Websites are online storefronts to showcase your products and services. When choosing a website design, you want it to satisfy customers and represent your business.
Your brand values will serve as a starting point when building your site. You’ll also need to consider the visitor’s experience. Every design feature should achieve a component of your overall website goal.
With more ownership over your design, you can illustrate your business in a unique way. Here are 5 fundamentals to analyze when choosing a website design for your eCommerce site.
1. Design for Emotion
Every single day, humans experience multiple emotions. External factors can influence customers, sparking feelings of happiness, sadness, or anger. When they visit your site, it’s your chance to direct them to a positive emotion.
Effective emotional design will ignite a sense of pleasure and security for your visitors. It draws you in like a child in a candy store. Alan Smith, a contributing writer at Usability Geek, adds more context:
“Understand the emotional purpose and utility of every design choice you make, or a bad choice may come back to haunt you. Choose fonts that feel like your corporate image, not ones that conflict with it. When pulling the website together, verify that all the individual pieces fit with each other as well as your message.”
TOMS illustrates emotion in its website with a header design focused on a community initiative. The brand wants to bring people together to end gun violence and uses the peace sign as a cohesive gesture.
Website design centers around sparking interest in potential consumers. By appealing to their emotions, you give them an opportunity to experience your brand’s personality.
2. Design for Storytelling
One Spot reports that “messages delivered as stories can be up to 22X more memorable than just facts.” This research is a compelling opportunity for your brand to focus on storytelling.
When designing for storytelling, the aim is to capture your audience’s attention and persuade them to view more pages with the promise of value. Enticing visitors along the way means they spend more time on your site than your competitors.
Think of your homepage as the appetizer where potential customers can immediately see your brand values. The main course is the additional pages of your site, like the blog or product pages.
Beardbrand highlights its Instagram feed as a storytelling feature. Each image offers an inside peek at the brand lifestyle and what customers should expect.
It’s not necessary to tell a grandiose story on every inch of your site. Storytelling can take shape in your choice of fonts, icons, and buttons. Word choice matters, too. For instance, will you use the word “shopping bag” or “shopping cart”?
Be bold. Use your website design to bring your brand story to life.
3. Design for Navigation
Navigation helps visitors explore your online brand. When done right, it will lead your audience to what counts most to the customer.
So, how important is navigation design? David Hoos, head of marketing at The Good, offers his perspective:
“Website navigation can make or break your visitors’ experience. After all, navigating a site without a logical, well-defined structure is like being dropped in the middle of a complex maze with no map and no frame of reference. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, and all-around unpleasant — not exactly the effect you’re hoping for.”
Heatmap and usability recording tools are helpful with understanding visitors’ behaviors on your site. Then, you can use that insight to improve how you organize your content.
KitchenAid takes navigation to a whole new level. Rather than use just text, the company adds images to direct visitors to their desired paths. It’s very convenient for a busy online shopper.
Navigation plays a critical role in your website design. Represent your business well with an easy-to-use menu and well-organized layout. Your customers will love you for it.
4. Design for Accessibility
Accessibility gets overlooked in website design. Brands desire to attract as many people to their site, but they often forget the different needs of their consumers.
In a broad sense, accessibility is all about designing your products, services, and brand experiences to cater to everyone, including different abilities. For example, if you had a physical store, you would build a ramp for individuals who use wheelchairs.
The same principle holds true for online shoppers. You can add alt text to all your images; that way, screen readers can speak the text to visually impaired individuals.
To accommodate people with color blindness, you can use symbols along with colors to convey a message. You might add an exclamation point to signify importance.
Nike understands the significance of accessibility. You can navigate its website using your keyboard. With the tab key, a consumer can move through the different sections within a webpage.
Accessibility is more than another add-on to your website. It’s your gateway to catering to all consumers and introducing them to your brand.
5. Design for Shopping
Shopping should be an enjoyable experience. You want consumers to feel comfortable browsing the latest products and adding items to their carts.
The brand-consumer relationship relies on trust. People want to patronize credible businesses. No one likes returning defective products or writing a negative Yelp review.
With design, you can exude trustworthiness with testimonials from real customers, an honest pricing page (no hidden fees), and any recent brand achievements. These elements add to your brand’s integrity. Susan Ward, a small business expert and writer, agrees:
“Successful e-commerce websites also provide information about customer service and contact information that is clear and accessible. Having to drill down through 50 pages to find an email address printed in a tiny font on the bottom of a page will give your potential customer queasy feelings, not good feelings.”
Move your brand forward with a design that emits trust. Your mission is to give customers a reason to come back to your site.
Represent Your Business
Your website design is a reflection of your business. Take the time to decide how you want customers to perceive your online presence. To manage your website more efficiently, check out HostGator’s web design services.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.