How to Improve Your Customer Experience with Web Design

Proper web design is the basic building block of any successful company’s online presence. The design of online platforms doesn’t just directly impact traffic and sales, it is also important for brand building and overall user satisfaction. 

It is hard to overemphasize the importance of web design. It can make the difference between a smooth, reliable customer experience that allows people to shop online effortlessly and a janky customer experience that makes it impossible for them to find what they need, much less order it. 

Sadly, a common perception among business owners (and even web developers and technical managers to a lesser degree) is that good web design is ‘art’, and you either stumble on it through genius or you don’t. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

While it is true that a lot of crucial elements of web design do require creativity, a lot of it is also built on A/B testing, data, and science. That’s why you can follow some simple tips and general guidelines that will help you come up with a web design that provides an exceptional customer experience.

Maintaining Consistency During Web Design 

Although many articles and blogs will tell you to build a “modern”, “chic”, “minimalistic” website, that’s generally the wrong way to approach things. While these are generally great ideas, there’s something more fundamental a web designer should aim for consistency. 

While building a page, the crucial thing is maintaining harmony between the various elements of the website, taking into account the branding, marketing, customer demographics, and more. Here, to ‘maintain consistency,’ you should pay attention to two vital elements: 

  • Consistency in the design itself: if a website’s design isn’t consistent, it makes for a very jarring experience. Imagine if a website had a modern menu laid on top of a rather vintage-looking body of a web page. The experience will be off-putting. Only good web design, where elements flow naturally together, can provide an excellent experience to users. 
  • Consistency between the design and the other elements of your online presence: it isn’t enough for the web design to be internally consistent, it has to match and complement your business, branding, and the wholeness of online presence well. Imagine you’re a financial consultancy, but on your web page, you get what does a pay stub look like wrong. Regardless of how stylish and consistent your design looks, this will detract from the customer experience. 

Include Relevant Content and Establish a Consistent Brand Voice 

Besides the overall design of your website, there are two other major elements to focus on that contribute to the overall customer experience. 

The first one is the content of your website, which means all the information you provide to visitors on your platform. While some of it is essential (an about page, contact details, etc.) to the core experience of your website, there’s a lot of information that doesn’t matter and even actively distracts from the experience if included. 

There are several things to bear in mind when deciding whether content should be included on a particular page. The most important question that arises is: “Is this content relevant to my customer?” If it isn’t, don’t include it. 

The second element you need to focus on is establishing a consistent brand voice and tone of your brand through the web design and all other online platforms. This includes things like: 

  • the mockup design for your website,
  • the copy of the contents that you use on your website,
  • your social media presence and how you use it,
  • how you behave on social media platforms (and particularly how you respond to followers),
  • how you communicate with your customers in general,
  • how you communicate with employees, contractors, and other stakeholders in general.

All these elements need to be consistently aligned with each other in order to provide a consistent brand experience. 

Follow Established Conventions in Your Industry 

Humans are creatures of habit, and nowhere is this more evident than how we interact with websites. When we go on e-commerce websites, we expect to find a ‘basket’ logo or button in one of 2-3 key locations on the page, the search function on the top, and a buy button on each product page. 

Maybe there are more ‘efficient’ ways to design any of these features, but these have become ‘conventions’ that most users rely on to navigate the web. This isn’t just true for standard e-commerce either, but almost every industry with a sizable online presence out there. Mainstream news organizations follow specific conventions, video game websites follow others, so on and so forth. 

If you want your design to be truly customer-friendly, you need to be deeply familiar with the conventions used by other businesses in your niche. Be careful, though: this doesn’t mean you should replicate everything they do. No, there’s always room for innovation. But, it is really important to learn what your customer will expect

You can subvert that expectation and introduce new ways to implement a feature in your web design, but you need to make the transition seamless and painless for the users. You don’t want them to be confused for minutes straight trying to figure out how your website works because the design is too convoluted. 

Make Navigation as Accessible and as Simple as Possible 

When people visit a website from the SERP, they usually spend seconds there. Yes, the average Google user doesn’t spend enough time on a web page to read the content properly. They are impatient, and if they notice (one way or another) that your website doesn’t give them what they want, they’ll immediately press the back button and try another option from the list. 

To give your website visitors the best experience and convert more of them into customers, you need to focus on one primary thing: make navigation as simple and as accessible as possible. 

