If you did a Google search right now for “Web Design Dos and Don’ts”, the first page results would give you a combined total of over 242 tips from 10 organic results alone. . Most of this advice is repetitive, obvious, subjective, or all three.
You’ll read “less is more” or “don’t overthink it”, and by far my favorite, “KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid”. Don’t get me wrong, some of this advice is very good. But for someone like you selling such a unique and personalized experience, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, you and your team are going to make sure your website isn’t busy and that it’s laid out properly, but is that really the only metric by which we should be judging your overall site? Absolutely not.
Your website is for your audience
You’ve heard the saying, “If you have to explain the joke, it’s not funny.” The same concept applies to design. Naturally, you want to love your website. After all, it is a representation of you! But we are often caught up in what we want, not what our consumers want. Your website should appeal to your customers and it should be created with them in mind, especially in the case of a financial advisory firm. You are not selling hundreds of identical shirts or pairs of shoes. You are selling a life changing experience. And a website you “like” may not meet the unique needs of the intended end user.
So, do you know your audience? Recently, Lone Beacon conducted a survey of approximately 25,000 high net worth customers between the ages of 50 and 65. We asked them: “How do you perceive yourself culturally in terms of age?” The vast majority of them answered that they perceived themselves to be between 10 and 15 years old younger than they are. However, we have noticed that they are marketed 10-15 years older than them. This means the gap isn’t as big as it once was between how a 30-year-old navigates the internet and a 50-year-old.
Rather than just focusing on your likes and dislikes, we believe it’s more important to focus on the user. As the VP of Digital Marketing at Lone Beacon, I will share some rules to follow when building your website.
Users are mobile addicted
More than 50% of the people who will interact with your website will do so from a mobile device. In Q2 2022, mobile devices drove 58.99% of global website traffic. This number has been consistently above 50% since 2017 and continues to grow. People love mobile. Whether they’re sitting at home watching TV, navigating a public bus, or scrolling down the toilet, they’re addicted to their phones. It is important that we keep these users in mind when designing your website.
Here are some tips we apply when creating your mobile-friendly content:
- Emphasize short, catchy titles. – That’s why we divide a page into short layers and start each with a bold title. Give them a directive and follow it with a caption that conveys your message.
- Keep copy short. One idea per paragraph. Feed him in segments. Treat your content like a five-course meal.
- Write with your voice. Be authentic. Be unique. Write in a way that everyone can understand.
- Draw attention. Highlight the words your user is looking for, whether in bold fonts or colorful backgrounds. Highlight the most important points of your content.
Users do not read. They skim
It’s true! In fact, if you stopped here, you probably did so because of the headline above. If you found your way here by reading every line of this article, congratulations, you are one of a kind! But all jokes aside, people don’t read, especially when it comes to websites.
It takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) (i.e. 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they will stay or leave.
In today’s culture, we put a sense of urgency on everything. Whether it’s working in the office, sitting down to dinner, or running on a treadmill as they navigate your site, people are on the go. We multitask. And what we discovered is that YOUR layout dictates the users route. Since most users are just hovering, we need to get their attention. Whether through beautiful images, bold titles or videos, the layout dictates where the eye moves. It is second nature to the user. They don’t even think; the eyes just go.
Users want to feel in control
Now, if we remember the last tip, “People don’t read, they skim,” and institute all the elements we’ve learned to work best, then this one will take care of itself. The user always wants be in control. Whether you push them in a certain direction or not. Think of it like a long line at Disney World. They are constantly moving you, towards a destination. You feel like you’re in control as you walk through every bend. In fact, it’s not until you’re stopped, staring at the back of a stranger’s head with nowhere to go, that you realize Disney was dictating this trip all along.
Another concrete example is when you visit a news site. You start scrolling when you get hit with a popup that no longer lets you control the web page. I bet you will never visit this site again. So make sure we don’t just know our users, but we know the path they need to take.
How low will they go?
From all the data collected over the years on website users, people often think that the right decision is to cram as much information as possible above the fold. And while it’s important to get this information out as quickly as possible, the main point is that you should aim for ‘the best’ rather than ‘everything else’. The top of your website, or “above the fold” as they call it, is your elevator pitch. It’s 2022 and most, if not all, users know how to scroll. It’s second nature, and they’ll do it with pleasure.
Data gathered from over a billion web visits shows that 66% attention on a normal page is spent “below the fold”.
The user also knows that the detailed information, next steps and call to action are usually at the bottom of your page. I bet you didn’t know that the bottom of your website is the second most viewed section. And it’s often the most overlooked by a designer. That’s why we like to provide multiple call-to-action and contact information sections. We like to call it your “security net.” This usually gives the user everything they can search for in a direct way, and it allows us to catch them before they disappear.
It’s time to get closer
Remember that your website is a journey. In 2014, my wife, Rebecca, and I took a trip to Las Vegas. It was his very first time. As soon as we arrived downtown, she was hit with a massive wave of anxiety and sensory overload! Everyone was vying for our attention, and they were giving us everything they had, all at once. Some might say they used the landscape “above the fold”. But rather than luring us in to do our business, it made us retreat to the comfort of our boring, white-walled hotel room. We haven’t been to Vegas since.
Of course, it’s important that you have a beautiful, sophisticated, flashy, and cutting-edge website, but consider the end user first. There’s a reason big companies like Smart Asset, Dave Ramsey, Disney, Apple, and Calendly have built their websites the way they do, and it’s not because they can’t afford something. more spectacular. It all comes down to knowing your end user and taking advantage of it. They understand the most effective journey their user can take to eventually become a customer.
Did you know: Once on a company’s home page, 64% of visitors want to see the company’s contact information, and 44% of website visitors will leave a company’s website if there isn’t. has no contact information or phone number.
Kirby Mack is Vice President of Digital Media at Lone Beacon, a full-service marketing firm dedicated to serving the financial industry.