Your product or business idea is like raw meat. You have to spice it up, cook it and dress it before it would look any palatable. And this is basically what your website design does - it either cooks your product for the consumer, or leaves it raw.
Our Art Director, Olga Shevchenko, an award-winning web designer and a member of the Awwwards jury, explains the difference between good and bad design, and how it influences your overall business performance.
“Design is like wrapping”, Olga says, “if you know the product is ok, but the package is disgusting, would you buy it anyway?”
We wouldn’t, either. When it comes to websites, design is the wrapping of your business idea. It is your showcase, the instrument with which you present your product to the world.
Drawbacks of saving on design
Today, most business owners understand the importance of being represented online. But what many fail to embrace is that saving on such representation is never a wise decision.
Your product is probably good. At least, you must believe so, or else why would you sell it? But your target audience will never share your enthusiasm.
“Save $10 on website design, and lose $100 on future sales revenue”, Olga suggests, “your customer attraction directly depends on design. Websites with bad design have poor conversion”.
Ok, so if saving is not a good idea, then how does one measure the beauty of the looks?
The good, the bad and the ugly - how to define if your design is bad
Much to our regret, there are no universal design criteria. Depending on your product, niche and competitive environment, some solutions can work well where others cannot, and vise versa.
“Design is good if it sends the right message”, Olga says.
Hard to disagree. Before formulating a sketch in their mind, a good designer researches the product and its market thoroughly with the client. Only such combined efforts can produce a solid, marketable solution.
While it may be challenging to define good design, markers of a bad one are clear and easily traceable. Your website design is certainly bad, if:
- It is sloppy. Cheap stock images, poor grid alignment, improper screen adaptation, plain text overload, etc. How can you showcase, if your counter is falling apart?
- It is too common. If your website looks like hundreds of others, your product or business idea will, too.
- It is too uncommon. If you sell colored pencils, and have an image of a rocket all through your landing page, most of your consumers will not get the connection.
- It is outdated. A bright solution for 2006 is sticks and stones in 2016. This does not mean you have to update and rebrand every few weeks, but stay in the trends or you’ll be quickly forgotten.
What bad design can do to your business
Ok, we get it. Bad visual design makes your venture look miserable online. But is it really that crucial for business as a whole?
Sadly, it is. “Good products with bad image never sell well”, Olga insists, “in fact, the opposite is more likely to be true”. Let us break down the possible negative impacts, caused by unfitting website design.
- The most obvious one - it will scare away your customers. “Bad wrapping is a serious purchase barrier”, Olga reminds.
- It will confuse your potential clients as well. Some people might have bought your product, but turned to an alternative because they did not understand your message.
- It will give leverage to your competitors. If you are using a similar color scheme to your competitor’s, the consumer will consider you a copy, rather than the original. On the contrary, if your color palette is too unusual for your product category, you will be greeted by a few nonconformists, but rejected by 95% of your target audience.
- It will leave a bad mark on your product or brand, and the one that will not be easily removed. Even if you decide to rebrand in the future, it would cost you a fortune compared to a wise initial design choice.
Make sure your design is good - hire a good web designer
The market is flooded with web designers and agencies that promise to make an online eye-candy out of your business. How do you discern if they can actually do it?
Olga Shevchenko shares the basic principles on choosing the right website producer:
- Look at their history of client satisfaction. Try visiting 2-3 websites from their portfolio. If you like what you see, and there are no warning signs from our little “bad design” checklist, they should be bold enough.
- See if they are evolving. A web agency, which remains on the same level for several years in a row, is not likely to grow any time soon. And why would your thriving business need service from the one that isn’t successful itself?
- Find out if they favor the user over the client. Of course, it will be your website, and you should have a final say on how it looks. But it will be designed for your customers, not yourself. Without proper user experience implementation, your site would just be a pretty picture, and nothing more.
- All of the above requires some investment, so it should definitely not be cheap. If someone assures you they can create a world-class website from scratch for $99.99 - it’s better to buy a Wordpress template than go with such “designers”.
Approach your website design decisions wisely, and remember that you can always rely on Vintage team of professionals for advice!