Navigation is a famous weak point of many websites, and this extends all the way to the Fortune 500. In most of them, you’ll see a lot of common issues:

  • Overly long menus with too many hyperlinks: having a menu to traverse a website is very conventional, and many websites jam too many hyperlinks into it. When a potential customer hovers over the menu and sees tens of options, it typically confuses and overwhelms them instead of making navigation easier. It is important to keep the menu design simple and uncluttered. Adding more items to the list doesn’t automatically make navigation easier. 
  • Uncomplete search function: a lot of websites don’t have a reliable search function. Typical implementations either don’t return the correct results, won’t allow you to properly filter your searches, don’t enable you to sort/filter the results, or, most likely, a combination of all three. Remember, if your website’s search function doesn’t work, your user will simply close it and use Google. 
  • Orphaned pages: orphaned pages refer to pages that users can’t possibly access through the website’s own navigation system. Websites that heavily rely on SERPs often have a lot of orphaned pages that are entirely disconnected from the website’s navigation system. This not only makes the customer experience worse, but it is also bad for SEO (search engine optimization). 

Don’t Neglect the Issue of Speed

When it comes to web design, speed is of the essence. One of the most important aspects of web design is ensuring that your website loads fast and works smoothly across all platforms (including mobile). Since the rise of smartphones and social media, people want things to load immediately. While some websites have embraced this idea and tried to make their pages load in under a second, not all of them are following that trend. 

Speed is an important factor in customer experience. In today’s world, people are looking for websites that load at a decent pace and don’t do things like freeze or crash. While you might have a lot of fancy features on your page, if people take a long time to load it, they’ll stop using it and go elsewhere. 

That’s why you should essentially aim for ‘quick’ web design. That doesn’t mean you should eliminate all the elements that could potentially slow down the loading speed of your pages. Instead, you should focus on optimizing as many elements of your website as possible, from images to CSS files, from code to analytics, but without sacrificing functionality and aesthetics.

Identify the Needs and Habits of Your Customers 

You can’t just get a website up and running and expect people to flood in. You need to go further and identify the needs of your customers, what their habits are, what they want from your products and services, how they prefer to reach out to you, and more. What is it that they need? What type of information are they expecting?

Here are some things you should do to identify the needs of your customers: 

  • Spend time analyzing who they are: if you don’t know who your customers are, it’s hard to create a great website experience. You should take the time to analyze your customer demographics and really nail down who your target audience is. 
  • Always revisit this analysis after a new campaign or promotion: sometimes, you find that your customer base has changed after conducting new marketing campaigns. You should always check how successful your efforts were by revisiting your customer analysis. 
  • Build personas based on the findings: once you’ve analyzed the data and reached conclusions about your customers, you should build ‘personas’ for them. These are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers and serve as an image guide when you’re designing your website. These personas can help you keep track of everything you know about your target customers, allowing you to create a more consistent user experience that will be tailored specifically to them. 
  • Look into their habits and patterns of use: if you want to build a website that provides an exceptional user experience, you need to pay attention to how users interact with it. The best way to do this is through user research. You can do in-depth surveys, interviews, or even check out how people use your products in person. What’s crucial here is that you get to see how they react when faced with various options and situations. This will allow you to build a website that’s more intuitive and user-friendly. 
  • Analyze their browsing patterns: a good web designer not only looks at the current browsing patterns of users but also tries to predict future trends. The best way to do this is by using heatmaps. These are visualizations of the way users interact with the page, allowing you to see where they click and where they don’t. It is also crucial to consider their browsing history to figure out what they look for on your website and how they got there. 
  • Find out what works and what doesn’t: you can take all the previous steps and still end up with a website that’s a complete mess. That’s why it is crucial to test different elements and solutions with real people. This is where A/B testing comes into play: it allows you to try various solutions and then measure which one works best. 

The Bottom Line

As with many things in life, especially business, good design is a crucial aspect of the success of any company in the contemporary marketplace. The right web design will drive traffic and sales, boost brand perception and help you better connect with your target audience. 

However, bad web design can have the opposite effect. It can drive traffic away from your website, make it very difficult for your customers to find what they are looking for, and give them a negative impression of your brand.

Irrespective of whether you are looking to improve the user experience of your website or build a brand new one from the ground up, you can always rely on an experienced web design agency to build and maintain your website.

If you want to deliver a great customer experience and improve your company’s online presence, you need to pay attention to the finer details of web design and optimize each element of the user interface to provide an excellent experience.