June 21, 2019
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When you run an online business, a solid web design is crucial. If users find it hard to navigate your site or access certain features, they’ll click away; if they can use your site without any problems, however, you stand a better chance of getting them to spend their money on your service or product.
That makes it important to understand how people are engaging with your site when they land on it, then you can make decisions as to whether to restructure your site or not. Note, however, that restructuring your site can improve it or make things worse — it could become more visible and/or generate more business or it could become less visible and/or cause revenue to decrease. It all depends on the features you change.
How much of an impact can it have?
A website should never feel too crowded. In general, web users have short attention spans. They’ll only spend 10 to 20 seconds on your page before they click and engage further on the site or just returning back to the search results. More and more research is finding that the more decisions the user has to make once they’re on your website, the less their decisions will swing in your favor, so don’t overwhelm them with links, buttons and banners. With every decision, they become less confident, and this erodes their trust in the website.
You should also think about the information you have on the site. If you’re not providing the right information and doing so in the right places, you could be missing opportunities. 47% of users look at a business products or services page before they view anything else on the website; 86% of visitors want to see information about them on the homepage itself; and 52% of visitors want to see “About Us” information. How you’re displaying your business’s contact details is important, too. Once visitors land on a homepage, 64% of them want to see the business’s contact details.
Beware of the impact that restructuring your website can have on your website traffic and search engine visibility. When removing a page from a website or transferring content to a new page, you should redirect it to the new page. If not, this can cause the user frustration when they click on the search result and land on a page that isn’t working properly. Some experts saw their traffic — i.e. the number of visits to a website — fall by 38% and their visibility drop by 18% after restructuring a site and launching the new version, simply because they didn’t implement all the correct SEO safeguards. The same experts have learned from this lesson and launched a second website. The website experienced a mere decrease of 4% in traffic and the visibility of the site remained as consistent as before.
Wink Bingo Redesign
One company that has made some big changes to their website is Wink Bingo. The online bingo operator has reviewed its website within the last year and made changes to attract new customers as well as retain current ones. The simple layout keeps the website uncluttered and stops the different sections all competing for the visitor’s attention. They’re all clearly indicated and there is no overuse of buttons which are only there if they serve an important function, such as allowing the visitor to sign up to use the services, log in or, of course, to play bingo.
The homepage also leaves visitors in no doubt about what services Wink Bingo are offering. The pop-art style of the graphics conveys the sense these services are fun to use. Bingo is as much a form of entertainment as it is one of gambling, and no one would want to play if the site was bland. The bright colors give the website some real pop, especially set against the white background, to make it more visually appealing.
The luxury fashion company Versace conducted a serious (and successful) review of their product page and changed the design to match users’ expectations. Previously, it looked like a press ad transferred to a website and had taken on a more catalogue-style approach and featured a certain style, with all the products grouped as images with prices under that style. The approach had the potential to alienate anyone who wasn’t interested in the style.
The new design brought much more clarity to the page and looked more like a product page. The different designs were spread across the page, allowing users to browse through more comfortably. The page is more straightforward — the design is very much led by images — and doesn’t force the visitor to think too hard or make too many decisions. They can just get on with choosing nice clothes for themselves.
The social media tool company Buffer took on a massive website redesign for its product Respond. The redesign made it much clearer what they were selling and who they were targeting — “Social media customer service software for support teams” — and followed this up with a sub-headline that expanded further on how the product could help the customer. Previously, all of this had been vague and spoke to no one.
Following the redesign, the general appearance of the site looked cleaner, too, and more professional. Despite maintaining simplicity, the use of a white background helped to make different elements stand out a little more as well. This works well when it comes to navigation because the key elements stand out easier — the designers have removed the buttons in the navigation menu at the top — and placed the section names in bold, which draws the eye to them.
Understanding what users want from your website, how they’re finding it on the internet and what they’re doing once they land on your website will help you to make changes for the better. Get it right and you could really work wonders for your business; make a mistake, and you could do your business more harm than good. Ask for help from a professional if don’t feel confident you can implement the changes correctly.
We are currently going through this restructuring process. There are so many factors to changing your site like navigation structure, W3C standards compliance, content and design all balanced in consideration of usability and SEO impact. It can be hard to know what works even with thorough testing. I guess that’s why we are always looking to optimise. Thanks for the article – it was really insightful.