Designing a professional website involves an intricate dance between the designer, the programmers, and the client. Designers need to extract and replicate the client’s vision, and the programmers need to create the infrastructure to make it work. While the client often has specific ideas of how they want their website to function, their vision can fall short of including some important elements like usability and trust.
For example, a client who loves the idea of flash navigation doesn’t understand how that type of navigation can inhibit usability. A client who wants their logo prominently displayed on every sales page doesn’t understand how that can interfere with the page’s goal to secure a purchase.
It’s nothing new for clients and designers to be at odds with each other regarding certain design elements. Clients want their website to be beautiful, but don’t understand how certain design elements that focus solely on aesthetics can actually hinder their main goals.
Beautiful doesn’t always mean fancy
According to Blue Corona, 38% of web visitors will stop engaging with a website if it’s unattractive. Also, 48% of web visitors cited the design of a website as the number one factor in determining credibility. That doesn’t mean your website needs to be extravagant. Beauty is still in the eye of the beholder when it comes to website design.
What makes a website unattractive varies between users, but the general consensus is that cohesive websites are the most attractive. Cohesive websites consist of pages that are designed with the same theme, styles, and formatting. When a visitor navigates from one page to the next, all pages look like they belong together.
If your design is cohesive, your site has a better chance at being perceived as attractive by your visitors.
Cohesive sites are integral to trust
A website that isn’t cohesive will raise red flags for visitors, especially when the website is asking the visitor to buy something. When a website looks like it was carelessly thrown together by three different people, visitors will bounce due to lack of trust.
Most people know trust is the first step to conversion, but some fail to recognize that certain design elements can have the opposite effect. For example, a beautiful header image that takes too long to load will make visitors question the professionalism of the business. Also, a beautifully designed home page that has too many elements can give visitors “analysis paralysis” and cause them to bounce.
Nobody knows the importance of building trust more than legal professionals. Their clients are often scared and facing an uncertain future. To mitigate this fear, law firms take full advantage of the design principles that build trust by making themselves fully available to all of their visitors. They provide a live chat service and place their contact information in the header so it’s visible from every page. Most also provide an interactive map that sends the message that they want to be found.
Making yourself available for potential clients doesn’t mean every visitor will contact you. However, making yourself available is the best way to build trust with visitors who may be considering making contact. They know you’re there when they want to reach out.
Availability is integral to trust
CopyHackers.com makes a great point about the connection between availability and trust. “An easy-to-find phone number can boost conversion because people feel comforted that, if they need you, they can call,” they say. “It’s not that they will call. It’s that they can call. The presence of a phone number is the presence of assurance. It’s a cue to trust you.”
If you’re not yet convinced, consider that countless studies have found that ugly designs convert better. That doesn’t mean you need to create an ugly website. The reason ugly websites convert better is because of their simplicity.
The key to creating a website that people trust, then, without sacrificing user experience, is leveraging the elegance of simplicity.