By: Kevin Hourigan- Bayshore Solutions Executive Team
Great Web Design Includes Device Usability, Search Marketing, and Overall Customer Experience
Beauty may often be in the eye of the beholder, but for a business website design, beauty goes beyond “skin deep.” Great Web design blends art and science to powerfully balance all of the elements vital to your website’s success. While great Web design produces an attractive and easy to use website for your customers, prospective customers, employees and other intended audiences, what has to also be taken into account is the type of devices people are using to access your website and what technologies including crawlers, bots and other technologies that need to have a great “first impression” as well.
Knowing your target audience is Marketing 101. For website design today, we should understand our different website audiences and the related dynamics you need to include in your strategy before you start your creative imagination to go wild.
If you are not currently addressing the multiple ways the internet is accessed, and how your website is looks on each of them, then you are behind the competition and losing more ground daily. There is no uniform technical protocol or standard among today’s spectrum of devices. iPhones, Androids, other smartphones, iPads, laptop computers, traditional desktop stations, web TVs, varying screen-resolutions and browsers used will all impact the experience of your website’s quality and effectiveness. Ignoring one or some could be a fatal business decision now or in the near future.
Knowing your audiences and their typical device use can help prioritize your design for device strategy; but be aware that this dynamic is a moving-target. A case in point is that Web browser, Internet Explorer, held nearly 70% global usage market share two years ago and CNN reports in early October 2010 that it now holds 49% – less than half. How does your website render on browsers other than IE?
This audience isn’t even human, but is critical to your website success. Design that accommodates the best-practices basics as well as the format and content flexibility needed for ongoing SEO competitiveness is crucial to your website’s ability to be found by the right people (your targets) using search to initiate, research and fulfill their produce and service needs.
The entire practice of SEO is always evolving. What was a most-effective method in one time period may be saturated and even a detriment in the next. If your website is not designed to keep up, your SEO results won’t. However, it is quite possible to “SEO to Death” your web content. This is where the balance with design for business results is needed.
Your web visitors are not just your target prospective customers. They can be existing customers, prospective employees or influencers. Each needs to receive a favorable experience. The look and feel of your site, its content, and the delivery of your corporate message needs to resonate meaningfully with your primary targets and to your secondary and other online audiences. Achieving this is a hallmark of truly artful web design.
Then you need to connect the navigation and usability of your website to address these audiences and create momentum toward your desired end result (the lead or sale). I call this aspect “Design for the directed path,” which is orchestrating website elements and content that facilitates the journey of the educational process to the sale. Great Web design educates people through content that eliminates barriers and motivates them to call you, submit a lead form or purchase online.
When you have addressed the needs, expectations and optimized the experience for each of these audiences in your Website design, your business is primed to reap online results and best your competition. Thus, great business Web design = leads and sales.