The tragedies of bad design (and how to avoid them)
Design is an inherent property of all objects that surround us. Whether intentional or not, everything has a design which tends to, more often than not, speak of its nature.
Years and years of evolution have ingrained in us the ability to perceive something as a threat or as a friend; as something that is good or something that is bad.
We need to be able to make quick judgement about the nature of something and as such have come to associate the design of things with their nature.
This is why design is so important for brands and by extension their assets; be it websites, user experience, or any other function or object of a given business.
Think about it; a hospital’s language design is going to be very different than that of an amusement park which in turn is going to be very different than that of a car manufacturer. Here we encourage you to think of design in broader terms than just artwork.
Look at design as a framework by which a person (customer) perceives an object. This can include the user experience, artwork, language, and anything else that is presented to your customers.
So when you think about design; the intentional and unintentional design by which your brand will be perceived, think of how your customer is going to interact with you.
In this article we will look at three different facets of design; user experience design, artwork design, and language design.
User experience is the experience a user goes through when interacting with your brand including the process of the experience.
Most website owners tend to think of user experience as the moment a person lands on your website. This, unfortunately is only half of the truth. The real experience starts when the need for your website arises.
If you have a car repair website, the user journey starts the moment a person starts to experience trouble with their car. If you have a watch selling website the experience might start with a promotion, or an upcoming birthday or holiday.
Think about where the journey actually starts as this will help you figure out the type of mindset a user will have when they actually land on your website. Once you figure this out, design the user experience based on that mindset.
Artwork design is the actual imagery, colours, and style that your website and collateral employs.
Here, it is important to understand current trends to update and evolve your artwork accordingly. To illustrate this (pun very much intended) imagine a modern-looking website featuring minimalistic and fresh design, and a 90s looking website that has a pixelated wallpaper and bright colours.
Which one are you more likely to trust? Frequently updating your artwork design can also help in acknowledging that your business is alive and active which, in turn, can help you convert more sales.
Language design is the actual wording you use within your website, blog, and other marketing collateral.
Each word you choose builds a picture about you whilst moving a user to take a certain action; bounce, buy, subscribe, or close the browser. Make an effort to understand your audience; some audiences want an overload of information and might feel you are hiding something if you do not explain each detail.
Other audiences might be bored reading so many words and prefer short snippets of information. There are numerous resources online that can help you understand different demographics and how to design for them.
Design that moves
A journey has a beginning, and an end. The end, which in SEO lingo is referred to as action, is the ultimate action that you want a user to take. There are several possible actions such as buy, sign-up to newsletter, open account, give a donation; whichever action you want the user to take, that is the end of the user journey.
As such, to design a good user journey, you need to think from beginning until the end. Each element of your design should be geared towards moving the user in that direction. For the most part, the end of the journey ends with what is referred to as CTA – Call To Action. This is where you will be asking the user to take an action.
Make sure that your CTAs are well-highlighted and don’t forget to test the entire funnel as often as you can to make sure that nothing is broken.
Here are some tips you can start to implement straight away to improve the designs of your assets
Have a look at your analytics to understand the devices your users are using the most, country or area they are coming from, pages they are landing on, and how they are progressing through your website.
You can also build personas to help you map the journey better. Once you are able to understand this, design accordingly. Here are 20 great tips to increasing website conversions.
The more unique your artwork is, the better your site will be perceived. Use artwork to stand out and be memorable rather than blend in. Good artwork costs money however it can have a healthy ROI and can avoid someone suing you for copyright infringement.
Use words smartly, by understanding where you want your customer to go. Whether through your website or any of the collateral (adverts, mailshots, leaflets) make sure that you have a desired outcome and use words to move the person towards that outcome. Do not be afraid to experiment with language.
It can be quite daunting to design something and this is understandable. Ultimately it’s your business on the line and you need to make sure that it works. Fortunately, there are many way to test if you’re unsure.
From analytics tools to user feedback to A/B testing, there is a lot that can be done so that you can understand what works best and increase your bottom line.
In all of Shakespeare’s tragedies, it is always the central character’s flaws that brings about their demise. The same can be said about the tragedies of bad design. To avoid missing the mark, get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve better designs.