And that’s a big deal considering the extreme importance of web design and its impact on business success.
In order for your brand to carve out a place in the competitive market and make a name for itself, it needs to have a functioning website — one that leads users on a journey and provides them with the essential information they’re looking for without making them work for it.
It needs to foster a positive user experience.
And it needs to be uniquely yours.
But you might not understand the intricacies of a great web design and what grabs consumer attention. And that’s ok. That’s where the best web design and development agencies come in. They can help highlight weaknesses in your design and build a strategy that will create a platform that revs your brand’s engines and puts it on a path to industry leadership.
The best websites take advantage of all tools and resources at their disposal, evolving into a digital destination that inspires consumers and propels users to the actions a specific brand wants them to take.
But how can you build a successful, visually-stunning and intuitive web design? Let’s take a look at what the experts have to say.
How To Build A User-Friendly Website — Advice From The Experts
Andre Lindo, Design Project Manager, Big Drop
TIP: Understand who your user is.
Designing a great user experience must start with knowing your audience. Researching your users' motivations, habits and desires can provide huge insights that can determine everything from the structure of your site, the style of the design and the tone of your messaging.
Peter Lebron, Design Project Manager, Big Drop
TIP: Make your content easy to digest.
Most users go to a site to immediately find a solution to their problem. Strip away some of the marketing messaging and walls of text and make use of bullet points or a few sentences that explain what you do, quickly.
Kirill Yarovenko, Senior UX Designer, Big Drop
TIP: Make sure the information on your website is well organized, so users can easily understand the site navigation.
Provide a straightforward flow to the content most users looking for. Don’t make things too complicated. Minimize the number of available options if possible.
Brian Byer, VP Of Content & Commerce Practice Lead, Blue Fountain Media
Websites are no longer in their infancy. We are seeing the third wave of progress in the form of cross-platform, human-centric experiences that can vary based on each previous action with the website.
Site visitors expect a personalized experience and we are harnessing technology that enables us to not only personalize the site experience but orchestrate the entire buyer journey both on and off site.
Chris White, CEO/Founder, The Sneakers Agency
1. Revisit Your Brand & Your Messaging
When developing a site, it’s easy to get carried away with wanting a site that looks really fancy and has slick animations. But even in this day and age, words matter. Given how many sites people visit, words probably matter even more. If your brand is not speaking directly to how a user benefits from using your product or service and how it will improve their lives, then you’re probably turning away potential customers. Start here and get your branding and messaging on point before worrying about your site.
2. Focus on Site Structure
Users need to be guided through your site as easy as possible which is why it’s incredibly important to lay out your site structure first on paper. Think through your high-level sitemap and the most important pages that you need to focus on and that you want people to navigate to. Keep your main menu structure simple and clean and push everything else to your footer. In addition, site structure affects how search engines interpret your site and can affect your search rankings so it’s especially important that you have a clear strategy in place.
3. Develop a Keyword Strategy
Let’s be honest, keyword strategy is difficult. Why? Because there’s not necessarily one right or wrong answer. That said, given the fact that customers pretty much use google to find anything and everything, you have to put even more emphasis than ever on developing a solid keyword strategy so that you’re attracting the right prospects to your site. We recommend heading over to Yoast and grabbing one of their courses on Keyword Research Training.
4. Develop A Content Strategy
Once you’ve got your branding/messaging, site structure, and keyword strategy mapped out, it’s time to plan your content strategy, because no content equals no organic traffic. You should work to focus on a handful of keywords that you want to rank for and develop a strategy around them. These will be harder to rank for near term, but long term you will see better-converting traffic to your site since you’ve put in the time to map out a solid strategy.
5. Focus On Homepage Journey
Now that you’ve gotten all the pieces of the puzzle in place, it’s time to work on the most difficult page of any site: the homepage. Make sure that users see a direct call to action at the top of your site and that they see a messaging and imaging that speaks to them and how you will make their lives better. This is priority one! The rest of your homepage should show how you’ve made this happen for other customers, that you have a clear process/plan to make this happen for new customers, and that it’s easy to get started working with you and your product/service.
6. Design For Tablet and Mobile
And one final tip! Don’t forget to design your site for tablet and mobile. This seems obvious of course and a lot of templates handle this for you these days, but it’s important to think about the structure of your pages and how the content will flow for mobile and tablet devices. Also, Google is continuing to roll out its mobile-first indexing for sites which could affect your ranking so this becomes even more important.
Derek Robinson, CEO/Founder, Top Notch Dezigns
When a business thinks about getting a new website, it should look at creating one that is perfectly tailored to suits its brand image. A well-designed website, after all, can help propel a brand to the next level. Here are three important aspects that brands need to consider if they wish to create professional websites that offer great user experiences.
1. Go Beyond The Basics
What this basically means is that run-of-the-mill websites no longer have the desired effect. Brands now have to move beyond offering their target audiences with basic information. People who visit brand websites tend to have specific requirements or questions in mind, and they usually have rather high expectations when it comes to the information websites provide. When customers have questions about a product or a service, they expect to find answers on the brand’s website.
Brands can make their websites more useful for their audiences in different ways. For starters, make sure that the information people commonly search for is easily available. Including a “Frequently Asked Questions” section helps address this effectively. If you’re aiming at providing high levels of customer service, consider providing live chat via your website.
Brands that don’t skimp on their web design budget can look forward to multiple benefits. The first comes in the form of increased direct sales. Statistics show that an increasing number of consumers now prefer making purchases directly from brands instead of retailers. Sales at the retailer-level might also increase, given that several consumers look for information online before making in-store purchases.
