The Dos and Donâts of Web Design for Commercial Websites
The goal of this article is to familiarize mostly business owners with the basic tenets of web design for commercial websites, i.e. the websites that will directly be making money through sales and other actions that the users can make when visiting.
It will also, hopefully, be interesting to web designers who have never worked on such designs and who would like to hear from someone from the “other side”, someone who is from the world of business and who has seen tons of commercial websites that were successful, but also plenty of those that were not.
Tenet #1 â Go Easy With the Looks
Commercial websites should never be primarily about the looks, the aesthetical appeal. Their purpose is to give the visitors a clear path to making a sale and a design that is too busy will only act as hindrance. In most cases, a simple color scheme with two or three colors tops will be the best choice. It is also very important that the website is in tune with the existing colors of the brand, the logo and existing traditional advertisements. In addition to this, the fonts that are used should be reasonable and in tune with the products and services that are being offered on the website.
Tenet #2 â Keep It Simple and Intuitive
Once again, the purpose of the commercial websites will govern the design of the user interface and the entire website in terms of the end-user. Overcomplicated menus and features that may seem logical to the designer may be too complex for the average user and someone who has just logged on to purchase a product. The newest and overly innovative user interface solutions will only antagonize the average user who is always a few months (years) behind and who does not wish to waste time.
Tenet #3 â Make it Superfast
One of the main reasons why people buy stuff online is that it is a quicker solution than driving to the store and purchasing something in person. People who are buying online are not exactly famous for their patience when it comes to loading times and there is a consensus that everything over 5-7 seconds for the main page to load will result in people logging off and taking their business elsewhere. Google even factors in the loading times when they rank websites. It is therefore essential that the web design enables quick loading times and easy use by doing away with all element that are unnecessary, resizing all images before uploading and doing all of the other things that can speed up a website.
Tenet #4 â Be Mobile-Friendly
Every year new numbers come out as part of studies on the use of mobile devices in accessing the web and buying stuff. And the numbers do not lie â more and more people access commercial websites from mobile devices and the trend is such that in the future their number will only grow. This means that a commercial website MUST be mobile friendly. This does not mean that it should only be accessible from mobile devices. It needs to be fully functional and the mobile user should have the same options and experience as the more traditional user.
AUTHOR: James D. Burbank has spent years in traditional and online marketing and he has seen businesses succeed and fail all over the world. He wrote this article with a bit of help from his friends at Infinity Technologies, a web design firm from Sydney. Follow James on Twitter – @JBurbank2019