Design Sprint 2 of 4: 10 Tips for Great Web Design | MP 79

On this marketing podcast, Sam Carvalho talks about 10 tips for great web design.

Which is better for your website, scrolling or clicking? Why should you use photos of people but steer away from stock images? How can you take advantage of Hick’s Law for your website efficiency?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about how to set up a webpage that is user-friendly, accessible, and attractive.

Podcast Sponsor: Brighter Vision

An image of Brighter Vision Web Solutions is featured as the sponsor on The Practice of the Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Brighter Vision builds all in one websites for therapists.

How would you like to fall into cash this month? Every year, my friends over at Brighter Vision kick off the fall season with a month-long digital conference event they call ‘Fall Into Cash’.

For the entire month of September, they’ll be teaming up with the top brands, consultants, and coaches in the mental health industry to provide you with the best advice, tools, content, podcasts, and giveaways; all centered around one main theme – helping you grow your practice and make more money.

Plus, in celebration of the 5th anniversary of ‘Fall Into Cash’, they’re also offering a very special discount exclusively for Practice of the Practice listeners. From now until the end of the month, they’re offering new websites for only $49/month for your whole first year plus no setup fees – that’s a savings of over $200!

For more information and to take advantage of this great offer, head on over to brightervision.com/joe.

In This Podcast

  1. Make site speed an absolute priority
  2. Leverage the fold
  3. Take advantage of Hick’s law
  4. Keep it simple
  5. Avoid carousels, sliders, tabs, and accordions
  6. Prioritize scrolling over clicking
  7. Direct attention with visual cues
  8. Use people in pictures (but avoid stock photos)
  9. Use the right list order
  10. Leverage social proof

1) Make site speed an absolute priority

Research has shown that site speed influences everything from bounce rate over user satisfaction to conversions and revenue.

If your site is slow, visitors will not stick around. Plus, because users care, search engines also do and factor your page loading speed into their rankings. For that reason, it’s paramount that you invest in making your site as fast as possible.

2) Leverage the fold

Some people debate whether the fold is even still a factor in web design.

However, the fact is that in 2018, people spent 57% of their time above the fold with a sharp decline afterward. 74% of their time was dedicated on the first two screenfuls. So, I would say the fold still matters. (Sam Carvalho)

For your website, that means you need to prioritize your content and use the available space to catch the attention of viewers so that they continue browsing.
To do this, use a clear and descriptive headline. People should be able to tell who you are and what you do in the first few seconds after landing on your website. Include your main call to action and include media.

3) Take advantage of Hick’s law

Hick’s Law states that the more choices an individual has, the longer they will take to make a decision. Therefore, when it comes to your website, you might be able to boost your conversions by simplifying your website and limiting the choice you give to users.

Some examples include:

  • Reduce the number of menu items
  • Limit form fields
  • Focus on one call to action
  • Only display social buttons for networks you are active on
  • Stick to one goal per page

4) Use shapes to think inside the box

Continuing with the theme of less, this also applies to your design in general. A study done by Google has shown that visitors do not like visual complexity. The more complex your design, the less it is perceived by visitors as beautiful.

Consider rethinking things like the sidebar. More and more websites are ditching the sidebar in favor of a single-column design. This means less distractions and puts focus clearly on the content. (Sam Carvalho)

Stick to standard layouts instead of trying something far-out and overly dramatic. People prefer familiarity and can get put off by non-standard site designs that leave them guessing.

5) Avoid carousels, sliders, tabs, and accordions

A study from Notre Dame University found that the first slide on a carousel received almost 90% of the clicks, while the rest were largely ignored.

Tabs and accordions have the same problem as sliders and carousels: they often go ignored. This is compounded by the fact that few visitors read the entire page.

Most people merely scan and are therefore not very likely to make extra clicks to see your content.

6) Prioritize scrolling over clicking

Put everything on one long page, including the stuff that usually gets tucked away. There is a fascinating case study by Crazy Egg to prove this point.

They went from having a simple, short sales page to one that was 20 times longer than the original, and the result was that conversions went up by 30%. Users seem to enjoy scrolling more than clicking.