2. Use Your Website To Build Credibility
There is no dearth of people who scout the internet to check how credible a product or service is before actually making a purchase. Your website gives you easy means to tell your target audience why it should trust your brand. You may do this by explaining your offerings’ benefits and backing your claims through testimonials of previous customers.
Some of the other ways in which you may use your brand’s website to build credibility include:
- Making your contact information easily available
- Displaying pictures of founders and team members
- Listing your credentials and accomplishments
- Telling stories about how your business started and how its customers have benefitted
- Establishing yourself as an industry expert by providing quality content
3. Get The Homepage Right
Unless you’re running an online advertisement campaign with a targeted landing page, the first page of your website that most people get to is its homepage. When probable or existing customers land on your homepage, it’s imperative that you provide valuable content to keep them from leaving. Besides, the content you provide should come in a logical and organized manner.
Brands need to make sure that their websites’ homepages have these five basic elements:
- A branding element, such as a logo
- A descriptive element in the form of a title and a suitable description of the products or services on offer
- A graphic element in the form of images or videos
- A navigational element that facilitates browsing within the website
- A call-to-action
Key Features Of A Successful Web Design
A responsive web design is one that easily adapts depending on the medium it’s being viewed on. A responsive website looks the same on a desktop as it does on a mobile device or tablet. A responsive, mobile-friendly web design is a vital feature of a winning website.
Eight out of ten consumers will stop engaging with a website that doesn’t display properly on their device.
And considering the blossoming e-commerce opportunities connected with mobile usage, your brand can’t afford to miss out on those possibilities.
By 2021, nearly 54 percent of e-commerce spend will be attributed to mobile devices. So responsive web design is a must-have feature when it comes to your website. And it's a key indicator that your website is one that can be trusted.
88 percent of online consumers won’t return to a website after they’ve had a bad experience with it.
And one area of a website that can leave a bad taste in consumers' mouths is site navigation. If the tools used to help lead users on their journey are lacking, inefficient or confusing, consumers will leave and never come back.
That’s why the top web design agencies employ a host of intuitive and creative navigation tools to help consumers journey throughout the site and find their desired content in no time.
Navigation tools like toolbars, drop-down menus, lists and more can all make the time spent on your website much more peaceful for your users, which is why these features are so imperative to consider throughout the design process.
According to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics (NHIS), 20 percent of people have trouble browsing the internet.
That’s nearly 25 percent of the population — and 25 percent of consumers who can’t properly interact with your website because there is something stopping or blocking their access.
That’s where special accessibility features come in.
Markers of a successful website are the subtle, specific features integrated to ensure that all people of all ages and disabilities can access your content. These features include things like captions on videos, alt tags in images that can be read aloud, keyboard navigation and assistive technology.
The best websites and the best web designers know to integrate these features to create a full-functioning design for all.
Loading times matter — because consumers can’t be bothered to wait.
39 percent of consumers will leave a website if images take too long to load. What’s worse?
These slow loading times cost retailers $2.6 billion in lost revenue each year on average.
A great website will load immediately, giving consumers direct access to the content they’re looking for with ease and efficiency. It has been perfectly optimized, tested and built to ensure that it provides users with a positive, engaging and interactive experience free of any loading time anxiety.
Intuitive Content Hierarchy
Another key indicator of an effective website is an organized and structured content hierarchy that provides users with the information they need in an intuitive manner.
To understand where to best place your content and understand how your audience is interacting with it, you have to do some research and look into analytics to understand consumer behaviors.
And the best agencies have these tools, providing you with actionable insights and strategies for getting your content right in from of the appropriate audience.
How Great Websites — And The Web Design Agencies That Create Them — Drive Business Growth
Increased Web Traffic
Successful websites drive traffic — from landing page to landing page and to the home page itself. And that’s because its intuitive design and effective functionalities show users that its a site that can be trusted and interacted with.
There are a number of ways web design agencies boost web traffic — they increase mobile friendliness, optimize for search engines, helping your content rank higher on Google, create informative content and lead users on an easy-to-follow journey.
All of this leads to your website climbing up the ranks and becoming one of the first pages your consumers not only think about when considering a given purchase but becoming one of the first search results on their trusted search engine.
Conversions And Sales
41.6 percent of people say that a company’s web design is a determining factor in whether that brand is credible or not.
If your website isn’t credible, people aren’t going to complete your desired action. But thanks to web design professionals, your website can go from boring to beautifully functioning in no time flat.
And that facelift is important to your overall brand existence — and it will encourage more visitors to go from leads to opportunities to ultimately conversions.
Good web design can help you boost your revenue and drive sales and that’s because it creates a platform that users feel good about doing business with.
The more consistent and cohesive your branding, the better off you and your website will be.
Consistent branding increases revenue by 23 percent.
And one of the key places to let your brand personality shine is on your website. Because this is essentially the visual marker of your brand. It’s what they tangibly interact with and what they see outside of storefronts — and you might not even have that.
Branding can propel your business forward — and by integrating branding best practices into your web design, as the best designers do, you’re ensuring that your business is on that path and putting its best foot forward as far as its clients and consumers are concerned.
Why Your Brand Should Invest In Strong UX Web Design
Web design and a strong user experience are imperative to your site — they determine if your brand will be successful.
If consumers aren’t happy with your site, they’ll leave. That’s evident from the statistics. And it takes a lot to create a functioning site that is equally beautiful and impactful.
But the best web design and development agencies have cracked the code to stellar web design and are in the business of creating user-focused content and platforms to help give your business a much-needed boost.
With this advice in hand, you’re one step closer to finding the right agency for you and building an award-winning website.
The ball’s in your court now — choose wisely.
This list of top web design and development agencies is a great place to search for your next professional partner!