Design with the goal of increasing conversions rather than just being beautiful is called conversion design or conversion-centred design.
The way a website looks is a very important part of the overall experience. People react emotionally to design and if your website doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, you’re going to struggle to change behaviour.
This doesn’t mean you have to use a particular design style to be successful, and any articles you read that say “design trends that always convert” should be ignored since nothing always converts. When we talk about design that’s aesthetically pleasing we usually mean:
- Clear visual hierarchy
- Contemporary colour palette
- Considered typefaces which are clear and easy to read
- Interesting authentic-looking imagery which isn’t terrible stock photography
- Neat and tidy layout with adherence to a grid
- Not overly busy with good use of white space
- Well-proportioned elements
- Simple, clean design which is easy to digest
But even with all of these elements, websites can still look dreadful and struggle to persuade users to take the desired action.
Conversely, two of the biggest ecommerce websites on the planet (Amazon and eBay) don’t follow all of these guidelines – and let’s not think for a moment either of them have a conversion problem.
The fact that there isn’t a list of rules we can adhere to and be guaranteed a high performing website is indicative of the fact that design is not one thing. The components that comprise a website and the context in which the user is experiencing the website all impact the way it’s perceived.
That means the user journey and navigation, the copy and calls to action, the experience, the photography and/or illustration combined with the way it looks all impact the way the user feels about a website.
The only way to determine if you need to consider a radical redesign is to undertake user research with extensive user testing.
The risk of radical redesign
If you’re already doing significant business through your website, radically changing the way the website looks and works is risky. If you push the new website live and conversions go down, you won’t know why because you changed everything at once.
We have had a number of businesses approach us after this exact thing has happened to them and we’ve helped them work their way back up to their previous levels of revenue. But it’s not a quick process and the money they lost in the time it took to return the site to previous levels is gone forever.
To reduce the risk of radical redesign, its best to A/B test changes where possible and only consider a full redesign when your website has reached local maximum.
Our conversion design process
Because of the risk of radical redesign, we start with a full analysis of the website so we can see what’s working and what needs to change. We then embark on the redesign using all the latest usability, conversion and persuasion know-how.
We create a prototype which is user tested and we make changes to the prototype based on the feedback and then retest until we’re happy we’ve ironed out any issues.
We then pass the design source files to your development team so they can build it for you. Once they have completed the QA process, we support you with sign-off so that we get a final chance to tweak anything that’s not quite working as we’d anticipated.
Once the new design is live, we recommend an ongoing A/B testing and user feedback programme to continually improve.