Web Design: It may not be what you think it is

There are a few misconceptions about web design that need to be cleared up once and for all. Web design is a lot more than the way your site looks, the contemporary styling of your product shots, and the psychology of the colors you choose.

Web design is about the total customer experience of your brand’s web presence. This means that page loading speed, acceleration of database queries, relevance to search terms, credit card processing speed, and a host of other variables you may have been outsourcing or figuring the IT department was handling for you are really part of your web design.
All of these details and more go into the experience your customer has when they visit your site, and help determine whether they will feel good about coming back.

Customer Experience
We know, for example that color can influence emotions and affect purchasing. Red indicates urgency. This is why it is often seen in association with clearance sales. Blue is calming and has a trusting vibe. This is why banks so often have blue as a predominant color in their logos.

So, recognizing that emotions and an important part of the user experience on your brand’s web site, it becomes important to eliminate all the factors that can produce negative emotional associations for your site’s visitors.
This is why page loading time can be as important as a pleasing visual experience. This is why efficient and secure credit card processing can be as important as having a sexy, dynamic action shot for your feature product. This is why making sure the keywords you associate with your page are really relevant to what your site’s visitors are actually searching for. This is why a page that isn’t optimized for mobile devices will be interpreted as, “This brand doesn’t care about users like me.”

All of these variables go into the customer’s aggregate emotional experience and any one of them can create a sufficiently negative experience to cause your users to just take their credit card somewhere else.

Word power
Speaking of word power, it’s not just keywords that have the power to influence emotions. Did you know that over 50% of consumers are more willing to enter a store if there is a “SALE” sign on the front of the store? Or, did you know that an even higher percentage of consumers, 60%, are more likely to buy a product that has the word “guaranteed” conspicuously associated with it? Both of these techniques are based on emotional associations that can be applied to web stores as well as brick-and-mortar stores.

The visual component
It’s definitely true that a lousy visual design and poor color combinations can negatively impact the customer’s experience, basically encouraging them leave. Aesthetics are powerful in this regard, and often produce their effects without consumers being aware of what they are really reacting to. This is why so much emphasis is placed on the visual experience. But overlooking other aspects of the customer experience that have the potential to produce equally negative experiences is doing a dramatic disservice to what otherwise might be a great visual design.

A more comprehensive approach to web design that is based on empathy for the totality of the customer’s experience on the website will inevitably lead to better overall experiences for your site’s visitors. This approach will leverage and enhance the value of a well-conceived and executed visual design rather than limiting or even negating the impact of a pleasing visual presentation.

From a design perspective, it is important to remember that the purpose of the website is to produce sales, so it is really the opinions, feelings, emotions and experiences of paying customer that matter most. It is paying customers who are most likely to be irritated by some of the web design variables that may not be traditionally associated with the word “design.”

Author’s Profile :

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

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