What Customer-First Web Design Looks Like
The purpose of a website is to reach new customers and keep current ones engaged. Therefore, customer-first should be at the top of your list for design features. After all, without your clients, your business won’t grow or succeed.
Customer-first has been a buzzword for a few years now. In a nutshell, it’s easy to imagine what customer-first design means. The needs of consumers come before anything else. However, the concept isn’t quite as simple in practice. A lot of nuances enter the equation.
Just what does it mean to have a customer-first web design? What are the must-haves to reach users on their level and keep their attention for the long haul?
Embracing quality customer experiences has driven loyalty for as long as anyone can remember. However, we now live in a time of uncertainty, and when people leave companies on a dime if they’re dissatisfied with any aspect. So you must hit the high notes on every song – your website is your purest online persona and must engage users and keep them entertained.
Whether you embrace causes that matter to your customers and share information on them or tweak your design to meet accessibility guidelines, many factors come into play with a customer-centric design.
In a recent report, researchers found that about 88% of company leaders feel customer engagement impacts revenue. You can’t control every variable, but you can ensure your website hits all the strong points for a customer-first web design that grabs them and keeps them on your page.
Here are our favorite tips to create a customer-first approach. You may already be doing some of these things. Pick and choose what makes the most sense for your business model. Even small changes can have a big impact.
1. Know Your Customers
Before creating a website centered around your customers’ needs, you must know who they are. What are the demographics of your typical clients? Survey them and find out what their needs and expectations are. How can you best help them?
You may also want to survey them about your website. What’s missing that might help them? Is there anything they love? What do they hate? The more you know, the better your design can match their expectations. Create buyer personas based on their preferences.
At the same time, buyers will sometimes say one thing but actually feel another way. No one is quite sure why people do this when being surveyed. One way around that issue is to do some A/B testing to see how they actually feel about various changes. Do they respond the way you thought? What other adjustments need to be made?
2. Find the Right Color Palette
Different industries trend toward various hues. For example, businesses in the banking industry trend toward blues and occasionally reds. Blue elicits trust from users and has a calming effect. On the other hand, the fashion industry might tap into brighter shades, such as lime green. Think about what colors people expect in your industry, and then find your color palette.
Each hue has its emotional impact. For example, red is a color of power and can elicit excitement in the viewer. Choose your shades accordingly to get the most emotional punch possible.
3. Accept Feedback
One of the best ways to improve your site over time to match the needs and preferences of your audience is by allowing feedback. Add reviews, place a feedback form in your footer, and even send out requests for feedback to your mailing list.
It’s also a good idea to find a mentor who has been successful at running a business. Ask them to look at your site and give you advice. You might also enlist the help of a marketing professional.
4. Stick With the Familiar
Have you heard of Jakob’s Law? The rule of thumb states that people prefer common design patterns they’re most familiar with. So when they see a pattern they know, such as a navigation bar layout, it boosts their mood and improves their memory of the site.
When making edits, don’t make significant changes. Instead, implement minor adjustments over time to give your followers a chance to acclimate to the shift.
5. Cut the Clutter
If you want users to feel wowed by your page and engage, you have to limit their choices. Add in too many options, and they may not know where to go first.
Start by choosing an objective for the page. Cut anything that doesn’t point the user toward the goal. Ideally, you’d have a little info, an image, and a call to action (CTA) button. However, this may vary, depending on where your buyer is in the sales funnel and how much information they need to decide to go from browser to customer.
6. Choose Mobile Friendliness
Recent reports indicate about 90% of people use mobile devices to go online at times. With phones gaining greater capabilities and 5G bringing faster speeds to communities, expect people to use their mobile devices even more frequently for internet browsing.
Making sure your site translates well on smaller screens makes sense for your company and for your customers. Be sure to test everything. Click through all links. Fill in forms. Ensure images and text auto-adjust to the correct size, so people don’t have to scroll endlessly.
7. Make Multiple Landing Pages
Like most businesses, you probably have several buyer personas as you segment your audience. Don’t just create a single home page and expect it to fulfill the purpose of every reader. Instead, create unique pages for each persona to best meet their needs.
Make sure each landing page speaks in the natural language patterns of your specific audience. Think about the unique needs of each group. How do their pain points differ? How can you best meet their needs?
8. Keep Important Info Above the Fold
People are busy. They work, have families, and might visit your site on the 15-minute break they get in the afternoon. Most consumers want the information they need to decide and don’t want to dilly-dally around with other things.
Place the essential headlines and info they need above the fold, so they see it first. Make it as readable as possible by using headings and subheadings. Add in a few bullet points. People also absorb information easier in video format, so add a video highlighting your product's or service's main benefits.
You should also place a CTA button above the fold if it makes sense for your overall design. Keep in mind people may have visited and already read some of the information. Some users return just to sign up and want to find the CTA quickly.
Step Into Your Customers’ Shoes
Look at your site through the eyes of your audience. What works well? What needs to be adjusted? Over time, you’ll develop a customer-first web design that speaks to those most likely to buy from you. Then, keep making changes and tweaking your site until it hits the perfect balance for your customers.
Featured image via Freepik.
Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance designer with a focus on customer experience. She lives in Philly with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy.