Joe Dawson

Joe is the director of Creative.onl and oversees all of the design and technical work that we produce. Find him on Twitter.

Every business understands that standing out online makes a huge difference to their success. It’s not good enough to simply have a great idea, however: you need to sell your business and you need to sell it well.

Whether that’s with a cutting edge website or a dedicated app, social media campaign or email communication, there are certain, key design features that will really help you stand out from competitors.

What everything often comes down to is the customer experience. All design decisions should be made because you want to deliver what your potential customer is actually looking for.

  • You want them to be able to find that particular product.
  • You want them to be engaged by your content.
  • You want them to easily recognise your brand with a positive feeling towards it.

None of this is easy, least of all joining up all aspects of the design so that they present a coherent representation of your business.

Putting all those jigsaw pieces together can mean the difference between disappearing into obscurity and growing a reputable and engaging brand that stands tall and proud in the digital marketplace.

Here are four things you should be paying attention to when reviewing the design of your digital channels.

  1. Good UX design for a great experience

User experience or UX is more than just creating an aesthetically pleasing website or app for your customer. A snazzy font and appealing images only get you so far. You have to deliver on all that promise and provide an experience that your audience will want to engage with again and again.

If users aren’t able to navigate your site easily (and quickly too), for instance, the likelihood is they’ll look elsewhere. You won’t make too many sales or get people hiring your services if things are just too difficult.

But UX is about much more than just menus and navigation – it encompasses every aspect of the way in which your customers (and potential customers) interact with your products, services, marketing channels and your staff.

Here are a few stats that support the importance of putting UX at the centre of your design process:

  • 61% of users will look for another business if they don’t immediately find what they are looking for when visiting a site.
  • Nearly half of smartphone users get frustrated if the site they are visiting is not optimised for mobile.
  • 90% of people say they will no longer use an app if it has poor performance.

Usability testing has developed dramatically over the last decade or so and no successful business with a presence online should ignore it.

  1. Compelling content that engages your audience

We all know deep in our hearts that content is important. But is your business paying full attention to what is currently offered to customers? Many people look at content purely from the point of view of getting noticed on search engines. And yes, that is still important.

But that’s certainly not the be all and end all of great content.

It’s also vital that you engage your audience with exciting, memorable content that is going to make them buy your product or hire your services and feel good about your brand.

Too many businesses fail to pay enough attention to the words the use or the images they choose. That includes understanding whether a particular page, blog post or even paragraph is useful to their audience.

Perhaps, just as importantly, they don’t think about how that content is presented. The truth is that a mix of well-written, visual (such as an infographic) and video content will undoubtedly liven up your site and make it more appealing to potential customers.

Great content is all about standing out from the crowd and it’s not simply a question of throwing a few words and images onto a digital page and hoping for the best.

If your site looks attractive but the content is dull, you may still be hampering any chance of making a strong connection with your audience. Use analytics to take a closer look at your existing content to see how it is performing. But also think more creatively and look at different options, if you really want to make a big difference.

If you need help devising your content strategy, read our blog post on how to get started. You can also read about our content services.

  1. A strong brand and company identity

Great content is closely allied to a strong brand identity. It can inform what your pages look like and the kind of messages you send and deliver.

Branding means you need to understand how your users, customers and potential customers perceive your business. People associate more with strong brands, ones that not only deliver what they require but match their own particular values and goals.

Brand is also greater than your company logo or name. It encompasses a range of values and establishes where you stand in the world, particularly in relation to your competitors. It exists in the mind of your customers and can be viewed simply as how they feel about you.

According to Lucid Press, brands that are strong and presented in a consistent manner are 3 to 4 times more likely to exhibit brand visibility.

This is, of course, easier said than done. But it’s not impossible. It starts with understanding the deeper meaning of why you exist and what you are trying to deliver for your audience. The next step is to transfer that brand identity onto your online world.

  1. A coherent digital presence

By this we mean making sure you use all the tools available and tie them together. This can be one of the most difficult things for small to medium size businesses that are often constrained by their budgets or the time that staff members can devote to it. What it really means is that the various parts of the machine need to act in unison.

For example, you need your website to connect with your social media. You may want to introduce an app that can be downloaded onto smartphones and more easily accessed. You could want to improve connections with customers by using tools such as email which link into your site and engages people with focused messages. All these shouldn’t be seen in isolation, however. They all influence each other.

If you’re worried that your customers are not engaged enough, then it could be the perfect time to take a closer look at the design features mentioned above. Each on their own has a role to play in online success but when you bring UX, brand identity, content creation and a coherent strategy together, you can really superpower your digital presence and make a big difference to your business.

For an informal chat about how we can help you with these things, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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hello@creative.onl

+44 (0)116 318 0488

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