How many times have you looked up a big company’s website only to be disappointed by the poor design (No images? Homepage is cluttered and confusing, can’t find what I want) or service offering (Can’t update my details? No shipping details?) and thought, “I can’t believe this huge organization can’t get it together to do something as simple as a website”.
Let’s use a concrete example to illustrate our point:
If you were in the market for limo service (you have a fancy date, or, perhaps, your child wants a limo for prom), judging on first impression alone, which one of these services are you likely to call to inquire about a limo?
Websites aren’t really all that simple, but expectations about what you should see and do online are growing more and more ingrained. A Google report showed 88% of users that had a bad experience on a site on their mobile phone would not return, either on a desktop or a mobile. Consider how quickly and recently mobile sites have become ubiquitous and that should give you an indication on how quickly the general populace develops a sense of normalcy and entitlement around these online services.
Why is Good Web Design Important?
You may have heard the research that users stay on a page for about 8 seconds before making a decision about whether to stay or go. 8 seconds in which to communicate your key messages, in a way that doesn’t annoy or confuse, or otherwise negatively affect the user. This is where design is so important.
At a glance, a great web design will:
- Confirm the branding of the company, professionally and in an aesthetically pleasing manner
- Clearly communicate the content that brought the user there in the first place
- Create a feeling associated with the goals of the company brand. E.g. professional, cutting edge, warm, homely
- Lay out the important information in a logical and accessible manner, following established rules, or innovating new ones
Can this be done in 8 seconds? Absolutely.
Having a beautiful looking site is about professionalism. It’s about presenting your business in the best possible light. Just like coming to a job interview in a good dress or suit, it’s expected. In the online space, no one can see your shopfront or office. So you need to communicate everything you would in that environment, within 960 x 800 px (or thereabouts).
Investing in a great design reflects your values as a company, and recognizes the importance of the online space as a key branding and communication tool.