How Does Design Affect Websites

How Design Affects Your Website

How Design Affects Your Website
Planning: measure twice; cut once!

As you may or may not know, How Design Affects Your Website can be from a number of different factors.

From buying a product on impulse, based upon flashy packaging, to trusting a company based on the colors and logo it uses.

For me, I just enjoy good design the same as all of you do. We just appreciate good looking things and enjoy pleasing aesthetics.

In web design, my personal preference is with Flat Design.

To that end, I enjoy things that don’t tread down the uncanny valley too much; but still portray a sense of realism that we can connect to.

One of my personal hobbies, is using Adobes’s suite of design tools most notably Illustrator, and design things that catch my eye.

Background

I recently watched a film called “Ex Machina” and kind of fell in love with its simple, but powerful aesthetic. In fact the last time I really felt like that about a film was with one called “Gattaca” and also one that I think some of you should be familiar with: “Fight Club“.

What I want to do is share some posters for both Ex Machina and Fight Club, in order to give you an idea of the type of design I am talking about.

What has this got to do with anything?

Well, it’s a bit of weird route I took to this post, but bear with me…

When I created Harry Vs Internet, I used a theme made by the amazing Thrive Themes called FocusBlog.

Now:

I quite liked the look of it, but a couple of years ago when I first started blogging, my first thematic love was with the Genesis Framework. I kind of had a bit of lovers spat with them when I decided that their their themes were a bit too boring for me!

However, I kind of missed the point with Genesis and its creator; Studiopress.

The idea behind their themes is a simple, but highly efficient framework that is the engine of the entire site, and an elegant theme that you merely drape over the engine to make it look nice, i.e. a child theme.

You can customize and tweak the child theme to your hearts content, and if you are pretty au fait with HTML & CSS, then you can rejig things around quite a bit to suit your needs.

Anyway, I digress…

After trying a few different themes from various different providers and not really digging the style, I found Thrive.

Many internet marketing blogs have also fallen in love with them and use Thrive Themes exclusively throughout their sites: www.authorityhacker.com to name just one.

It looks great, it looks clean and it works perfectly in unison with Thrive’s suite of Plugins, (which you can use on most themes, including Genesis).

My main issue with it really, was that I just was not comfortable with its blockiness and I didn’t really want to invest the time in creating a super fancy static homepage like the Authority Hacker guys did.

For me, I prefer simple and elegant which is what led me back to Studiopress and genesis.

The first site I really created properly using the Genesis framework, was a real estate website for my wife: www.kkcrealestate.com.

I used a free child theme called Equilibre, and tweaked it around a bit to get it looking as it does now. It’s smooth, looks professional and works as it is supposed to do.

A few days ago, I checked out the blog of the main man behind Studiopress: Brian Gardener.

His blog is clean and very pleasing to the eye and I thought, “yes I forgot about Genesis”.

I logged back into my Studiopress account and downloaded the framework, (you need to purchase the framework separately from a theme), and then downloaded the Executive Pro theme that I had previously bought, and installed it on both this site and my brand new authority site.

Result:

I think they both look great and now work really smoothly.

After installation onto Harry Vs Internet, I had to do a bit of moving stuff around to get rid of the leftover Thrive stuff, but it seems to be fine now.

Quick tip: If you are using a caching plugin, remember to clear the cache after any significant changes, otherwise they won’t show up. This was my facepalm moment!

How Design Affects Your Website?

Good design will always improve the way a user interacts with anything, but you also need to aware of just how:

  • SEO – Basics of onpage optimization should be followed, not only to help the search engines understand what your page is about, but also to help your readers to be able to navigate it correctly.
    • There are differing points of view about what is most important, but the overall consensus nowadays, is that you should really make the greatest effort to keep your real, human readers on your website. Today, factors such as the ones below have a huge effect on how you rank and more importantly; how you stay in position:
      • The amount of time spent on your site
      • Bounce rate
      • Pages visited per session
      • Ratio of returning users to new visitors
    • Good design will keep your readers on your site for longer and will keep them wanting more.
  • Conversions – Let’s be honest here, the main reason why most people start a website is to make some money in the hope that they will be able to quit their horrible jobs and live in their underwear all day. Conversions are what make this a reality. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Affiliate conversions
    • Email signups
    • Click Per Action conversions
  • Sharing – The more shares you can get for your site, the more traffic you will get. If a share for a particularly good piece of content is well timed, then you may get flooded with a large amount of traffic. Shares can be from:
    • Social sharing
      • Facebook
      • Twiter
      • G+
      • reddit
    • Comment mentions
    • Forum, Q&A sites
    • Or even the holy grail…links from websites in similar niches

There are really a whole raft of other ways how design affects your website, but those listed are some big ones.

Let’s tie this up in a neat little bow

I’ll be honest with you, this post took a bit of a U-turn.

I started writing it last night when I had already had a few Beer Lao’s, (I live in Laos BTW), and I was in a designer-y kind of mood.

However when I woke up, I read through it again and thought to myself that design actually is super important to everything in our lives, including making money on the internet. So, I wrote some more.

This is really a very, very brief overview about how design affects your website and I will be writing a much more in depth post about it, and even make a little cheat sheet about the best methods to make people love your website even more and by association, you as well.

  • John says:

    Great article, thanks! I never knew design had such a big impact!