How to Design Websites That Make an Impression
Research reveals that it is more important than ever to have a good-looking website. The popular opinion that visitors make their minds up about your website in 3 seconds is wrong according to the research. It’s actually a darn sight quicker than that.
Research published in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology reveals that visitors to your website make their minds up in a 20th of a second. How can you make sure that your site is good enough to handle lightning fast scrutiny?
It Pays to Look the Business
Does the style of your website match the industry you’re in? For example, if your business is selling traditional hand-made furniture, it would be inappropriate if your website looks more like you sell sports clothing. This is a common problem with self-built websites. It’s always best to have your website designed or heavily customised specifically for your business.
Kill the Clutter
Websites can be just as guilty of becoming a clutter-bunker as your attic. If your site is older than six months, take a fresh look at every page. Make sure every bit of your website is earning it’s keep. Do you absolutely need everything there? What job does each graphic, each box, each and every word do? If it’s not essential, get rid of it. Only if it does one or more essential job is it worth keeping.
Display Your Brand Clearly
Do use your company’s colours and corporate imagery but avoid swamping the eye with too much colour. Your logo doesn’t need to look as big as a house. The most effective websites carry a strong corporate identity without making it too obvious. Sometimes this can come down to choice of colours and typefaces.
Simplify Your Navigation
The first sign of a user-friendly website is clear and simple navigation. If your users don’t know where they are on your site at all times, then your navigation is not clear enough. It’s a problem that exists with so many websites and it only leads to frustration and confusion. Don’t annoy your visitors – they’re the ones you’re supposed to be helping. One common problem I see time and again here is on those websites that refer to their business blog with pretentious or misleading names like “Words That Matter” or “Musings”. Just call it a blog, we all know what that means. I have no idea where clicking on “Musings” will take me. Similarly, too any websites call their blog “Latest News”. Typically, it is not news and nobody wants to read an old “news” item 30 weeks after it was relevant.
If you want to create an impact with your website, you need to think visually. This may not come naturally but hey, that’s one of the things your web designer is for. Web Design experts almost always think visually. Try this: load up your home page stand back across the room from your desk and look at the screen. What is your first impression? Ignore the detail, we’re looking for a whole impression. Ask some other people too – not your staff, they might tell you what they think you want to hear. Is it aesthetically pleasing? Is it relevant?
Many people used to think that a rigorous test of a website was the Three Second Test (if you don’t like a website within 3 seconds, you never will) but in the light of more recent research maybe it should be called the arguably less catchy Twentieth of a Second Test.
Dr Gitte Lindegaard of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and lead researcher of the paper believes that as the internet gets increasingly competitive any business with a website should pay attention to the research:
“Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors.”
The lesson? When it comes to your website, it pays to be good-looking.
Need help with your website?
If you need some help creating a website that attracts clients, contact Ash at Design Inspiration for a no-strings chat.