Companies invest thousands of dollars when they want to redesign their website, hoping that a more attractive design will lead to more revenue. But does it really matter? Is simplicity more important than eloquent design? Where do you draw the line between simplicity and overkill? What really matters to users? While the ‘wow factor’ may leave a positive impression on investors, banks and even prospects, does it lead to more sales?
A minimalist site design like Wimp gets 4 million unique visitors a month and at its peak this past year reached 8 million uniques a month.
So is simplicity the key? Or does a crowded website with lots of information on each page work the best?
According to studies cited by usability.gov, having a credible looking website scored a 4 out of 5 on the relative importance scale. While it’s difficult to know for sure if good design means more revenue, we do know a few key design principles to keep in mind when designing a site.
In this post I’ll explore professional research that can potentially offer insights into what priorities a business should have on its web design. I’ll be addressing the common questions that many website owners have and attempt to offer tangible solutions.
What Can I Do To Improve My Websites Credibility?
Research shows that a credible website is key. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your websites credibility, as taken from usability.gov.
- Provide a useful set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers;
- Ensure the Web site is arranged in a logical way;
- Provide articles containing citations and references;
- Show author’s credentials;
- Ensure the site looks professionally designed;
- Provide an archive of past content (where appropriate);
- Ensure the site is as up-to-date as possible;
- Provide links to outside sources and materials; and
- Ensure the site is frequently linked to by other credible sites.
How Important Is An Uncluttered Website?
Having an uncluttered design is crucial if you want to make your website appear professional. Making it clean does appear to be an important characteristic for websites. Furthermore, it’s important to be consistent with where you keep your important items. Users who know where certain items are on your page(s) will be better able to use your website, thus improving web usability. Make use of navigation tabs and keep them in the same location on every page. Having a consistent website is key.
Here’s an example of a crowded site with too much to look at:
I counted the links above the fold and there are 49 links available to click on. If you include the drop down menu links, there are 135 links total; and this is just above the fold. Factor in all the different colors on the site as well and you can see why it’s poor design.
Here’s what good design looks like:
Their users are given the choice of 15 links to click on the entire page. They feature beautiful images of their product in action, have a call-to-action and a clearly defined goal that they want. They want users to fill out those three forms and sign up. Under the fold, links are faded out until you move your mouse around them.
Ask yourself: which site looks more credible? Which one are you more likely to give your credit card to? While this is an extreme example, it illustrates the point that an uncluttered, clean design is important.