What Determines Good Web Design?

July 3rd, 2019

What Is “Good” Website Design, and How Do I Get It?

 

If you own a small business, odds are you’ve been told that you need a good website design more times than you can count. With an ever increasing amount of traffic being brought to the internet, the benefit to reaching such a vast pool of viewers has become one of the most important things for a business to grow and succeed, especially if that business is just starting out or in the throes of competition. 

 

The frustrating thing about all of this however, is the vague, ever changing notion about what “good” website design really is. So, like any business owner, you understand that you need a good website design but you don’t really know how to get it.

The Top Four Things That Turn Viewers Away From Your Site

 

It’s a well known fact that the last thing you want to achieve with your website design is a high bounce rate from your viewers. How are they going to consider your company’s products or services when they’re closing out the tab, seemingly milliseconds after your site has loaded?

A high bounce rate is indicative that there’s something wrong with the design of your website, but don’t fret, it’s not permanent – There is a solution. So take a look at this checklist below to make sure your site isn’t doing one of the top four things that make your bounce rate skyrocket.

1. Confusing Navigation

 

One of the worst feelings is loading a site and feeling like you’ve just entered into a maze. There are images and text everywhere, leaving you to simply move your mouse around in circles in an effort to figure out exactly how you’re supposed to engage with this site. It’s a great way to spark frustration and exasperation within a viewer, not necessarily interest. With a confusing navigation, your viewer only really knows how to do one thing: close the tab or, in other words, bounce.

A big symptom of this design flaw is too much information cluttered together. The last thing you want to do is bombard your viewer with something to look at in every corner. Whether that be an infinite list of menu options that rivals the scroll time of a movie’s end credits or twenty images all competing for the most impactful impression, more is certainly not better.

Recognize your site from this description? Don’t worry, it happens.

The solution?

Be concise! Choose the core message your company wants its audience to take away from their experience and make that the only information viewed on the site. Decrease your menu options by slimming down the amount of necessary information your audience needs or may be looking for, and categorize it into separate pages, so they’re not bombarded with it at once.

Clear, easy to read fonts with attention grabbing copy is the best way to get your message across. You want to inform your viewers quickly, not confuse them. Consistent branding is also key to creating a cohesive experience for the viewer as well. For more information on just how important and impactful brand consistency can be, check out our blog post Consistency is KEY!

2. Not Enough Information About The Company

 

If you’re struggling with the first design flaw described above, odds are this next issue follows suit. Another big attribute that causes a high viewer bounce rate is the confusion of not knowing what the company offers. You could have a great search hit rating and a huge amount of traffic coming into your site, but if no one can figure out what you’re offering them, why would they stay?

It’s hard enough to capture viewers’ attention in the first place, so asking them to play detective in order to uncover what your company does is a big turnoff. Que the 5 second bounce rate.

The best way to alleviate this issue is to have concise, clear messages for your viewer to soak in. Whether that be one large image that jumps out to them or a clever tagline that relates back to what you do, capturing the viewer’s attention and relaying instantly that yes, this is the service they have been looking for, will alone decrease your bounce rate significantly. We’re not saying you should write the screenplay to a movie, you just need the trailer. Creative copywriting will also help to create a voice for your brand, which is an important aspect of addressing and relating to your target audience.

A huge part of this solution relies on a strong, established design system. Design systems are about establishing the framework for how your website is built. With a source to reference on how to treat imagery, copy and other important graphics, you can slowly build your brand into something that customers can easily identify and grow to trust. They will not have to guess and poke around at what they think your company can offer them, they’ll know. Another benefit that comes from having a strong design system is that as your website and company grow, the design system easily flexes and makes that growth smoother.

3. It’s Annoying

 

We’ve all been there. You visit a site and see exactly what it is you want, but just as you’re settling in to give this site your full attention, a popup asking you to subscribe to their mailing system smacks you in the face. Your train of thought, now successfully derailed, shifts to focusing on closing out the pop up (bonus points if the close button is well hidden or hard to click). 

 

The worst thing you can do to your viewer is bombard them with pop ups and side ads before they’ve even gotten the chance to really begin to settle into your site. I can honestly say I’m guilty (many times over) of closing out of a website I don’t regularly visit because their pop ups were unbearable. 

 

Pop ups aren’t the only annoying thing that can be annoying about a website, though. As popular as moveable website parts like parallax scrolling are at the moment, they’re not always the solution. In fact, they can actually do more harm to your company’s site than good. Packing your website full of animations with even the slightest move of the cursor is bound to cause confusion when navigating through the site and more interaction than the viewer may have signed up for. 

 

Want to learn a little more about how to balance animation in web design? Web Developer Leah Suter does a great job of delving into the specifics in her post Web Animation: Delightful or Distracting?

 

A solution to this design issue requires a little constraint for those with a gung ho attitude. Just dial it back. Restrict the amount of pop ups to one, if any at all, and the animation to one or two key features that make sense for your company. It will do more harm than good to follow timely trends that fade before your website even goes live. If you must include a pop up on your site, try holding it back a minute or two to allow your viewer to engage with your site a bit first.

