Everyone came to your party, but no one stuck around for the drinks and dip. When we analyze business performance two key metrics are traffic volume and sales: if you’re driving traffic to your website, but failing to close sales, the problem could be your web design. Custom web design should always bear the end-user in mind. It should communicate your business in a way that connects with your customers and leads them smoothly through completing their transaction.
But there’s a problem…
Many business owners believe it’s enough to head to a popular website builder, choose the prettiest theme, upload their content and make a couple of tweaks here and there. If only it were that simple.
Here are some things to consider in order to make sure your customers take center stage in the custom web design process.
Tips for user-centered custom web design
- Consider the entire user journey
- Easy navigation
- Site orientation
- Keep it consistent
With half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, responsive web design is a given these days. But there’s a difference between responsive design and mobile-first design. If most of your customers access your website on mobile, your website doesn’t just need to be responsive, it needs to look its absolute best on smartphones. Can you read the content easily? Are the buttons big enough? Does the layout make sense in a mobile format?
Think about the journey your user will take from the moment they arrive on your landing page. What questions are they likely to need answering? How will they find exactly what they need? How do you lead them smoothly through to purchase with as little hassle as possible?
Remember that not every user will have the same needs. So break down your target audience into smaller buyer personas and think through each journey step-by-step.
Once you’ve mapped out several user journeys, strategically positioning buttons in the places that make sense. If they need to divert to, say, the FAQ section, make it easy for them to navigate back to where they were.
If you’re running an eCommerce site, make use of dropdown menus, filters, and categories to help users to find exactly what they’re after.
Sidenote: It’s limiting to just talk about the user journey in terms of web design. This is also the perfect time to consider how effectively use web content to guide the user through from being curious about your business, to gain enough trust and information to want to make a purchase. That’s why we see custom web design as just one of the tools at our disposal for maximizing the effectiveness of your website and wider virtual environment.
Ideally, your customers would all make predictable and linear journeys from your landing page to finalizing a sale. But we’re dealing with humans, not robots, and you can’t foresee and plan for every user journey. So you’ve got to make sure that if your customers get sidetracked on your site they can easily find their way back on the path to purchase.
A good, old-fashioned sitemap is an easy way for customers to figure out where they want to go next. You can also use buttons and dropdown menus to help your customers figure out where they are on your site. If your website has a decent number of pages, your might consider using a search bar.
Most themes on popular website builders like Wix and Squarespace, and on platforms like WordPress and Shopify have a consistent design. By that, we mean that each page has the same structure and that the screen elements look the same across the whole site.
If you customize your WordPress theme yourself or hire a developer, make sure you’re cognizant of maintaining consistency. That way, users feel grounded as they navigate from page to page, and won’t need to make a conscious effort to find things on your site.
The bottom line is that your website should be designed with your customers in mind at all times. If you’re struggling to convert traffic to sales, it’s time to reevaluate your website through the lens of your customers. Of course, there could be an entirely different reason why your business is failing to connect with your customers, and it’s most likely that more than one factor is at play.
At jdp we don’t make any presumptions or decisions about what you need until we’ve thoroughly analyzed and diagnosed your business. Get in contact and we’ll figure out how you can get the most mileage from your next investment.