Here's a digest of a few simple (but non-obvious) thoughts re web design, with some more reading for those interested.
Utility vs Beauty
Just a thought – would you rather have a website that is beautiful, or a website that makes you money?
Interestingly, research has shown that simpler websites are often more effective at generating income – particularly when menus and links are in places that users would expect. Simple to use means easier for them to buy (or whatever you want them to do).
In web terminology, the process of "buying" from a website is called "conversion" and a website's effectiveness in selling product is called "conversion effectiveness".
Despite the fact that Flash is pretty but just doesn't work well in many areas (Google often can't index it, and it doesn't work on iPads/iPhones/mobile devices), we still see it being used for many sites. While one can understand this for movie sites (where "look" is vital), it's harder to understand why it is used on small business sites surprisingly often.
This is not at all to suggest that a website needs to be ugly – not at all. However there's a fine line to walk, and it's surprising how some simple additions can improve the look of a website withuot damaging it's ease-of-use.
Small business web design trends
Mashable.com, a popular internet news and blog aggregator, recently published a useful and enlightening note on some small business web design trends. In a very brief summary the article makes the following points:
- Minimalism – keep websites simple and uncluttered
- Photography – custom and imaginative photography/imagery works better than stock images
- Big Bold Typography – used to grab a user's attention
- Clear Calls to Action – what do you want the user to do, by when
- A/B split testing – testing multiple versions of your website can yield huge improvement on conversion effectiveness
Click here to read the whole article at mashable.com While none of these come as complete surprises, we thought the overview might be helpful to you when considering what your website should look like – simplicity can work!