Time For A Redesign? The Importance of Updating Your Website
Posted by: Lizzie Healy
First Impressions: Make or Break
A website has between 2-4 seconds to engage with a new visitor before they navigate away from the page. 2-4 seconds for a user to determine: Is this site professional? Does it have useful information? Does it meet my needs? While the benefits of a well designed website are clear, (making your business accessible to anyone, reflecting your organization's brand, and serving as the best and most effective advertising), operating with a website that hasn't been updated recently could be driving away users and potential customers. Changes to the web occur at such a rapid rate that even a website that was created a few years back could be in need of some serious updates. If a user doesn't feel your website is interactive, functional, and informative, they won't hesitate to hop over to your competitor's page. So how can you design a website that meets the users needs and prevents those defectors?
What is "Good Design"?
There's an episode of Modern Family where Cam reorganizes his mother in law Gloria's kitchen "so it makes sense." While in the midst of cooking, Gloria asks Cam where the cutting board is, to which Cam responds, "where would you want it to be." This is the simplest description of an effective UI/UX design. Elements unfold in a simple, intuitive manner with one step leading the way naturally to the next in order to get to the desired end result. In the case of Modern Family, the cutting board goes to the left of the knives. In the case of UI/UX design, it means that a BUY NOW button shouldn't smack a user in the face if the price of the product is buried at the bottom of the page. Designs aren't about good screens, they're about good experiences for users. Modern interface focuses on the needs of the user, with trends being dictated from necessity.
UX design, or user experience design, considers how the product feels and whether there is a logical flow from step to step. When you first open the page, do you know what to do next? A good user experience requires logical steps within the application, like simple input methods, navigations, and menus. UI design, or user interface design, primarily focuses on how the product is laid out. A good UI includes things like designs that are consistent throughout the application. These components have to work together to provide an instinctive path for users to find the info they're seeking when navigating through your website.
How Do I look?
A website is often the customers first impression of your business, so it makes sense that this is where your business should look it's best. While users won't typically acknowledge a well designed website, they will always recognize a poorly designed website. In 2015, users spent an average of 2.8 hours a day on their phones. Even if your company has the most stunning website design for desktop, if your site is not optimized for mobile, you could be bleeding users. Your site needs to be optimized for a variety of different screen sizes, so that this smooth user experience can function just as logically on both mobile and web. Think of clutter on your website as the enemy of logical design. When you are designing your website to fit in the palm of your hand, having unnecessary text and useless elements is a big no no. While what constitutes good design is often up to interpretation, a few telltale signs can indicate that your website is in need of a makeover. Your website may be out of date if: It includes glossy or multicolored buttons, if white text dominates a black screen, or if an aggressive musical feature pops up as soon as a user navigate to the site (yikes). Beyond the aesthetic aspects, a few hints can indicate that your users think your website is out of date, like a high bounce rate. A bounce rate looks at the percentage of peeps who pop onto your website and just as quickly pop off, without navigating to a second page or clicking on anything. No clicks indicate that they couldn't find the information they were looking for. This could possibly be because they clicked onto your website by accident, but more likely indicates that your websites functionality is clunky, poorly structured, or filled with unnecessary features. We can glean from this click rate that the way your website communicates information is not clear and effective. Some simple changes can be made to update your website, such as including copy that is simple, on target, and effective. Some other changes require a more comprehensive update, such as making sure your website interacts with mapping and location technologies (especially important for brick and mortar businesses).
Do I really need to spend the money?
On the fence about updating your website? The cost can sometimes seem daunting, but the cost of not updating could even more detrimental to your business. When considering whether to pull the trigger on a new site design, we put together a little checklist for analysis. If you answered NO to 5 or more questions, seek immediate technical attention!