Designing your Website to Maximize Interest (Part One)

We all know that not many things are worse than a poorly designed website. If you’re like most small or start-up businesses, you’re probably going to be designing your own website. While this can allow your creativity to shine (and is great for your pocketbook!), it can also result in a mess that leaves potential customers confused. Designing a website is a tricky balance between expressing the identity of your company and creating a convenient, user-friendly space. A little too much in either direction can have users running to find a more accessible website, abandoning yours in the process.

F-Yourself

We’re not telling you to F*** off. We’re talking about the pattern our eyes use when looking over websites. Eye-tracking studies have shown that upon landing on a website page, users focus first on the top left corner, then move down the page, then jump back up and move to the right. If you were to draw that pattern out, it would resemble the shape of an F. Everything within the F will be focused on for a longer period of time, and most things outside of the F will be skimmed over without absorption.

Heat map showing where eyes linger, courtesy of Instapage.com

Heat map showing where eyes linger, courtesy of Instapage.com

Logically, this means that there are some prime locations on your landing page that need to be properly maximized. The most important spot is the upper left corner, as it’s the first thing upon which a person’s eyes will focus. This space should feature the company’s logo to immediately show that the person has come to the correct site.

The top section should prominently display a headline or any current deals you want to promote. Bolded subheadings help guide the eye down the page and convince the user to keep reading. Your information is valuable! Make sure to show it.



Less is More

It might seem like the best way to show your personality is to cover your page in bright colors and photos. But too much can be overwhelming (or worse, make the webpage load slower! Afterall, webpage abandonment skyrockets with each half second a page takes to load). Remember the F pattern? If you overload a website with too much text or too many images, your users won’t know where to look. When everything has emphasis, nothing does. See the example below: a significant portion of the text is bolded, and your eye freaks out when looking at the page. Do I look at the red numbers? Or the deals at the bottom? The pictures of bugs? Your eye darts around the page without absorbing any information.

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 11.56.37 AM.png

Not what you want your customers to experience.

Instead, think of companies renowned for their design. For the webpage below, notice the simplicity of the design; there is one thing on the page being promoted. Just one. This design is so signature that you immediately recognize the company without any extra identifiers. Wouldn’t it be incredible if customers could do the same with your company?

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 11.54.44 AM.png

Don’t be afraid of white space. When used correctly, it can convey style, simplicity, elegance. Even Google has an almost-all white landing page (and they seem to be doing just fine).



Be an Idea(l)ist

However you decide to design your site, make sure to gather ideas beforehand. Develop photo galleries of inspiration- well done websites or images that convey your company tone.

An emblematic expression that white space can be stylish

An emblematic expression that white space can be stylish

A different take on the portrayal of one item- in this case, a person. Notice the unified color scheme

A different take on the portrayal of one item- in this case, a person. Notice the unified color scheme

An example that a background can be exciting, but the site is still focused

An example that a background can be exciting, but the site is still focused

Just because you’re designing your own website does NOT mean a user has to be able to tell. In fact, it’s not hard to make your website look more expensive than it is; you just have to know the tricks of design that is both functional and visually appealing. Big name companies who spend thousands of dollars on their website follow very specific tricks to achieve their ‘look’ - don’t be scared to use similar tactics. By the time you add your own touches, your website will still stand out from the crowd and will be better optimized for user access. Meanwhile, you’re free to conduct your business with a flair that is uniquely you.

This blog is brought to you by Rethink Creative Group, a Creative Agency specializing in boosting client growth through digital marketing. Some of our services include: photography, social media, design, and digital advertising. Want to grow your business? Check out our podcast called Brand Junkies. Each week we interview highly successful business owners and executives to talk about how they're growing their brand.



David Valentine