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!

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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

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