A visitor will click away
If you think about it, a visitor goes to a website to find an answer to a question. If they don’t find it, they click away. So when designing websites that are considered more main-stream, such as professional services (dentists, or accountants), or small retail like a local ice cream shop, or a spa, there’s not much to reinvent. The visitor wants very obvious and straight forward things:
- Where you are?
- How can they contact you?
- What are your prices?
- Why are you better than the other guy?
- …And perhaps a handful of other less important things.
When we design websites, we want to make sure we make it as easy as possible for visitors to find such information. We believe the number one driver of architecture design is conversion. Furthermore, when you focus on conversion, which includes funneling visitors to the right place, you also are optimizing for search. SEO has also a foundation on content organization that somewhat can mimic people’s logic. So, a good architecture should behoove both the visitors and the search engines. (here’s a related post on how to maintain SEO during a website redesign)
Then comes the big BUT.
A client will take a look at his website and will complain “But it looks too templatish!”
When buttons don’t look like buttons.
A common request from clients is that they want their sites to be “unique”, “creative”, “different”. We’ve even heard clients say that they don’t want the buttons to look “too much like buttons” because that’s “too ordinary”.
When you don’t want to show your phone number.
Yes, we’ve also heard that a client feels like he’s too desperate if he shows his number on all pages! Yes! Well, last time we checked, you did want someone to call you, correct? (Doctors are the worst regarding this one).
The template look.
The reality is that there are some “standard” components that must be present and visible on a landing page (and certainly a home page) that have to be there. And they have to be present above the fold, where they are obvious. It’s also true that we have to funnel people (market segments) away from the home page deeper into the site. So when you put all these things together, yes, the site might look to the untrained eye as “templat-ish”. “We’re not trying to win most unique design award here”, we tell clients, “we need this site to perform!”
Twitter is using a template!
I write this blog as I see news that Twitter is redesigning it’s layout. See below:
Doesn’t this look like they “stole” the “template” from Facebook?
Think of it this way, if you’re building a house in suburbia that you’re planning on selling, you need to build it accordingly, make it familiar to what the potential buyer is used to seeing. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a good kitchen with a family room. You would not think of putting the master bedrooms as you walk in, and the kitchen and bathrooms upstairs, would you? It’s the same for a website. Your customers are expecting to find certain information quickly, and they will click away if they don’t find it, even if you have the “coolest” design ever!