For anyone who has monitored changes and trends in web design, it feels like the ground has shifted more in the last few years than in the entire lifespan of the web. Social media is now engrained in web marketing, as is video and quality content, and website owners are now facing increasing barriers to garner attention for their site. Infinite scrolling and single page designs are springing up all over the place, and it is not too hard to imagine the day when traditional brochure-type websites are completely obsolete (if not already).
Alongside the appearance of your site, usability is becoming increasingly important. Websites that think about the user experience have a better chance of success and conversion than those that don’t. But how feasible is it to make your website more usable, and what specific advantages are there for those that design in this way?
Improve your conversions
The ease with which someone can use, browse and buy from your website will have a key impact on the conversion rates you will experience. Conversion rates, or the rate at which a visitor converts into a customer or a prospect, are the single most important variable for website owners. Alongside traffic, conversion rates determine how successful your website will be. A site with a 1% conversion on 1 million visitors will usually do better than a site with a 10% conversion on 10,000 visitors, but there are occasions when it can be more desirable to have the latter, particularly when conversion rates can dictate the viability of lucrative marketing channels.
More usable designs make it more pleasurable for your visitors to browse and digest information. They make it easier to share your products and services with the world, without the barriers of an awkward website or being unable to find crucial details on a cluttered site.
Make your website more shareable
Websites that are easier to use, and particularly easier to share through social networks, will benefit from increased traffic and profile as a result. Don’t bother sticking up a Facebook ‘Like’ button if your content is terrible or hard to access. Make it as easy and as streamlined as possible for your visitors to share the materials you publish. This can help boost your SEO efforts, in addition to driving new visitors keen to check out your offering.
Websites that are easier to work with tend to be shared more frequently. First impressions count, and if a visitor’s first impressions of your site are that it’s difficult to use, the chances of your content being successfully shared and circulated decreases dramatically.
Target mobile and tablet users
In this day and age, it’s not just PC and laptops you have to worry about. Your site now needs to be usable by those using mobile smartphones, tablets and a range of other devices to access the Internet. This may mean opting for a completely different layout and design for your mobile site, but until then you can check how your current site performs and make minor tweaks where necessary. Designs that are not compatible with other devices will put a healthy (and growing) percentage of your visitors off. For most businesses, that means lost links, shares and sales.
Responsive designs are one way of ensuring you cover this base, helping build in the flexibility required to ensure your page looks native to any device used to view it. This will help make your site feel more comfortable to use, which will in turn aid its promotion, and its efficacy as a commercial tool.
Usable and accessible web design has long been a fringe factor, secondary to nice looking graphics or on-page SEO. But businesses are now becoming increasingly wise to the need to make their pages more usable for all visitors. The mobile web will only increase in prominence, and switching the focus of your design work to mobile-compatible designs now will make it easier to compete in future. With usable designs often looking more attractive and fresher anyway, there is no reason not to emphasize the user-factor in developing your website.
Ultimately, if your website is easy to use, easy to share, and home to some great content, you will find it performs more successfully for your business. By hooking up with a user-focused firm who offers web application development, you can help refresh the way your website looks and is presented to future visitors.