For those of us who aren’t website designers, “bad” or “good” website design may seem like a subjective label. If a website is pleasing to look at, that must mean it’s well-designed. In reality, a beautiful website can still suffer from bad design. It’s crucial that your website doesn’t fall into this trap.
You can implement good web design for your business by following general design best practices and focusing on your user experience.
Why Website Design Matters
Adhering to good design principles affects your business bottom line. The design of your website affects whether potential customers choose to remain on your site or leave.
- Design influences first impressions. Years ago, Google confirmed that your website visitors develop a gut feeling about your website in less than a second. This brief window of time is where your design simplicity and consistency make an impression.
- Design and loading speed work together. Poor design often leads to slower load speeds for your website. As page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the bounce rate increases by 123%. Bad website design drives away potential customers.
- Design impacts your business credibility. According to studies, design quality is one of four long-standing credibility factors that influence trustworthiness. In order to convert your website visitors to customers, you’ll need to convince them that your business is credible.
Good website design is not subjective. There are a number of objective website design principles. Each of them influences your customers’ opinions of your website. These principles are data-driven components of user experience.
User Interface vs User Experience
Implementing good web design for your business is easier when you have an understanding of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). A pretty website has good UI, but it can still have terrible UX. This would make it a bad website.
- User Interface (UI): How aesthetically pleasing things look on your site
- User Experience (UX): How intuitive things work on your site
Good website design utilizes strong UX and is supported by positive UI. You can achieve strong UX on your website by reducing “friction.” This refers to anything that gets in the way of your visitors achieving their goals. To do this, you should consider the entire journey potential customers might take on your website. Then, eliminate unnecessary steps, reduce distractions, and provide clear directions and action items.
For example, an insurance agent might offer a free quote tool on their site. However, the quote tool is not visible in navigation. It can only be accessed by clicking a button on a specific page. To reduce friction, the agent should include a button to the quote tool in the navigation bar. This allows the potential client to click at any time they are ready for a quote.
A Few Principles of Good Website Design
A well-designed website is easy for your potential customers to navigate. They can find the answers they are looking for and complete your desired action — like requesting a free quote. There are a number of website design best practices that help you achieve these goals.
- User-Centric: The key to good website design is that it appeals to your audience and naturally facilitates their interactions with your business. For example, your website should be accessible to all your users.
- Simple: Unnecessary and distracting design elements interfere with user experience. Clear and simple design will facilitate your customer actions.
- Easy Navigation: Effective web design minimizes friction between actions. Your website visitors should naturally move from point A to point B on your site. You make this possible by using simple primary navigation near the top of the page and utilizing descriptive link text.
- Visual Hierarchy: Just as you start with the most important content at the top of the page, you should feature the most important visual elements at the top. For example, you give a headline visual hierarchy on a page by utilizing size, position, or color.
- Consistent: All of your web pages should have consistent layouts, navigation, colors, typography, etc. Also, certain elements of your website need to be consistent with popular design conventions. For example, your logo should be in the top left of the screen, and it should link to the home page.
- Responsive: Your website should be compatible with all the different devices people are using. More than half of all your web traffic comes from a mobile device. When you use responsive website design, all your visitors have a positive experience and interact with your site as intended.
Examples of Bad Website Design
When a website fails at any of the design principles above, it is not user-centric. Confusing, cluttered, and inaccessible websites provide a poor user experience and they ultimately cost you business. There are a number of red flags when it comes to web design.
Some examples of bad website design that we’ve seen the most include:
- Too many options in the navigation bar
- Hidden website navigation
- Low quality or poorly sized images
- Cluttered pages and lack of white space/negative space
- Distracting elements like slideshows, animations, etc.
- Non-responsive design or a design that’s difficult to use on mobile
- Too many typefaces, too many colors, or inconsistent use of both
- Too similar color palette or lack of contrast
- Unclear links, buttons, or other calls to action
Analytics and Web Design
If you think your website falls short on any of the design principles we’ve covered so far, there are tools to help you know for sure. Analytics like average visit time and bounce rate can offer insight into the user experience on your website.
A high bounce rate could indicate a slow loading speed. It also could mean the visitor encountered confusing or distracting information on the page. If they can’t figure out what to do next, they’ll leave. And if they can’t immediately see the value of your page, they’ll go to your competitor.
Tools like Crazy Egg or Google Analytics can measure user behavior on your website. These tools reveal exactly how people are using your site, where they are clicking, and where they spend most of their time. Insights like this can help you see if visitors are using your site as intended.
Improve Your Website Design
At the end of the day, your website needs a balance of positive user experience and visual appeal. It should be consistent, trustworthy, and easy to use. Above all, it should facilitate your business goals by bringing in new leads, promoting your brand, and improving your visibility in search results.
Our Best Websites designs help you achieve all of the above. Our design team builds your site with your industry and unique audience in mind. For a preview of a good website design for your business, schedule a call with one of our team.