The Importance of a Well Designed Website
In today’s modern world, any information can be found by looking it up on the internet. Due to its accessibility and vast usage, the online market has grown dramatically. Companies have caught on to its potential and practically almost every business has their own website. Whether it’s to sell a product or provide information the main purpose for a website is to serve the visitor. This is where design plays a crucial roll in creating intuitive and attractive websites to fulfill that purpose. We’ve all seen well designed websites like Facebook, Amazon and Reddit which receive vast amounts of traffic, (for good reason!) but before we can talk about good design, we first need to delve into what bad design looks like.
Consider a webpage, at a basic level it is a page that stores information. If this information is disorganized, structured poorly or flat out does not look good, then this can have various effects on the visitor’s impression. For this example I want to point out a case I read about. The owner of an electronics repair company called Rossmann Repair Group hired a developer company to redesign his old website because he believed his current site had looked outdated. Two months into development, the developer sent these webpages for review.
The edits on these photos are from the client. You can tell he’s quite unsatisfied and for reasons that you probably noticed at first glance. The website looks terrible. Margins are not consistent, there is no theme or structure, and worst of all “Main it in” should say “Mail it in”. There is even a section at the bottom of one page where there is an empty broken form. Arriving at a website like this, what are your first thoughts? You probably would be unimpressed or lost which would be followed by a complete loss in trust for the company this page is representing. You would think the company is unprofessional, leave the site within a minute and move on with your life. Most popular websites are well designed and are eye-pleasing to visitors but websites like these do still exist and there’s a reason why they don’t rank high on google.
The circumstances of this story are not important to this post but if you would like to read more about it here’s the link to the original post.
Now that we understand what bad UI looks like, let’s understand the basics of good UI.
Arrangement of Information
Referring back to my earlier statement, a webpage simply stores information for the viewer to see. It is important that information is arranged neatly, has correct grammar and is organized by importance. This means the most important info should be prioritized at the top or where the visitor can see it clearly. This is why you see sales promotions and events as soon as you visit sites like bestbuy.ca and walmart.ca. They also make these sections eye catching, stylized and full of images to get you to check out their products and deals. Information that is complimentary are typically placed further down the page for users who have already been hooked to the website at first glance.
Have you ever googled a restaurant to search for the menu, or check working hours only to end up scanning the whole website for the small bit of info you are looking for? This can leave potential customers frustrated, which is why intuitive navigation is crucial for satisfying your visitors. Any bit of info that a visitor may need to know should be easily accessible and intuitive. By intuitive I mean they should be able to effortlessly navigate to the right webpage or section without being instructed. Make sure the navigation bar is simple and labelled appropriately. Your website shouldn’t be a chore to use because people won’t offer you their time so easily.
Theme and Look
The theme is the look and feel of the website which plays a big roll in attracting visitors. It represents your website and gives it branding. The first example I showed lacked consistency in look through the bizarre spacing and inconsistent margins. You also want to make sure everything is working on your website; this means no broken sections. Adding images, keeping blocks of text separated and restricting your site to a short palette of colors are great for achieving a consistent and informative look to your webpage. Even adding fancy animations can make your website attractive.
What I mentioned above are very broad elements of a well designed website and each can be elaborated at a much deeper level. There are definitely more elements to go over but I just wanted to present what I consider are most important.
Benefits of a Well Designed Website
There are many benefits when you focus on great design. One of the most obvious benefits is a decrease in bounce rate. This means customers won’t leave your website and will actually navigate it, giving you an opportunity to sell your product, service or to simply present information. There is no point in getting more people to visit your website if they don’t stay and explore what you have to offer.
Another is trust. Having a well organized, easy-to-use website will gain the visitor’s trust in your company or branding because they will understand that you care and know what you’re doing. What’s not so obvious that contributes to trust is the look and theme of the website. Small color accents, animations or creative pictures may seem small or redundant, but they add up and give personality, making your site interesting. People are more likely to trust something that interests them.
The reason why trust is important is because it builds a sense of credibility in your company or brand. All these factors contribute to giving your visitor a great experience and allows you to better communicate your ideas to them. I said earlier that the purpose of a website is to serve the visitor. If the visitor is served well, then they can become potential customers, clients, followers, users or whatever your goal you initially felt a website was necessary for.