Websites, Do You Need More Beauty or Brains?

Websites don’t have to be pretty to be powerful.

There is a lot of talk about user-friendly design and design thinking. Websites need to be optimized, focused on buyer personas (your target audiences), well architected, responsive and set up for the ultimate conversion for visitors. Websites do a lot, and when done correctly, they do a lot for their visitors (and for your business).

Many web design & development firms spend a lot of time on the design. And, most clients love to focus on the home page. Lots of design elements are considered from photos, sliders, headlines, what goes where, colors, etc. A good web development team will first discuss who your audiences are, what’s most important to them, and help you create a site that delivers to them. Think about Amazon: is it beautiful or functional? What other sites do you use every day that are easy to use, functional and not so pretty. Does it impact your use of them or no?

Our web development team just revamped a beautifully designed website. It was modern, had great visuals, calls to action throughout and had that “scrolling” effect on the homepage, as opposed to a slider. The client had it for just over a year and didn’t like it. It didn’t work for them, it didn’t work for their prospects and more importantly, it wasn’t delivering results over their previous website. A perfect example of how a highly designed website doesn’t necessarily deliver.

In our web world here at 834, good design is functional, easy-to-use design. Instead of being glitzy, we create websites by knowing who our audiences are, how they search, what’s important to them and then making it easy for them to take action. That’s where the results come in, whether it’s a call, filled-out form, email, purchase, email list sign-up, coupon download, etc. Think about what the user wants to do and make it easy.

Websites that deliver results do not have to be exceptionally high-designed works of art. Yes, they need to be clean, easy to navigate and most importantly, functional, but flashiness doesn’t equate to web success.

So, how can you design a website that has just as much brains (if not more) than beauty?

5 Website Design & Planning Tips

  1. Determine simplest path your customer or prospect could take to get what they need from you.
  2. Plan content and navigation structure accordingly. Remember, websites are not where content should go to die.
  3. Deliver information your visitors want and need. Concise, relevant information that answers questions, gives instructions and provides relevant applications to review (just to name a few).
  4. Keep in clean. In an age where less is more, simple design wins. You don’t need a ton of graphics, movement, videos all over the place or anything – just get them what they need, quickly and easily.
  5. Think Like a Customer. Have a few key customers kick the tires while a new site is in development. Give them some normal “tasks” like request a quote for information, purchase a product, use the search, and report back on how easy it is to use.

Everyone has a different eye and level of experience when it comes to creating, navigating and using websites. What’s been your experience with websites that are more beautiful than functional, or functional and not so pretty?

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