describes what can be seen in the image. Screen readers use this text to tell the visually impaired what is on the screen.
How to Make it Work
The easiest, but most costly, way to obtain a gorgeous, highly functional website is to hire a professional. Coding and web design are nuanced and complicated endeavors if done from scratch. A good designer or design firm can create a website that suits your business’ needs and looks amazing. That’s the best way to ensure that your site is beautiful and functional. However, not every firm has the option to spend thousands on a design firm. If you are a smaller shop, or just don’t have the funds, there are still viable options. Services like Word Press and Square Space can help you build a functional and attractive site at a much lower cost. They have many customizable templates available. Take a look at other websites and see what types of elements they use. Look for techniques that are particularly effective and try to incorporate them into your site.
While it may seem trivial, a poorly designed website can debilitate your business. Entice customers with great aesthetics and keep them with a well-designed layout.