Web Design That Wows: How To Transform Your Website
Every website should make a great first impression. After all it’s your front-of-house area — the place where everyone needs to be wowed on arrival. But just how do you ‘wow’?
If your website was a restaurant, how good would it smell?
As delicious as an all-singing all-dancing, meat-sizzling Texas steakhouse or — for you herbivores out there — a gourmet veggie burger kitchen complete with all of the ostentatious accoutrements you can pack between two buns?
Ok, weird analogy. But think about it: does your website present an ambiance or character befitting the quality of your product or service? Does it create a memorable, positive experience? Does it make visitors want to come back time and again — like your favourite restaurant does?
See, no matter your business model, your website is essentially your business’ home. It's an office reception area, a hotel lobby — a showroom, even. So when visitors come a-knocking, you want them to feel welcome — and for them to stick around for a while.
And that’s why web design, user experience (UX), and user interface design (UI) are so important. They set the scene. They’re the difference between a visit to remember and one you’d rather forget.
Together, when aligned correctly, they guide visitors in the right direction and entice them to explore. And if they like what they see, you can sure-as-heck believe they’ll be back.
Like the Power Rangers, when UX design, UI design, and web design unite, they’re unstoppable. But first let’s look at their individual attributes.
Web Design — Deceptively Simple
Let’s get the easy one out of the way first. Or is it? Well, it all depends how you go about it. Web design as a discipline means having a keen aesthetic eye, an appreciation for form and function, and knowing how development works — though not necessarily being a web developer in the technical sense.
Layout is critical. Being able to translate a website’s Information Architecture into a workable visual template is par for the course. Think of this as the blueprint of your digital house — where everything will go and how it will fit together.
But web design doesn’t end there. No mam/sir. Once the framework’s been plotted, then the designer needs to create the right style elements — taking their cue from the company’s overarching brand identity.
Usually, brand building is the first phase which sets the tone for everything else that follows — creating a company’s visual identity before applying it to the wider site — which is why the design and development go hand in hand.
User Experience (UX) Design — For Them. Not You.
The term UX or UX design is used a lot in digital marketing. The main misconception is that it’s a single discipline — a ‘process’ that can simply be applied to a website in order to make it more attractive.
While that’s partly true, the overall aim of UX design is much broader. It’s a strategic objective: one that helps ensure people feel comfortable using a system.
So, when applied to web design, the aim of UX is to optimise a user’s time. Business, branding, or marketing objectives shouldn’t have the upper hand — the customer should. And there’s a very good reason for that ($1 for the first person who can point that out!)
In tactical terms, UX design involves addressing usability issues — such as layout, ease of use, effectiveness, value, and responsiveness. It’s about understanding fundamental things like why someone comes to a site, what they expect, what they want, and how they want to use it — and making their experience as seamless and smooth as possible.
User Interface (UI) Design — Not The Same As UX Design (But Not Far Off)
Ok, so this is where it gets a little confusing. But let’s give this a go...
If UX design involves the entire experience of using a website, then UI design is the way of visually representing and realising the experience. It’s the colours, buttons, boxes, animations, images — the elements that users will see and interact with.
In many ways, UI design is the implementation part of good UX design — or at least it is in a digital environment like a website. UI design is specifically concerned with website development — more specifically how people interact with a digital property like a a website interface — whereas UX design can apply to physical environments too.
The Cost Of Getting It Wrong
If ultimately, the collective goal of web, UX, and UI design is to make a website as easy, engaging, and attractive to use as possible — the question ‘what could go wrong?’ if they’re not addressed seems appropriate.
A lot, it seems:
- The website takes too long to load
- The website visuals look old and outdated
- Visitors find it hard to find what they need
- High bounce rates as people leave faster
- Risk of losing business to competitors
- Company can get a bad reputation
- No repeat visits.
This is why a website refresh can add real value. Luckily, modern design pros have a stack of different tools at their disposal.
While smaller companies and lean startups might want to use templated services like Wix or Squarespace, bigger businesses with a bit of cash to spend will most likely look for a web design and development studio to create something unique and customized just for their business — something that will stand the test of time.
But gone are the days of hacking together a WordPress site using themes and plugins.
More and more developers are using Webflow as their go-to platform — along with tools like Figma to map out UX wireframes and UI elements. And given that Webflow is a no-code platform users can build professional websites in a completely visual canvas.
Not only that, but it can also be easily tweaked by those who have some coding knowledge, and when it comes to updating content, business owners themselves can easily upload new content and make any edits.
For us, tools like these offer the same customer experience for design and development professionals that we want to create for our clients.
All things considered, when creating a website, regardless of whether you’re selling courses, or you’re a photographer, coach, fitness instructor, landscaper, plumber — whatever — you need an online asset that leaves a lasting impression on those who land on your website. In that respect a great online experience can be a lead generation machine and marketing tool all-in-one — so it’s worth getting right.
And if you’re running a restaurant, well, tricky as it may be, let’s try and infuse your site with some of those delicious flavours everyone keeps coming back for.
“Sell the sizzle, not the steak”
According to Elmer Miller, famous head of the Tested Selling Institute of the 1930s and 40s, it’s not the cow that sells the steak — it’s the ‘sizzle’.
The steak might be your product or service. And it might even be the best quality steak there is. But to get people’s attention you have to sell the ‘sizzle’ — an engaging or exciting experience; some emotional appeal; something that makes them want to be a part of your community; that tells them your solution stands tall.
Are you ready to level up and transform your online experience?
If you’re looking for web design and Webflow development — and are looking to work with a seasoned international team, then let’s discuss a brand refresh! Get in touch with Khula today.
Urban Fig Photography founder Jete Devisser discusses her brand and website refresh and how it’s made a positive impact on her business.
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