7) Direct attention with visual cues

One of the main functions of web design is to guide users. You can do that by giving different weights to different elements, thereby directing focus where you want it to go. Use visual cues to achieve this directing.

One [visual cue] is taking advantage of the fact that humans tend to look in the same direction as people they see in ads. This is a real thing, and you can use this to direct attention on your site where you want it most. (Sam Carvalho)

Use arrows to be more direct as well as people to guide users in the direction that you want them to go.

8) Use people in pictures (but avoid stock photos)

Besides using them to direct attention, including other people in images on your site is generally a great idea. People like to connect with other people.

This is a simple and effective tool; however, the whole effect is easily negated by stock photos.

A Nielsen Norman Group study found that we are very adept at recognizing these generic images and tuning them out. For that reason, if you are going to use images of people on your site, make sure they are genuine and real. Include your staff or customers. But say no to stock. (Sam Carvalho)

9) Use the right list order

Be mindful of human attention when using lists because of the so-called serial-position effect: in a list, you are most likely to remember both the items in the beginning and at the end. The middle section, on the other hand, goes largely forgotten.

Therefore, when listing attributes of your product or service, make sure to put the most important things where they are likely to make an impact

10) Leverage social proof

The last of the web design tips is about the so-called conformity bias. This is the tendency of people to do as others do. That means, if a group of people approves of something, others are more likely to do the same.

One way of leveraging this on your website is to show social proof. If you can show that others have a positive opinion of your site, content, product, or service, new visitors are more likely to do the same.

You can easily show this with social shares, media mentions, and testimonials.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[SAM CARVALHO] Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand new business visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.

Hi there. Thanks so much for joining me today on the Marketing a Practice podcast. Today is part two of our four-part design sprint. If you missed the first part, be sure to go back and listen to the first episode about design sprint, which was based on logo design. In this episode, we’ll be talking about web design. In the next episode, we’ll be talking about digital design and finally, we will cover print design in the fourth episode. So web design is one of the most important factors for the success of a website. In fact, almost half of people say that the design of the site is the main factor for judging a company’s credibility. As a consequence it also influences conversions, bounce rate and more.

So here are 10 tips on how to create a great website. Number one, make site speed an absolute priority. It’s probably one of the least debated facts in the web design sphere, that speed is important. Research has shown that it influences everything from bounce rates to user satisfaction to conversions and revenue. If your site is slow, visitors will not stick around, period. Plus because users care, search engines also do. In fact, have your page loading speed into the rankings. For that reason, it’s paramount that you invest in making your site as fast as possible.

Number two, leverage the fold. Whether or not there is still such a thing as the fold is part of a heated debate. Some say that because of the multitude of screen sizes these days, the fold doesn’t matter anymore. However, the fact is that in 2018 people saying 57% of their time above the fold with a sharp decline afterwards. 74% of their time was dedicated on the first two screen folds. So I would say the fold still matters for your website. That means you need to prioritize your content and use the available space to hook users in so they continue browsing. To do this use a clear and descriptive headline. People should be able to tell who you are and what you do in the first few seconds after landing on your website, including your main call to action and media; also helps with further engagement above the fold.

Number three, take advantage of Hick’s law. Hick’s law states that the more choices an individual has the longer they will take to make a therefore. Therefore, when it comes to your website, you might be able to boost your conversions simply by limiting the choice you give to users. Here are a few examples of what that might look like. You could reduce the number of menu items, you could limit form fields, focus on one call to action, only display social buttons for networks you’re active on, and stick to one goal per page.

