Yesterday I announced the launch and redesign of this website. Redesigns are fun, exciting, and motivational. I started thinking about new topics to write on, old drafts I have saved up, I even got a few inquiries from potential clients. But as I was responding to feedback on twitter during the day, an interesting retweet came across my stream:
“Why is quality website design so important for the success of an online business?” While most people perpetuate the belief that good design is important, few people explain why.
Design is most commonly thought about in terms of how something looks. Yet design implies more than just aesthetics. Design means the style, composition, and functionality of any product. Good design pertaining to websites means not only do they look great, but that they are built great, and work great.
When you see a site for the first time you instantly start making judgements about what kind of site it is, what its purpose is, and the people behind it. It’s intrinsic to us, first impressions are everything. How your website looks is going to make an impression on your users. And apart from just having a good looking website, good design means a good impression.
The design of your website ought to be a reflection of the brand image you are trying to establish. How you brand yourself and set up your brand strategy are important, and design is the way to establish your branding. Design aesthetics are the face of your branding and business.
The most unthought of part of design is composition; how it’s made. With a lot of things, the design process — how things are made, is thought to be the business of engineers. But the composition of your website you should be concerned about, it directly affects your bottom line.
The structure of your website affects things like: security, load times, and search ranking. While search rankings and security have obvious implications to the success and/or detriment of your site, so do the other things like site speed and load times. Kissmetrics reports that Amazon.com saw a 1% decease in sales with every 100MS increase in load time. What if you could simply increase your revenue 1% every time you made your website a tenth of a second faster? The performance of your site is easily the most important aspect of the design. After all, what does it matter if your website doesn’t work?
The functionality of your site is the fun part. What your site does is the purpose of your presence online. Good design uses its functionality in order to differentiate itself from the competition. What you do with your website is what give you your edge.
Good design is also intuitive. Websites in particular have to be intuitive. When a website isn’t intuitive it directly decreases performance; retention rates will decrease, conversion rates will drop, and you will lose repeat visitors. A website isn’t like a smart phone where a user will spend hours to figure out how to do the task they wish to accomplish, they will simply find a different website. Good design incorporates functionality that is easy to use and user-friendly. Making your website an enjoyable and unique experience for your users will inevitably increase user loyalty, retention rate, and revenue.
All successful products on the market have one common element: good design, and any website with aspirations needs the same. It’s like Henry Ford said: “Every object tells a story”, and so should every website.