Three Website Design Considerations in 2016

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Three Website Design Considerations in 2016

In the beginning stages of having your site designed it can be easy to want to throw in everything you’ve ever seen on the web that’s even mildly eye-catching or visually persuading.  This is your baby, your business, your presence on the web, and of course you want it to be the best.  You want it to succeed.

Think of this moment as the opposite of choice paralysis. You know choice paralysis: you’re standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, staring down what appears to be about fifteen hundred different boxes of cereal and you cannot even choose one.  Well, this is that moment when you’re not hindered whatsoever, and instead begin piling it all into the cart.

You want carousel sliders? Carousel sliders it is. Parallax scrolling, modal video and image pop-ups…into the cart! Newsletter and contact forms alongside high resolution panoramic images? Why not, should do something, right? Into the cart.

You get the idea.

Thankfully you’ve hired a web design company like Thrive to help you sort through these options and to make sound design considerations.

All of these examples are just that: design considerations.  See, when it comes to our websites, our design considerations are so much more than how something looks.  It is how it performs in relationship to our goals.

If you’re company A, selling Widget B, your goal is to get visitors to your site, to learn about and purchase your widget. That is your website’s goal. Obviously we’re not going to put something in the way of our visitors achieving that, right?

Homepage Sliders/Carousels

The ever present homepage slider/carousel.  It feels as ubiquitous as your site navigation. Gotta have one of those.  You can put up ginormous images with calls-to-action. Case closed.

Maybe not.  Do you know if anyone is even paying attention to your slider? Is your slider helping you to achieve your goals?

Contrary to what many believe, homepage sliders and carousels have a fairly poor return on investment. What’s that ROI? Just think of the impact that slider is having on your page weight and site load times.

It’s fairly significant.

If you’re weighing down your page and no one is clicking through your slider, let alone even paying attention to it, that’s a pretty poor return on investment.

If you’re insistent on having a slider or carousel it is recommended that you spend some time ensuring it is helping you to achieve your goals.  Setting up analytics goals and tracking your slider with tools like Google Analytics is one way of knowing whether or not a slider is beneficial.

Too Much Site Content

Distilling and clarifying your message is hard.

Let me say it again: Distilling and clarifying your site messaging is hard.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the time and effort.

Think of your website as an elevator pitch. You have seconds to grab your visitor’s attention and to direct their interest.  Your messaging, your “pitch”, needs to be concise, clear, and distilled.

That means you refrain from bogging your visitors down in distraction and content they’re never going to read.  Yes, your graphic and text may be cool, but if it is not driving home the messaging and goals, you need to reconsider using it.

Provide your visitors with clear calls to action.

Ensure your use of graphics, text, and video is driving your message and goals.  Keep it to a minimum.  Excessive page content means extra load time. With a majority of visitor traffic coming from mobile devices, you’ll be turning away many a potential visitor if your site takes forever to load.

Mobile Responsive Websites

It’s hard to image that in 2016 there are still websites that have yet to become mobile responsive.  As I mentioned earlier, a majority of website visits are now coming from mobile device traffic.  Visiting a website that is not mobile responsive is most often an unpleasant experience.

Here’s the scenario: A visitor finds your site while browsing the web on their iPhone.  Your site has a huge slider, lots of text and video, and it’s not set up for mobile devices (it doesn’t respond with resized columns and images to fit the screen) making the text and buttons just about impossible to use.  Visitor quickly tires of the bad user-experience and visits your competitor.

While the above scenario is a simplification the underlying message remains important: you should have a mobile responsive website.  Visitors will bounce from your site without hesitation if the user-experience is not configured for mobile.  Top a non-mobile responsive site off with heaps of content that is not only distracting but heavy on page load times and you’ve the perfect recipe for finding your website in the dark recesses of internet oblivion.

The Wrap Up

In the beginning stages of having your website designed it can be easy to feel as if you have to put everything into your site.  Contrary to our assumptions, the inclusion of trendy animations, sliders, and other website detritus can often negatively impact our goals.

Our website’s function as our gateway to our visitors.  We have a finite amount of time, mere seconds, to transmit our message and to drive our visitors toward our goals.  Whether it be to share information, to drive sales, or to visit a link, our goals and our design decisions need to function in unison.

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