We’ve all experienced clicking on a webpage for a business or company and being wowed by their design immediately. After a few seconds admiring the artistic elements and watching the integrated videos, we move on to finding the information we came for. Except we can’t find this.
It is incredibly likely that if you’re thinking ‘wow’ about a website, you’re also thinking ‘how?’ How are you supposed to find what you came for between a multitude of animations, music, videos and innovative designs?
This is why businesses need functionality to be at the forefront of their web design – the design needs to be created with the specific function of the website in mind.
Why is a functional website important?
The function of a website should come first, always. It is important that the user experience governs the design, as the users are the people who will hopefully convert on the website, and it must be easy for them to do this.
If they are unable to navigate your website, it is likely they will leave the website – high bounce rates can also negatively impact your SEO. If this happens, not only are you losing a customer but you’re multiplying the chances of your business falling in the search engine rankings.
The best websites focus on being extremely good at providing value to the user through intuitive but understandable designs, where information required is well signposted and easily accessible.
Overloading your site with plugins, fancy décor or lots of photos can severely increase the loading time. This will do nothing but bore customers if they cannot complete what they need on your website, and will again contribute to the increased bounce rate.
It’s also all well and good to have a good looking website, but if you do not adapt this for mobile functionality you’re losing a huge portion of your customer base, who frequently browse on mobile devices.
Where does design come in?
The form or appearance of a website should serve the functionality of your website. Implementing a design that complements the purpose of your website should be the method in which you instruct your developers to work.
Whatever the purpose of your website is, ensure that the design of the website pushes visitors to complete this purpose. How can you do this?
How can I achieve a form/function balance?
There are a number of best practices you can follow to gain the best chances of achieving the form/function balance for your website:
- Make sure information is readily available – you can still have an appealing website with beautiful images, as long as the information users require is well displayed and readily accessible. Phone number, address, services and pricing are what a customer will want from your website and your design should complement their appearance and placing on the website.
- Keep your purpose in mind throughout – every part of the website should drive the user to the next stage of their journey to fulfilling the purpose of your website. Whether it’s to call you and schedule a meeting, purchase a product, sign up to your mailing list, this action should be clearly conveyed throughout your website.
- Make this easy by including Calls to Action – these are the elements of your website inviting users to take a certain action. Make it easy for users to do this by including enough of these on your website.
- Keep it clean – a simplistic design allows for easy and clear navigation and the removal of clutter on the website means only the most important elements stand out. You can still combine this with beautiful images to create an aesthetically pleasing website.
This is where the artistry of great web design needs to be partnered with the understanding of user experience. An intuitive, functional and attractive design lets users effortlessly click through pages to find the information they need. In the end, this hopefully will lead to the user deciding to become a customer!
If you need help in redesigning your website with functionality in mind, contact our team today.