4 levels of design impact
What is the impact of design? Let’s find out.
We make websites and corporate identities for IT companies and digital-products. What ninety percent of our clients want from our work, is to increase sales and conversion rates. But how do you measure that? And is that really all that design can provide for you? A good, well-thought-out website doesn’t just provide some extra sales. It can really make your brand shine.
The eye-catching website is not for everyone
The most important thing is the product. A shiny wrapper won’t do much good if on the inside is something broken and useless. The brand itself affects sales much more than the website design. No-name companies know how difficult it is to compete with market leaders. When we design websites, we use Figma. It’s a killer tool for web-designers way ahead of its competitors. It’s free, collaboration friendly, and fits our workflow like a glove. But despite its usability, quality, and plenty of advanced features, many web designers are still using Photoshop. All thanks to the well-established notion that “Photoshop is the only web design tool you need”, which Adobe works off since the 1990s.
Intricate web design is not as necessary for the companies with alternative sales models:
- Most deals are made in person and other p2p sources where design is not needed;
- Other unique selling points (for example, the only developer for the platform);
- Generally speaking, B2B products don’t need all that much on their websites. But that’s a rule of thumb. Check out our comprehensive guide on B2B websites.
Regardless, even if you don’t lean on your website to generate sales and convert, it’s still a big part of your overall marketing strategy.
When does your website need a redesign
Often enough, digital products approach us right after the investment round, huge update, or prior to market launch. And they realize, that their old website isn’t cutting it anymore.
You do not have to wait before the reality hits. You can figure out in fifteen minutes whether you need a redesign by a simple test. Compare yourself with competitors. If your website is the same as others, that’s your first reason. Among our guides, we have one on the website redesign, and it goes all the way to space.
Redesign success criteria
Every product is different, so the criteria for success is always different too: it depends on their goals, their product, their industry, the trends at the time, etc. This is how we used to present the benefits that our redesign would bring.
- Improved storytelling. We would make it simple and direct. It would rely on the sales points and clearly relay the key features of the product. As a result, the conversion rate would increase because the website illustrates the product well.
- Corporate identity with a relevant metaphor and style. While your competitors look the same, you have to stand out. To stand out, you need a thought-out website: a website with a concept to it, and custom photos and illustrations, rather than stock solutions. You need to be memorable. As a consequence, you will build brand awareness, and next time a potential client sees your unique Facebook banner they will be more likely to buy from you.
Four levels of design impact
After consultation with Redmadrobot’s co-founder Max Desyatykh, we have modified our pitch. Now we show how design could impact your business by a degree of how involved the design is, by levels.
Level 1: Contemporary and industry-standard design
It builds trust with potential clients. Most tech websites look clean and professional. If you stray too far from the standards, your potential client might immediately leave without getting into the content.
Example: getkap.co. It does look modern and professional. However, the call to action button hides in the top right corner. We can safely assume that a good number of people have chosen another screencast app simply because of that.
Level 2: Design converts
If it works, it works. If the website converts, it’s because the content is well organized, and potential clients learn all the benefits of the product and can decide on the spot. Sometimes it’s enough to just fix the site’s copywrite to dramatically boost the conversion rate.
Example: capacity.com. Easy navigation, neat and straightforward narrative.
Level 3: Design helps to stand out
Level 3 website is unique. It has to be: otherwise, how could it stand out among all the samey websites of the competitors.
Our project: laborx.com is very different from the other freelance platforms which are all too neat, too cold. You will definitely remember it, just take a look at the competitors:
Must-have elements of the level 3 website on the example of LaborX:
- Unique metaphor and concept. In this case, it's experimental marker graphics inspired by real-world drawing tools and animation in the style of 90s MTV;
- Unconventional layout design and typography;
- Custom illustrations, icons, and top-notch photos. Using stock solutions today is in poor taste. Even if stock is the only option, they could be used meaningfully, adjusted, and incorporated into the design. But you absolutely can’t just use stock photos as they are. Take a closer look at what we did with gifs in LaborX;
- Storytelling that fits the vibe. Connect to your audience. You don’t always have to be cut and dry, there’s often room for some color and excitement. Here we have a clear narrative that tells how the clients and freelancers interact with each other. Gifs show communication, skills are shown in a form of hand-drawn tools and the features are represented by illustrations.
And it’s good to add some motion. It always makes a website more memorable. The critical thing to remember when working with animation is to not overdo it: if it’s too busy, it would distract from the design and the message. And if it’s too complicated, the website loading speed could take a hit.
In 2019 we’ve been working mostly on the level 3 websites. We would finish them in two sprints (ten business days).
- Sprint 1 — corporate identity.
- Sprint 2 — website design.
If the client does not have any copywrite and content logic, we would need an extra sprint to make that too.
Generally speaking, it’s not complicated to improve your site to level one or two. It works well enough to showcase your product so the clients would understand your product. But in order to level up to the third, you would probably have to hire an agency: for the expertise and the analysis, for the vantage point of view that you simply do not have.
Level 4: Brand-design
To level up to forth all the elements of the site must resonate with the unique positioning of the company. This is what defines strong brands in the long run.
But how to define such positioning? You need to clarify these two questions:
- What is the message?
- Who is the message addressed to?
In Embacy we like to use Censydiam framework for that.
Example: Figma is a simple and efficient design tool. It improves workflow and speeds up project management. Censydiam’s placement is enjoyment.
Once we’re done with the positioning, all the elements of the third level must represent it:
- The general concept for the website that informs every element;
- Photos, illustrations, all the visuals;
- Typefaces and typography;
- The copy, consistent with the design, the concept, and the positioning.
In Embacy we include positioning into analytics and it usually takes another sprint.
- A flashy website is not for everyone. If your product is unique by itself, then a clean and professional website could probably do just fine;
- On a saturated market, redesign helps to stand out;
- How to know when it is time to redesign? Compare yourself to the competition.
You need a redesign if you are lost in the crowd. You do not need a redesign if you already have a next-level website.
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