Hi world, this blog entry will be focusing on website design. Instead of going into the various aspects of design tips and rules to beautify your website, a beautiful website can only get you so far without easy navigation or clear text. I’d like to apply what I’ve learned in COM125. According to our Professor, Mr Abel Choy, there are a lot to learn from failed businesses. We can learn from their mistakes and avoid those proven website errors. Therefore, today I will highlight the website design mistakes to avoid so as to provide your e-commerce website with the perfect blend of practicality and aesthetics.
1) Say NO to light, low-contrast colours for your fonts. Unless you want your viewers to be squinting at their screens.
Because… what’s the point if you are unable to read the text with ease? In fact, there’s an entire virtual army fighting against the use of light grey text. Here is a screenshot to sum up the argument:
BAM, the research shows and your argument for using the light, grey text is invalid (unless there’s a really good reason like a marketing gimmick but that’s another story).
2) Do not be vague about what your website offers. If the viewers are unable to deduce your brand and products within about four to seven seconds of surfing your site, there’s a high possibility they might lose interest and simply click that little X on the tab. The Internet is a vast virtual world and the consumers are presented with a plethora of other options if they simply don’t like yours. It is very crucial to give the viewers what they expect and what they need.
3) Do not give your users too much information (especially on the home page). Yes, too little or too much information will both backfire. It is essential to find the right balance of content for your viewers. Understandably you want them to leave your website satisfied or having their doubts answered. However, information overload will just turn their minds off and in turn, they turn their browsers off.
“A confused mind never buys.” – professional public speaking coach and business trainer, John Childers.
In order to ascertain just the right amount of information, it is crucial to have test subjects browse through your website and give you feedback. Always check, check and check! You should always ensure that your users can obtain what they want with ease on your site. They should not be scratching their heads in both bewilderment and frustration whilst looking for something on your website.
4) Do not forget about the search bar. Unless you are only selling less than five items and they are all easily accessible via the links, there is no good reason why you shouldn’t have a search bar. Having a search bar is one of the minimum basics of a good website. It enables the users to cut to the chase and go straight to what they need. And guess what? The keywords used can be reviewed and used for your online marketing strategies such as your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics!
5) Avoid any confusing navigational links by having a proper sitemap. A well-planned sitemap is fundamental to the success of your website. The sitemap is presented like a flow chart and it shows how all the pages in your website are linked and how the users will be able to navigate from one page to the other. Here’s an example:
When planning and building your sitemap, you need to see the web pages from the eyes of a consumer. You need to know what your viewers want and how they can find what they want through the links. Furthermore, the sitemap enables you to ensure that you do not repeat any content or web page unnecessarily. Imagine visiting the website only to realise that you’re navigating a maze…
6) Complicated registration process and forms are the banes of the consumers’ lives. Your main goal is to transform your viewers to loyal customers and hence, the registration process should be as seamless and painless as possible. From my own experience, I tend to back out from completing the registration process if I feel that the information requested is unnecessary and the procedure is tedious. Call me a skeptic but like any other Internet user, I’d like to keep my personal contact details safe in the hands of only those I can trust. Hence, it is essential for the registration questions to only comprise of mandatory information.
7) No automatic background music or video.
Unless you are 13 years old and you’re manning your own personal blog and you want a Jay Chou playlist running in the background as you relive your own life vicariously through re-reading your blog entries (not a personal example I swear). Well… ’nuff said!
8) Invest a little more to go a long way, go mobile! It’s technology, it’s the Internet and it’s ever evolving! User pattern trends are easily available via market research tools and they can be utilised to upgrade your websites and even go mobile. The screenshot below is extracted from our COM125 lecture 4 slides:
Far too often I’ve visited websites on my phone and I just feel like pulling my hair out. It can get so frustrating when the web page is obviously not adapted into the mobile format and everything looks disproportionate. This is especially so for the registration pages where it’s simply impossible to key in your information. Thus, it is highly recommended for companies to cater to their mobile crowd (teenagers, young adults and working adults).