Number four, keep it simple. Continue with the theme of lists. This also applies to your design in general. A huge study by Google has shown that visitors don’t like visual complexity. The gist of this is the more complex your design the less it is perceived by visitors as beautiful. Therefore consider rethinking things like the sidebar. More and more websites are ditching the sidebar in favor of a single column design. This means less distractions and puts focus clearly on the content. Also stick to standard layout. People love familiarity and can get weirded out by non-standard site designs.
[BRIGHTER VISION] How would you like to fall into cash this month? Every year, my friends over at Brighter Vision kick off the full season with a month long digital conference event they call Fall Into Cash. For the entire month of September, there’ll be teaming up with the top brands, consultants, and coaches in the mental health industry to provide you with the best advice, tools, content, podcasts, and giveaways, all centered around one main theme, helping you grow your practice and make more money. Plus, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of Fall Into Cash, they’re also offering a very special discounts exclusively for Practice of the Practice listeners. From now until the end of the month, they’re offering new websites for only $49 per month for your whole first year, plus no setup fees. That’s a savings of over $200. For more information, and to take advantage of this great offer head on over to brightervision.com/joe. That’s brightervision.com/joe.
[SAM CARVALHO] Number five, avoid carousels, sliders, tabs, and accordions. Website owners love carousels. It’s probably one of the most client requested features. Unfortunately, however, research says that they are pretty useless. A study from Notradame University found that the first slide on a carousel received almost 90% of the clicks while the rest were largely ignored. Tabs and accordions have the same elements as carousels, they often go ignored. This is compounded by the fact that few visitors actually read the entire page. Most people merely scan and are therefore not very likely to make extra clicks, to see your content, which leads us to the next point.

Number six is to prioritize scrolling over clicking. So if you don’t compress information into sliders and or accordions, how do you present it? The answer is just put everything in one long page, including the stuff that usually gets tucked away. Seriously, it works. There is a fascinating case study by Crazy Egg to prove this point. They went from having a simple short sales page to one that was 20 times longer than the original. The result was that conversions went up by 30%. Seems like users like scrolling a lot more than they like clicking.

Number seven, direct attention with visual cues. One of the main functions of web design is to guide users. You can do that by giving different ways to different elements, thereby directing focus where you want it to go. However, you can also use more direct visual cues to achieve this. One is by taking advantage of the fact that humans seem to look in the same direction as the people they see in ads. This is a real thing, and you can use this to direct attention on your site, where you wanted most. You can also be more direct with arrows pointing the direction you want users to go.

Number eight, use people in pictures, but avoid stock photos. Besides using them to direct attention, including other people’s images on your site is generally a great idea. Humans like to connect to other people in real life, as well as on the web. You can see this at work in one case study by Base Camp. They managed to increase their conversions by 102.5% by changing from a text-based landing page to one, with a large photo of a person in the background. This is simple yet effective. However, the whole effect is easily negated by stock photos. A Nielsen Norman Group study found that we are very adept at recognizing these generic images and tuning them out. For that reason, if you’re going to use images of people on your site, make sure they’re genuine and real. Include your staff or customers, and say no to stock.

Number nine, use the right list order. Using lists, both ordered and unordered is a great way to make information more accessible. However, it turns out that here to human attention is fickle. This is because of the circle serial position effect. It basically says that in a list you are most likely to remember both the items in the beginning and at the end. The middle section on the other hand goes largely forgotten. Therefore, the lesson here is this, when listing attributes of your product or service, make sure to put the most important, which are likely to make an impact.

Finally, number 10, leverage social proof. The loss of the web design tips is about the circle of conformity bias. This is the tendency of people to do as others. That means if the group of people approve of something those are more likely to do the same. One way of leveraging this on your website is to show social proof. If you can share that others have a positive opinion beside content, product, or service, new visitors are more likely to do the same. You can most easily show this with the count of social shares, media mentions and or testimonials.

So in summary, the top 10 tips to have a great website is number one, make site speed an absolute priority. Number two, leverage the fold. Number three, take advantage of Hick’s Law. Number four, keep it simple. Number five, avoid carousels, sliders, tabs, and accordions. Number six, prioritize scrolling over ticking. Number seven, direct attention with visual cues. Number eight, use people in pictures, but avoid stock photos. Number nine, use the right list order and number 10, leverage social proof. I’ll see you in the next episode, part three of the four-part design sprint.

Thank you to Brighter Vision for sponsoring this episode. Remember that for the entire month of September, they’re offering new websites for only $49 per month for your whole first year, plus no setup fees. That’s a savings of over $200. Be sure to head over to brightervision.com/joe to make use of this very special discount.

Just a heads-up that I will be going on maternity from November, 2021 to February, 2022 and will therefore be taking a break from podcasting. I’ll most likely begin producing episodes again from March, 2022. Thank you for your understanding and keep well.

Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want some print flyer designed head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.

Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.

Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta Male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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