5. There’s No Responsive Design

According to CNBC, almost three quarters (72.6 percent) of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025, equivalent to nearly 3.7 billion people. Eventually, mobile usage is on track to surpass desktop traffic.

So if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out on a huge portion of potential viewers.
How to solve this issue? It’s pretty straight forward, make sure you have a responsive design! In today’s society, not having a responsive design is pretty much equivalent to not having a website at all.

Most pre-designed templates or website builders have this feature built in (if not, look for one that does!) If you choose to get your website custom built, make sure to mention that you wish to have the site be responsive as well.

Honorable Mention: Webpage Speed

 

Your overall webpage speed, whether that be the load time when first entering into the site or interacting once inside a page, has a huge impact on your bounce rate and user retention. Bottom line, just like a buffering video, no one likes slow websites. Even between just 2 and 7 seconds of load time, over three times as many people will bounce from the slower site.

Browsing customers typically don’t have the time (or attention) to sit around and wait for your site to load, so even several seconds of staring at blank white space while waiting for your website to load is enough to lose their interest and send them to a competitor.

Now webpage speed may not necessarily contribute to the aesthetic issues of a badly designed site, which is why it’s included as an honorable mention, but slow web speed is definitely not a symptom of good design, either. There are a variety of reasons why your website may not be loading quickly, from images sized at the wrong dimensions to huge file sizes struggling to upload themselves fast enough.

The solution? Hire a developer to optimize your site! Custom website services should include this while they’re building your site, but if you’re still having issues, we at Mighty Fine would love to help! Let us know how we can give your website a tune up and have it cruising at the fastest speeds possible.

Template vs. Custom Designs

 

Your overall webpage speed, whether that be the load time when first entering into the site or interacting once inside a page, has a huge impact on your bounce rate and user retention. Bottom line, just like a buffering video, no one likes slow websites. Even between just 2 and 7 seconds of load time, over three times as many people will bounce from the slower site.

Browsing customers typically don’t have the time (or attention) to sit around and wait for your site to load, so even several seconds of staring at blank white space while waiting for your website to load is enough to lose their interest and send them to a competitor.

Now webpage speed may not necessarily contribute to the aesthetic issues of a badly designed site, which is why it’s included as an honorable mention, but slow web speed is definitely not a symptom of good design, either. There are a variety of reasons why your website may not be loading quickly, from images sized at the wrong dimensions to huge file sizes struggling to upload themselves fast enough.

The solution? Hire a developer to optimize your site! Custom website services should include this while they’re building your site, but if you’re still having issues, we at Mighty Fine would love to help! Let us know how we can give your website a tune up and have it cruising at the fastest speeds possible.

Template

 

Pre-designed templates such as the kind SquareSpace or Wix offers are a great way for a small business with a tight budget to create a website. These templates most often are meant for businesses unable to hire a designer, so the themes require the user to simply change out the information in the template in order to reflect that particular business. As a result, the website has a very short development rate and is pretty low cost. 

 

Where pre-designed templates make you pay more is in their lack of customization. In order to provide no-fail, easy to use template designs, your company is unable to tailor the design to match your branding or appeal to a specific audience. Due to this lack of customization, SEO ratings tend to be lower and the site gets lost in the many pages of search engines. 

 

The risk that pre-designed templates pose is the chance, or more likely the guarantee, that another company is using the same exact template for their website as well. Again, lack of customization adds another con to this option, as replicated templates across different companies chip away heavily at the credibility and trust for everyone involved.

Custom-built

 

With a custom website, all of the cons of a pre-designed website template become pros. Custom websites are designed to fit seamlessly within your company’s branding, thus building up credibility with your target audience. SEO also increases with a custom website, as the target audience is prioritized and popular keywords utilized. 

Custom sites are unique to your company and will have a long lasting impression on the viewer. Your potential clients will have a memorable experience. Think about how you feel when you walk into a high end hotel like the Ritz Carlton. Your high expectations match the quality of the aesthetics and layout of your surroundings. Compare that experience with one of a Courtyard Marriott. The Courtyard Marriott is by no means a horrible place to stay, but it’s definitely not as memorable. Which one would you be most likely to talk about after your visit?  

Good Web Design: Answered

 

Good web design has been elusive for a long time, confusing many business owners and even designers themselves. It will remain confusing going forward because web design trends are ever changing. What is considered good design right now may change in a year or two depending on a certain popular style. What you should be looking for, after all this time of being told good design is the answer, is effective design.

Effective design achieves exactly what it is intended to, remaining timeless and an essential part of your company going forward. The way to get to effective design is to avoid all of the pitfalls outlined earlier. With a clear, concise message and consistent branding based on a solid design system across all pages, any website can shine regardless of what business it is for.

Achieving such an effective form of web design can only be successfully done by a design team with years of experience. The emphasis is on the team, as each person contributes their own specialization under the watchful eye of an art director. The main goal is to make your brand to shine and convert visitors into sales opportunities.

Final Thoughts

 

Web design to any business owner is a daunting topic, I get it. Learning all the ins and outs of web design as a designer is daunting enough. You don’t have to do it alone, however. Contact Mighty Fine about our web design services and what we can do for you. Check out what we offer here.

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