Choosing to revamp your website is a decision that as a business owner you must take on when you have factored a few details into your decision making. We have outlined 5 things that are necessary to think about before you hire a website designer and developer –yes, they’re 2 separate professionals. Don’t confuse a website developer for a designer.
Have you ever gone to a website, and walked away feeling very confused and unsure about what they wanted to say, or what they wanted you to do? That’s a poor user experience at play. Navigation -is one of the many parameters underpinning a user experience for a website visitor. But this doesn’t have to be a complex process. The first step here is in deciding –what journey do you want the user to take when they come to your website. While it’s tempting to think of only sales, consider users who are familiar to those who haven’t heard of your brand. What industry do you operate in. Is it a cluttered industry such as skincare, beauty, or apparel that has almost established standards of UX? Or is it a newer industry where users can be guided? At the core of it all is first having a clear understanding of who your user is and what is important to them. For example, if they’re a senior citizen, you need a navigation that is extremely simple and does not confuse them. The risk with a poor navigation design is that people will leave your site and find an easier-to-navigate competitor. Design your site's navigation menu for quick and efficient use. This means it is easy to find, consistent across pages and uses obvious names and terms for pages.
You can further aid navigation by including calls to action and links throughout your site to guide visitors to relevant pages. A clear and intuitive navigation system is essential for creating a positive user experience and keeping visitors engaged. Some basic expectations that users now tend to have of a website:
- Simple menu structure that works on mobile
- Prioritize important pages such as the home page, sales, or best-sellers depending on your business
- Clear and descriptive labels for categories
- A search bar for users to search for specific items or keywords.
Users come to websites based on their intent –this could be seeking more information if they have come through search queries which are around a topic, or to browse/buy items. In either scenario, helping a consumer get the information they need is a thumb rule of website management. Content is the second most crucial element in a revamp after design. Content refers to the text, images, videos, and other media that are used to inform, educate, and engage visitors. It can help improve your discoverability, build your brand reputation, keep customers informed and engaged, and direct them to take your desired actions. Your content should follow some of these parameters for the most optimal site experience.
- Know who your target audience is and use language that speaks to them
- Use language that your target audience understands based on the geo you’re serving or at least have translation enabled if you’re working across regions
- Developing a content strategy that allows for information, navigation, and commercial intents [if your website allows transactions]
- Keep your content as updated as possible –whether it has to do with pricing, information relevance, offers, or anything else.
- Make the content parseable to search engines. Avoid a mistake that companies make –converting your text into images
3. Target audience
At the core of any business, with a digital identity, is a clear understanding of whom you’re talking to, i.e. who’s your customer. Without this understanding, designing a website becomes a bit like trying to cook something without knowing what you’re trying to cook. At the heart of this is knowing what motivates them, what turns them off, and what makes them convert to create a website that meets their needs and expectations. Knowing your target audience also has implications for your user interface and user experience. Some of the aspects to consider once you learn about your customer
- Demographics– what age are they as colors, buttons, and expectations of functionality vary with each group
- What interests them, and what language and tonality resonates with them?
- Ensuring your website remains accessible to people with all types of disabilities is table stakes.
- Does your site need to be voice-enabled if you’re asking to create something for senior citizens or do you have explanatory videos to ensure that people can follow along if it’s an educational website?
- Based on the type of website and audience, many of these decisions will affect the design you finally use
4. Mobile friendly
A mobile-friendly website is a given for most businesses around the world. But, is it designed based on the internet speeds of your users? For example, if you’re targeting rural parts of India, wifi isn’t found easily. On the other hand, most people expect sites to load within 3ms and anything more leads to up to 95% bounce rate. With over 95% of traffic coming from mobile devices, your design choices play a huge role in the speed, and page load style. While it’s tempting to adapt any design found on free website development sites, it’s not an ad hoc decision you can risk making. Especially if you have a transactional website, this can severely affect conversions. Google even rewards sites for being mobile-friendly with SEO points. Check for your own site’s tech responsiveness using the following checklist:
- User interface loads quickly
- The site is responsive immediately
- It works across multiple devices and screen sizes
5. Design choices
All of the four points above sit under the umbrella of design choices. Often we find that people choose free website templates only to discover that they’re stuck with unresponsive pages, broken links, poor user experience, and worse non-performing ads –all because they designed to buy the wrong design template. When thinking of a design revamp, look around and explore websites you find exciting. Make a list of them and list down the features you think you like. Then, spend some time thinking about what you’d want for your site –think of it as designing an experience for your customers. This should only be undertaken once you have a clearly defined list of primary and secondary stakeholders. Once you have identified this, speak to a designer to bring this vision to life. Finally, a developer can get you the speed you need to convert even the most complex designs into simple, fast-loading websites. Investing in this stage will likely save you from lost customer opportunities in the future.