Website Design 101

In today’s world, your website is your storefront.  And, just like your storefront, your page layout is a direct reflection of the quality of your products, the service you provide, and where you stand in your respective industry. As with anything in life, you should put your best foot forward and showcase your strengths, all while keeping the aesthetic as inviting as possible and providing all the necessary details to your customers so they feel comfortable buying from you.  

We’ve seen the industry change a lot in the past decade.  Brands and retailers that would have historically opened brick and mortar businesses, have now opted to take an online-first approach. Brands like TheGrandVoyage.com, WarbyParker.com, and Bonobos.com are shining examples of this.  A physical location is now an afterthought for many store owners.

It can feel like tightrope walking trying to fit current design standards while pushing the envelope of what’s possible. Here are some tricks to design an interactive, informative, and engaging website.

1.  Scrolling is in

Scrolling websites are in.  While it’s definitely important to organize your website with your main navigation, people like to get their information on one page.  This is likely associated to the Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds that popularized one page scrolling.  The trick is to make your customer work as little as possible while getting the most amount of information.  After all, that’s what online shopping is all about: efficiency.   Scrolling websites are also easier to work on a smartphone or tablet.  Which leads us to our next point...

2.  How will it look on a smartphone or tablet?

As you know, desktop computing is for the office.  After office hours, many users are buying products on the go, through their smartphone or tablet.  To paint a clearer picture of this, mobile web adoption is growing 8x faster than web adoption did in the 90s to 00s.  Further, 30% of mobile users will abandon their purchase if the user experience is not ideal.  With that said, it’s incredibly important to ensure your website functions properly across these different interfaces.  With smartphone usage expected to increase to 237 million users in the US by 2019, you don’t want to miss out on this increased browser traffic.

3.  Clean lines only/keep it simple

When in doubt, keep it simple.  Simple and minimalistic themes are key.  This is equally important to consider in the copy and the narrative driven sections of your website.  Your page needs to be easy to digest or you’ll lose customer interest and your bounce rate will increase.    People are really only curious about a couple of things: What is your product?  How will it benefit them? How much does it cost?  What social implications does it have?  What does your brand stand for?  Explain the aforementioned through photos or copy and you’ll have them hooked!  In terms of design, less is always more and organization is crucial.  Give your users a simple interface and it will do wonders down the road.    

4.  Standardized font and colors

This goes hand in hand with organization.  There’s really nothing more distracting than looking at a website where font and color schemes are all over the place.  Your products should be the highlight of your page, not the website.  Pick one color pallette and use it throughout the website.  

5.  Hi-res images

Brighter is better.  Remember, you want to showcase your products in the best light :).  Chances are the mobile phone, computer, or tablet screens your customers are viewing your page on have high quality display capabilities already.  Your image should definitely live up to those standards.  The goal is to strive for an image of 72dpi, while keeping the file size low.  Humans are tactile creatures so it’s important that your products feel as life-like as possible.  Most purchases are made for emotional reasons. Customers need to envision themselves using your products, so make sure to include lots of different product angles.  For information on how to take better smartphone photos, click here.  

6.  Include a hero image on the home page

Yes, you need one of these.  If your items are seasonal, make sure you rotate the cover images out appropriately -- aka, a model in a wool sweater during the summer months probably isn’t the best fit.  The benefit of having a website is that you have incredible flexibility to test, optimize and update images on the fly. Use a hero image to inform your visitors about your product and its benefits.

7.  Is it timeless?

With the web changing every day, this is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when designing a website.  New technologies come out everyday, and we’re sure in 5 years, they will change.  The goal, however, is to keep your web design as timeless as possible to ensure you don’t have to update it constantly.  This will give you more time to focus on your products and marketing.

8.  Include links to your social pages

In order for a new customer to trust your brand, they need to trust whoever is selling it and they need to see what people are saying about your products.  Essentially, social media is a form of word of mouth promotion; 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as an important influencer in their purchasing decision and 88% trust online reviews written by other customers as much as they would through a personal contact.  So, definitely make sure to link out to social media, blogs, or any other platform you use as frequently as possible.  

We hope you found this article helpful.  If you have any other tips, feel free to comment below.

 

Here are some of our favorite web designs:

Wish.com.au

Greats.com

AllBirds.com

Grayers.com

fiftythree.com/pencil

howardyount.com

readcereal.com

Livingedge.com.au

falve.co.nz

 

Sources:

http://resources.mobify.com/50-mobile-commerce-stats.html

http://www.statista.com/statistics/201182/forecast-of-smartphone-users-in-the-us/

https://www.getambassador.com/blog/word-of-mouth-marketing-statistics

http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends