User testing reveals that good graphics design is essential to improving conversions. In the early days of the web some leading usability experts claimed that graphics didn’t belong on web sites, how wrong they were.
Good graphics design does more then present an appealing facade.
The Stanford Web Credibility (http://credibility.stanford.edu/) studies show that 47% of users make buy decisions based upon the site itself. This implies that if the site is professional in appearance and supplies the essential information in a clear and complete manner; nearly half your customers will be comfortable making a buy decision without further off site research.
In my testing experience, when customers are searching for products or services thru a variety of sites in a competitive market, decisions about a sites’ professionalism are often made within 10 seconds of viewing the home or landing page. Ten seconds seems like barely enough time to get more then a quick view of the headlines, a look at the navigation structure and a glance at some key elements on the page. However in this brief time, customers gather a surprisingly broad range of impressions including: company size, product range, product offering, brand impressions, and often price. They demonstrate emotional feelings of connection or dissatisfaction, as well as feelings of anxiety and/or comfort. They often decide if they are in the “right place”.
Great graphics are essential to engage the customer and set up expectations and great usability insures that everything will be in place to complete the process, be it sale, sign up or education.
Small business sites often shortchange the importance of a good graphic look and feel for the site. Template sites, “brochure” sites and many small business sites deliver unprofessional graphics design yet site owners wonder why so many abandon the site.
An independent graphic designer we work with recently completed the redesign of an eCommerce site. She was quick to note that it wasn’t simply a “pretty up job” – Usability was addressed as well. The redesigned site nearly doubled page views, time on site, and customers.
A good graphic web designer will:
Insure an attractive, comfortable color blend which engages (and addresses colorblindness).
Include attractive product shots which are large enough to reveal important elements, (and won’t forget informative, benefit focused captions).
Deliver a value proposition or branding statement in the initial eyepath.
Present simple and effective navigation which shows what viewers can expect to find.
Drive the eye path to the important calls to action.
Insure that all graphic elements are optimized for fast loading and contribute to conversion goals.
Keeps the page simple, clean and effective.
Insures that viewers can “get it” in 10 seconds or less.
A good graphics presentation is too important to your success to risk an amateur look and feel. Unless graphics is in your blood, consider bringing in a graphics web designer to help get your site right. Good graphic web designers are usually less expensive then many programmers, usability consultants, and developers.
Use your normal good business sense when choosing a designer BUT insure they pay more then lip service to great usability or better yet, consider a usability review at the same time. or you may exchange one set of problems for another.
If in doubt about your present graphics, user test your site on passers by. Ask for their impressions of your and your competitors’ sites with probing open ended questions about impressions and feelings.
Great graphics translate to increased sales, make the investment.
For more information
You may wish to review past articles:
The Sales Value of Strong Product Photos (This post links to an article on Web Marketing Today).
Related eVision Services
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