Website design that understands the needs of your customers

 

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Your customers are the most important aspect of your business and first impressions count. A well-designed website will make your visitors feel they have come to the right place. It is crucial your website gives the right impression to your target audience and it is guided by function. A visitor needs to know your business is one they can believe in.

Part of designing a website with your customers in mind is making sure your online brand personality works in collaboration with your offline identity.

Your customers expect to the latest advances in web technology to be used in modern websites. Having a site that is innovative can go along way in keeping your visitors coming back.

Here are the some more user experience pointers:

  1. Make a great landing page: it may be stating the obvious, but this is the first impression that visitors have of your site. The image they see on the first click to your site is the image they take away with them. First impressions are crucial. Is your first image simple and subtle, or is it expressive? Does your site give an impression of quality, trustworthiness, authority, customer-focus, containing up to date information?
  2. Have a clear call to action: Once on your landing page, the next step is to give visitors a clear idea of what do next. Don’t leave them searching around the site with no clue where to go. You’ve got their attention. Now show them a clear way forward.
  3. Design navigation that makes sense to your business. This takes some thought. Navigating around a website is now something most people do intuitively. We all recognise dropdown menus, homepages, search boxes, etc. We use them habitually, and so are drawn towards them because they are familiar. This is a great opportunity for a thoughtful web designer. By using familiar elements, you can get a visitor to interact with your site within seconds of arriving. Designed really well, and you can subtly lead a visitor through the experience you want to give them. Read more about navigation design.
  4. Maintain clarity in you design: confusing design layouts are the worst way to appeal to new visitor. Maintaining clarity, using space, silent areas, subtle divisions and composition will keep the user experience balanced.
  5. Use keywords in your main content: If you want search engines to find your site, the words that you use in your content will determine when your site appears in search results. By building your content around a few choice words and phrases, your site will climb the rankings when those words or phrases are typed into a search engine. The key is to figure out what words your potential visitors use to look for you, and to use those words in your content.
  6. Give all your images well-chosen references: Every standards-compliant, Google-sensitive image reference should contain 3 key items: a). A src attribute specifying the URL of the image, b). An alt attribute that describes the content of the image – very important to search engines, c). A title attribute that contains text to be displayed when the user hovers their mouse over the image.
  7. Make any location in your site no more than three clicks away: People like to click, and they like to browse a website at speed. That’s why it’s important to make all your content accessible by the smallest number of clicks. It’s also a good idea to have a homepage button so users can always find their way back.
  8. Adopt the 80/20 rule: Give people 80% of the primary information in the first 20% of the content: Web users have short attention spans, so why not give them four-fifths of your whole website message in the opening pages of content. Just don’t overload them. Make your information easy to digest. This is about being concise.
  9. Keep your content up to date using a CMS: They always say that content is king. Well, it’s true. Web users have high expectations of the web, so if your site is going to attract visitors and keep their attention, the content needs to be of a high quality. If it isn’t, people will soon leave your site and won’t come back. On the other hand, if the content is up to date, topical and relevant, it will attract good search engine ranking and visitors will stay loyal.
  10. Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes: One of the very best exercises is to sit in front of your website and interact with it as if you’d never set eyes on it before. Ask yourself: What do I find out in the first five seconds? Do I know where I am and where to go next? Am I confused by what’s in front of me, or is it coherent?

 

Chris Jones
Chris is co-founder and lead designer at Arcimedia Web Agency. He is based in Leamington Spa, UK.

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