The internet is a busy place, with every square inch of digital space filled with millions of different websites and competitors to steal your users away from you. Having a site that is interesting, engaging and easy-to-use will ensure that your site is the glittering oasis in the desert of website clones.
Web design that engages users is better for everyone. Conversion rates go up, bounce and abandonment rates go down, and e-commerce sites sell more. But there’s more to creating an engaging site than chucking a flashing pop-up front and centre as soon as it loads. We like to think know there’s a lot more to it than that.
Less is Almost Always More
Getting the visual balance of your website is essential for making it engaging. Too cluttered and users won’t understand how to navigate it, it will become confusing and overwhelming and they’ll click off. Too sparse and they may not understand how to find the information they’re looking for. The answer, as always, lies in finding the perfect balance.
That being said, less is almost always more. Clutter-free, clean and clear websites not only look much better, but they’re also far easier to use as well – double bonus for increasing conversions. A minimalist-style design will help make it clear and obvious to your users where they can find what they’re looking for, and what they need to do next. That’s far more engaging than having to fight against a busy website trying to answer your query. However tempting it may be to put a signpost to every service you over on your home page, don’t do it. Set a hierarchy of importance and guide your users to the places they’re looking for. Once you’ve got them hooked you can start to go into deeper content and messaging.
Don’t be Afraid of a Call to Action
Calls to Action (CTAs) are how we get your users to convert on a website. Without them, it’d just be endless, pointless browsing. We’d all be very bored – and no one would be making any money. Given that they’re this important it’s amazing how many websites seem to be a little apprehensive about using them. Calls to Action are your money shots – make them clear and obvious (don’t make me go looking for them) and brush up on your power words.
CTAs don’t have to lead to one conversion path. Once someone has download a resource or completed a contact form, keep them coming. Follow up/Thank You pages are a great place to add CTAs and help make a single conversion turn into a killer enquiry. To make sure your Calls to Action themselves are top notch – read our previous blog.
Despite all our pretensions, humans are simple beings. We like things that look good and feel nice. The talents of a good designer for your website really could not be overvalued. The rise of the template DIY sites from Wordpress, and mediocre digital agencies mean that the vast majority of the internet now looks the same – how engaging is that? If you’ve spent some time looking at web design, you probably know the sort of sites we’re talking about. That site could be for any business in the world. Engaging visual design will ensure users don’t forget yours. Be memorable, not lazy!
Modern tools mean web developers can introduce more and more complex visual elements into web design without compromising on load times. Movement is engaging, so is change, so are bright colours. Combination of all three? Go for it. Just don’t forget that people have come on to your site for a reason. If they can’t do what they want because there’s a load of bubbles moving over the button they want they’ll leave and never come back. Visual elements are fantastic but don’t let them detract from the information or purpose of your page. We’re huge fans of micro-interaction and animation used in the right way and have a team of superstar specialists.
The Technical Bits
Okay, not actually that technical, but these aspects are the slightly less glamorous bits that will ensure your web design engages your users. Firstly, ensuring your website is fully optimised. Slow load times will kill a user’s enthusiasm. If you’ve got a high bounce rate, it may be worth checking your load times to see if you have a problem. Employing a web design agency that understands website optimisation is a must – or if you’re building yourself, make sure you check out our guide. If that scares you, think twice and talk to us.
Secondly, and hopefully this goes without saying but it never hurts to cover it off, engaging web design is always responsive. Want to know what a bad experience looks like? Imagine checking out a company on your laptop and being impressed by their site, only to load it up later on your phone and find it doesn’t work at all. With the advent of the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, if anything, the mobile experience should be better!
Good web design isn’t just about looking pretty. That certainly helps, but it isn’t the whole picture. The best web designers use a combination of visual elements and user-focused design to make a site that looks great and feels great.
Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd either. After all, when was the last time you had ‘fun’ on a copy and pasted DIY theme?