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Toronto-based boutique agency specializing in web design and development, identity and print design.
Sep 15

Is Your Web Design Really Making a Statement?

Web design currently is not just focused on functionality; it is an expressive form of art. Although, at first glance, designs look simplified, they are complex in being functional on multiple platforms, like tablets and smartphones.

To evaluate your web design’s appeal and connect, the first point of consideration is whether the site caters to the audience psyche. For that, it is important to think like a user.

Thinking like a user

There is a stark resemblance between customer behavior in stores and sites- they scan the latest text, scroll through pictures, and only select that item which catches their attention. Only a small part of the site is looked at while the majority is ignored.

When a link is clicked and it lands on the item the user is looking for, browsing may turn into a sale. If not, the back button is pressed and the search continues.

  • Users only scan: Users do not have the patience or the time to read through an entire description. They look for keywords which are close to the description of the item they’re looking for.
  • Credibility and quality are always appreciated: As long as there is good content, users make way for advertisements. Content always ranks higher than design.
  • Search is satisficing: Search doesn’t follow an optimized and methodical route, rather scattered and satisficing. Designing a sequential web page is an unnecessary chore.
  • Web users lack patience, they need instant gratification: A web designer fails when the page doesn’t hold the user’s attention or meet expectation. A good web page has lesser cognitive load and greater intuition with navigation.
  • Users want to feel in control: There must be consistency in the data presented throughout the site. The user must also be in control- only those links selected must open. Users feel comfortable when there is a ‘Back’ button option. It is therefore important to ensure that new pages do not open in a new tab.
  • Search is intuition based: Connecting with an audience can’t be scientifically broken down, it is intuitional. Successful web designers often stick to a formula which works even when they don’t have a clear understanding of it. The mantra being “As long as it can be used”.

Is your web-design really making a statement?

You know that the website design is making a statement when it is:

  • Self-explanatory: Krug’s first law of usability states that all web pages must be self-explanatory and obvious. The primary job of the web designer is to answer all the questions- there must be pros and cons to help make the decision. For the user, it must never be too complicated to understand how to get from point A to B. There must be clear visual cues and evident links to lead the user to their final destination. User search, in general, follows the F pattern: heading, text on extreme right and directly underneath. The content in these regions must not give rise to questions. A good web design has 0 questions.
  • Users are highly impatient: The likeliness of a random user trying a site increases when the action requirement is minimal. First time users will play with the website as long as there are no requirements which necessitate filling out forms. In most likeliness, the user may not return to the site, making the effort taken to fill a form futile. Users must be given the liberty to explore a website before making a decision without having to divulge their private information. Users will be more willing to share their email id once they’ve seen the features of the website and are impressed. A web page that connects does not demand a subscription on entering, instead it removes all barriers.
  • There is nothing greater than exposure: Most modern web designers adhere to the 1-2-3 visual guiding steps. Although they receive a fair share of criticism for this, when done right, this is the approach with the highest effectiveness. The fundamental principle of a good web design is to allow users to clearly see all the functions which are available. The focal point is easy-to-understand content and user interface.
  • Creating focal points: A well-designed web page directs a user’s focus to the core of the site. Images standout, words don’t. Human eye is a non-linear device which instantly notices patterns, edges, and motion. Although video marketing is annoying, it does fulfill the job of grabbing attention.

While the entire post may seem inclined towards the placement of visual content, the power of effective writing must not be taken for granted. Have keywords highlighted in bold or italics. Be smart with the choice of words, ‘explore our services’ is not as good as ‘start now.’ Always remember, the key to creating a good web design is simplicity.