“Given beauty is in the eye of the beholder, creating an attractive website comes down to who your customers are and what they find attractive,” says YourGrocer head of user experience James Mansfield.
“An attractive lingerie website will be very different aesthetically than an attractive power tools website, for example,” he says.
In saying that, there are a number of fundamental principles to keep in mind no matter what visual style you create, according to Mansfield.
Focus on navigation
“Having simple and clear screens is the most important. When your customers come to your website, they should know what you do within three seconds or they will be gone,” says Mansfield.
Whether it’s browsing your products, reading your content or having the option to call and make a booking, it should be obvious to customers what the next thing they need to do should be – this means putting your relevant call to action front and centre.
“If you don’t have a good idea about what your customers would find attractive then ask them. I can’t emphasise enough how listening to and observing your potential customers will help you in all aspects of creating a successful website as well as a business.”
Let feedback guide you
Feedback is essential to creating a great user experience, so use data to help you understand what customers want and how people would like you to structure the content on your site, says Mansfield.
Talk to users as often as possible and observe how they interact with your website and business in order to get a better sense of what content is considered important, the best way to communicate with them, and how they want to navigate and interact with your site.
Try to view the business from your customers’ perspective and gather their insights via newsletter surveys, social media or look to review sites. What do they care about? What solutions are they searching for? Consider your audience and create your site accordingly.
Quality over quantity
“I remember in the 80s we bought video recorders based on how many features they had,” says Mansfield. “Luckily, those days are over and now smart businesses realise it isn’t the number of features something has but how useful, easy and enjoyable those features are to use.”
There are no specific features that you should include in your website, he says: “Start with what is essential to your customers and launch your website with just those. You’ll soon work out what other features you should add, if any.”