Your website is often the first impression of your brand that connects with a potential customer. You want to make sure your site’s design conveys the right message, tone and personality. While it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a flashy, interactive and eye-catching design, we see eight mistakes that are commonly made in this process. Discover what they are and how you can ensure your site’s design helps users properly navigate through the desired conversion path.
1. Focusing too much on design, and not on usability.
Every designer's dream would be to create an innovative website with all unique features and minimalistic, hidden elements to allow the space to feel cleaner. However, this mindset is not practical or beneficial for many clients and their organizations because the majority of users will not understand how to navigate a different layout.
A great example of this is the hamburger nav - those three, horizontal lines at the top of a website’s page. For designers, this is great. It de-clutters the appearance of the website and the navigation links are still available if you click the hamburger nav. Unfortunately, a large majority of the population isn’t aware that the navigation links can still be found clicking there. With our user experience (UX) research, we’ve found that having all important information or links visible whenever possible is best for users, and boosting your navigation to interior pages.
2. Not consulting your UX team (or not having one).
Failing to look at your website’s analytics can lead to low traffic, high-bounce rate, and ultimately, static or decreasing sales. Analytics provide indicators of elements on your site that are both working to your advantage and penalizing your organization. There can be simple solutions, such as adding a video to explain a product or altering a font’s weight to be more legible to readers.
It’s also important to talk through design concepts with your development team. We discuss what can designers do differently so it’s the most intuitive, user-friendly website. Is there a less-complicated way to approach this concept? Are there any issues with the responsive design path as the website transforms to mobile? Once the front-end and back-end teams approve the concept, there won’t be any surprises when it reaches the development stage, and our team can provide the client with the design they are expecting.
3. Skipping the responsive design.
71 percent of the U.S. population searches on their mobile device, then convert on desktop. In some cases, this percentage is even higher in other countries around the world! You need to capture their attention with your mobile, responsive site so they return.
A benefit to having a responsive website design is the ability to control what the viewer sees. When a website isn’t mobile-friendly, the user has to zoom in, move the design around and will most likely miss some key information about your organization.
4. Using unclear CTAs.
Call-to-action (CTA) buttons help guide users to a place where they can convert on your website. Converting is guiding a user to complete your business goal, such as purchasing a product, making an appointment or signing up for an event. The most effective buttons are large, bold, have clear text and are always linked to a page that “closes the deal”. Without CTA buttons, you will rarely see a high level of conversions, as the potential customer will be confused or unaware of how to take the desired action.
Above is an example of too much content, versus utilizing a CTA clearly directing the user to a specific interior page that can better outline the subject.
5. Having a confusing navigation structure.
Our goal is to enable a user to navigate anywhere on the site with three clicks or less. Our strategists research your industry, what users are searching for on your site, and recommend an updated navigation structure that is the most intuitive and user-friendly.
It’s up to our design team to brainstorm how to best display information in a way that looks fresh and clean. Our best user experience (UX) tip is to keep as much information as possible visible to the user. Burying information in multiple drop downs or hiding it in a hover state, (only visible when the user’s mouse is directly over the link) can be a crucial mistake and cost an organization business.
6. Not including a search area.
Sometimes users are unsure what to look for or what a service is called. Including a search icon or bar in the upper right-hand corner of your website is best practice. Placing this search area anywhere else will most likely increase your bounce rate, meaning users will leave your website without taking any action.
7. Using a pre-made website template.
At Blue Compass, we are proud to provide custom design and development solutions to all clients. We avoid templates and strive to always give our clients a custom look that best fits an organization’s brand. By using a template through companies like Wordpress or Squarespace, a business runs the risk of limited functionality, compromising your goals or vision, and having the same website layout as a competitor.
Along with our original websites, our developers have built a custom Content Management System (CMS) that allows our clients to edit content, images, links, and much more, at any time.
8. Failing to update your site after launch.
One thing that sets Blue Compass apart from other website development companies is how we continue to follow up with you after your website launches. Our expert UX team is always conducting research for how to better our designs and how an audience is using a website. Our team utilizes these important findings in future projects, but this industry is always evolving and challenging us to be better for our clients.
With this methodology, your website won’t sit static for years after launch. We work to make subtle improvements, such as changing a button color or linking a graphic to a contact page, to increase your business’ growth.