How well do you know your online audience?
Who will be visiting your website? What are their tastes and interests? How well do you know your online audience? As web designers, we often seek the praise of fellow designers for the work we do. We like winning awards and receiving plaudits from people in our industry. There's nothing wrong with that. However, who actually uses those pretty websites we build? If we fail to think about our customer as we design, all the awards in the world will not make the website a success.
Web Design Is Communication, Not Art
The typical web designer may, in fact, be an artist in disguise, looking to use this online medium to express their visual personality. However, effective website design is not art in the formal sense. It is, above all else, communication. Communication! Our first responsibility is to deliver our clients message or product as clearly and effectively as possible. Therefore, no matter how beautiful the website may be, if it does not communicate our client's message clearly, and to the right audience, it is not good web design!
So who is John Doe Public? Why is he on the Web and how can I use my website to sell to him? First of all, he is more likely to be she. "Women comprise more than half of all Internet users and are growing at a faster rate than men. Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of their buying power and influence. Influence means that even when a woman isn’t paying for something herself, she is often the influence or veto vote behind someone else’s purchase." - Top 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Women Consumers, ForbesWomen
Therefore, business-to-consumer websites for the general public should be designed with women in mind. How can we do that?
One way is to make our websites feel more natural, less "techie" in look and feel. There should be a close relationship between what is seen in our websites visually and the real world. In addition, it should mirror appealing human qualities such as warmth, hospitality, and kindness. How can we do that? This website, designed for a real estate professional, is an example of this principle in action:
This website uses a sophisticated, natural color palette, and reflects the real-world aspirations of potential customers. It is also a very clean simple to use design. As such, it is a departure from the typical real estate website. Why? Because looking for a new home is a very emotional process. It is not simply a search for bare walls, but an exciting opportunity to fulfill lifestyle ambitions and desires. This site is designed to show that our client understands the dreams of the new home buyer. It connects emotionally to the viewer. As a result, it reflects an understanding of the true nature of a typical customer.
So, who are you designing for? Other designers or your customers? Try to see things through your customers eyes! Pay careful attention to what typical users say about your site. Always strive to capture the hearts of your customers! -Don Peterson
Key Points From This Article:
♥ Web site design is not about art but communication. Its first priority is to communicate clearly and effectively about your product or service.
♥ Women now comprise more than 50% of all web users. Therefore, websites for the general public should be designed with women in mind.
♥ To appeal to the typical online consumer (most often women), reflect their needs and aspirations in your website design. The beauty is in the details.
♥ Listen carefully to the responses of the typical user of your website and implement them when feasible.
I have been helping small business nationally to reach online consumers for nearly two decades. Contact Don Peterson for your business-to-consumer web design needs.