Critical Elements of Website Design: Part I

Online visitors can detect poor website design within seconds. If your website shows them all the wrong signals, they’ll click the back button before you know it.

Visitors need confirmation within moments that they are on a legitimate, appealing site that offers them a service they’d be interested in. If they don’t get these signals, then they could lose patience quickly as they browse. Many will close the tab or hit “back” before they even get to this point.

How can you tell then if your site creates a bad first impression? The following are some of the criteria we use to analyze a site and determine where improvements can be made. With this information in hand, we can revitalize a site to make those first few moments after a click as special and rewarding as they deserve to be.

Immediate Impressions Post-Click

When helping our clients redesign and improve their website, we try to distill exactly what our first impression might be if this was the first time we ever laid eyes on the page.

The first thing your audience sees should be a welcoming, comforting image. Hopefully, this image uses high-quality photography with warm, dynamic tones and a big resolution to really pop and deliver the “Wow!” factor.

Other elements that immediately fall into view should reinforce this experience. If they see text or a video or a logo near the top of the fold, it should all flow from the sentiment created by the hero image.

Page Speed

Page speed is another extremely vital factor for website owners to consider.

Many people who click to visit your site may abandon it before the first feature even loads. Data from Kissmetrics shows that pages taking longer than 4 seconds to load have a 25 percent abandonment rate. The majority of people expect to wait between 6 to 10 seconds maximum for a page to load.

Since slow page speed increases your bounce rate, it also hurts your rankings on services like Google search.

Branding and Relevance Signals

Once a visitor has gotten past the first few seconds on a page, they will be looking for signals that show they are in the right place. They want a clear descriptor of what your brand does and/or the main benefits it provides. Having immediate signals for what differentiates you from competitors also matters.


Website Design Colors and Aesthetics

Visitors will expect a well-coordinated color scheme that fits within your desired brand feel and aesthetic. Everything from your logo design to your color scheme to your above-the-fold layout should seamlessly fit together into a cohesive experience.

Balance is important. Excessive white space or clutter can mar the visual experience.

Similarly, fonts should be readable, with a distinct hierarchy of information revealed by the formatting and placement of each headline.

Only once visitors have seen all of the above elements will they be willing to dig further into your page and your services. The whole process typically takes less than a minute, but it can mean the difference between a lifetime customer and a momentary fling.

Ready to start giving your site a better first impression? Contact me for a comprehensive audit and revamp that can enhance brand prestige while turning a higher percentage of your audience into customers.