In my many years of developing websites for clients, one overriding theme has remained consistent in my design philosophy – simplicity.
A typical client will often approach me with a myriad ideas and prospective design choices to make. My job has always started with stripping away everything to the bare essentials and deliver a solution which would convert website visitors to customers.
For example more recently I was approached by florists in San Francisco to help develop their site. At first glance, this project could have called on a very complex design, with all the flower-related color palette I could think of and all the customizations possible for customers. I took a different approach and you can see the results of this “simplicity” philosophy on their
The Struggle Ensues
For any online business to succeed, it needs to be able to have visitors come to the site and easily figure out how to order, where the products are and, more importantly, what type of service the website is offering. While it sounds easy enough, this is certainly not the case when you are given different color options, different navigation choices and a convoluted shopping cart process.
Instead of creating a website filled with distractions and all of the colors of the rainbow, it’s essential to select a basic color scheme and stick to it throughout. This will add brand recognition as well as uniformity to your website. In my opinion, YFC Magazine has an excellent article on choosing a color scheme for your website that is consistent with your brand.
Simplicity means that potential customers will be able to focus in on your product much faster. Instead of a fancy background, I usually opt for a monochrome color that helps the words and images on a page shine. This normally means choosing between a plain white or black background with various shades of gray also a possibility. This may have seem like the boring choice, but it lets the one thing customers want to see truly shine through – the products. This allows you to make the focal point instantly be the flowers that the business is selling.
This “uncluttered” approach is carried through on the homepage of a client’s site which should have no distractions like a blog, which many businesses are so enamored with. While most client sites still maintains one, it is not what visitors are first presented with when they come to any site that I’ve created.
Tweaking for Conversions
Every website is merely a work in progress. As trends shift and visitors want something new in terms of layout design, tweaks will need to be made. This leads to a plethora of tweaks that are implemented from the ground up that ensure visitor retention and conversion to sales. A few techniques included:
- Ensuring the design adheres to responsive web design techniques. This allows a site to look perfect on cell phones, tablets or personal computers.
- Speed concerns often lower conversion rates. Caching and using a CDN will often lower a site’s loading time and increase sales.
- Choose a few colors consistent with the brand to ensure visitors are enticed to go to the shop page, while allowing them to search a bit more to visit the blog.
- Use large images and buttons. These are much more “clickable” than using smaller buttons and images resulting in a less cluttered and confusing look.
Simplicity ensures that the website layout will be perfect for years to come without major changes needing to be made. Visitors are always able to find what they are looking for fast, and the site’s speed is exceptional while remaining aesthetically please. With high conversion rates, the clients are always happy with the outcome.
Images: ”Yellow road warning sign , Keep it simple / Shutterstock.com“
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