It is generally accepted that a business website needs to make a good first impression. With a good first impression, a reliable foundation is set into place; from there, the site can effectively sell the company’s product or service and thus generate revenue for the business.
For the most part, the main focus of achieving the all-important good first impression with a website is on impressing or amazing customers with a great design. While there is undeniable value to this, the idea does somewhat overlook the customer’s perspective. A customer isn’t visiting a business website to be impressed, or to coo over state-of-the-art website design, great graphics, and on-trend elements; they’re visiting the website to obtain information and, in the case of ecommerce stores, potentially make a purchase.
When viewed through this lens, what constitutes a good first impression on a business website changes somewhat. Ultimately, what a business website needs to do is be unobtrusive.
The customer’s eye view
Through the customer’s eyes, the main thing they want from a business website is for the website to work. If the site loads quickly and appears to have a relatively modern design, that’s pretty much all they need. Bells and whistles – such as videos, social media feeds, and beautiful graphics – are nice, but without the core functions working well, they are just bells and whistles; what customers need is a website that is functional.
Essentially, this means that the primary focus of a business website’s design is simply not to be noticed. In most cases, if a customer is actively noticing a design, it’s because they are experiencing problems with it – it’s loading too slowly, or it’s unintuitive to use. Sure, some savvy customers may notice a design for positive reasons, but the vast majority won’t. For most people, if the website works, they won’t really remember the design, because they are focusing on the reason they visited the site in the first place.
What this means for you
First, it’s important to note that design does still matter – in particular, it’s important to work with a web design agency that is capable of building a unique, customised site that aligns perfectly with your brand. A focus on the customer perspective does not mean that you should abandon attractive design completely, just that it is not the only priority.
When your site is established, ask your friends and family to perform a specific task on your site (submitting the contact form, making a purchase) and then to feed back on how simple they found the process. If they had any problems, work with your web design team to overcome these obstacles. If all goes well, you can be confident that you have achieved the holy grail of business web design: a site that looks the part and delivers an optimal experience to all customers.
A great design is important to any business website, but good design alone is unlikely to deliver the results a business needs. Instead, place functionality at the core of your business website in order to ensure your customers are always able to achieve their primary goal every time they visit.