As the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover…unless you’re thinking of buying from a company with a terrible website.
OK, that aside is mine, but statistics show it’s not far off base. According to Stanford University, 75 percent of people judge the credibility of a company based on the design of its website. And 94 percent of people say websites with good designs are more trustworthy.
Most CEOs and marketers who seek our website design services are aware the look and layout of their websites can have an impact on sales. (In fact, their customers will often tell them they almost bought from a competitor with a better looking, easier to navigate website.) What they often don’t know is how their new websites should look.
To help answer this question, I turned to Kuno Creative’s resident design experts, Creative Director Dan Ulichney and Senior Designer Walt Winchel. According to them, a website that drives more traffic and captures more qualified leads does three things:
Let's explore each of these further.
Our attention spans are becoming shorter (9 seconds by some estimates), our want for visual elements is growing and our mobile usage is skyrocketing. Your web design needs to address all of these trends.
“Many business executives think website design should be ornamental with textures, gradients, drop shadows and other three-dimensional elements,” Ulichney says. “But to create a faster, better user experience, you need to leave ornamental design behind. A sleek and minimalistic design will give your buyers a better experience.”
Flat design eliminates any stylistic choices that give the illusion of three-dimensions and focuses on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography and flat colors. Not only is flat design easier for your visitors to digest on mobile and desktop, it decreases the time it takes for your website to load.
Meaningful visuals are another component buyers want to see on your website. “People love photos and videos, which is evident by the rise of visual social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram,” Ulichney says. “Simplistic design allows the whole look of the page to have more focus on those visual elements.”
Large websites with layers of subpages are tedious to navigate on mobile. What’s more, segmenting your content onto multiple pages hinders your ability to effectively communicate how your products or services will help solve buyers’ problems.
“Bulky websites fragment your ability to tell a story,” Ulichney says. “Presenting a complete narrative on one long, scrolling page is preferable to having visitors click through multiple pages.”
Parallax scrolling—a scrolling technique where background images move more slowly than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth—encourages visitors to continue scrolling and disguises the length of your pages.
As pages decrease, your navigation will take on a new look too. Dropdown navigation—navigation that expands into a list when a web visitor hovers or clicks—is being replaced by more simplistic navigations. Google, for example, replaced its lengthy black navigation bar in favor of the current white navigation. In some cases, designers are removing the navigation altogether.
Every single element on your new website should be specially crafted to resonate with your buyers. Long paragraphs of product-centric copy should be replaced with simple value propositions and solution-centric messaging that address buyer pain points. Branding and imagery should be what buyers want to see.
“We used to design websites for the general visitor. Now we’re personalizing and contextualizing the design and content so a website will look different depending on personas and lifecycle stages,” Winchel says. “You have to alter your business’ branding into variations so it’s attractive to all of your buyers at all times.”
While you have an understanding of who your customers are (and who you want your new customers to be), undergoing a robust buyer insight process to develop buyer personas will help solidify the strategic messaging and design most likely to resonate with buyers.
“A detailed buyer insight report affects the design we create,” Ulichney says. “We want to enhance the narrative on your website in everything from the overall layout to the images and icons.”
At the end of the day, the look of your website matters. A website that drives traffic and qualified leads speaks to buyers’ pain points and is well-designed, easy-to-navigate and mobile-friendly. This is what you should want to achieve when redesigning your website. For more help redesigning your website, see our latest eBook.