Engaging your customers Article 7: Website design tips

When a potential customer visits your site he must immediately identify which are the most important areas in your site. These “call to action” sections might be the ‘add to cart’ button or ‘subscribe to newsletter or even the ‘write a review’ button.  To attract visitor’s attention you have to avoid using too many “call to actions” as these might distract your visitors.
Moreover you have to choose the right design, location and colour for these sections.



In this page it is evident that the most important area in this page is the “add to cart”


The design chosen should be attractive but at the same time user-friendly both for your customers and for search engines. It is true that flash looks attractive but it is not readable by search engines and you might risk losing some valuable customers if you do not take this into consideration. Besides limiting the number of actions and areas in your site it is also important not to overdo the aesthetics of your website. Do not forget that if you have a lot of interactive media on your site then the page will take a longer time to load.



Abandonment Rate compared to Page Load Time

There is a relationship between load time and website abandonment rate. As the time taken for a page to load increases so does the rate of website abandonment. Therefore try to avoid using Flash and AJAX images in your site and try to reduce the page load time by minimizing the size of your media files (including images, videos and flash) and using caching mechanisms.

Use guarantee images and “Security badges” that will help you gain the trust of your visitors such as VeriSign, ISO certification badges, Better business Bureau or any trustworthy associations that a company is member of. Reputable companies may also display their partners’ logos or even logos of some of their clients.

Make sure that your site is cross browser compatible and that it works on various platforms including IPADs, Iphones and Android phones.

Use user-friendly design

Set the number and order of products shown in your category pages. Make sure that your most important products are displayed first.
Offer a layered navigation feature in your category and search pages. This will allow your customers to search using specific product characteristics, such as ‘brand’, ‘price range’, ‘colour’, ‘size’ and so on.

Make sure that your shopping cart and checkout designs are as user friendly as possible

The shopping cart should be transparent and provide all the necessary delivery options, returns information, security features, payment options(such as checkout by PayPal), promotional codes areas and taxation that is chargeable.

Allow “Guest checkout” feature in your site. Some customers might be reluctant to go through long registration processes as part as their checkout. The “Checkout as Guest” feature will make sure that only the absolutely necessary fields are inserted by the customer prior to checking out. This feature helped fashion retailer Asos to decrease the site abandonment rate by 50%!

When a visitor adds a product to the cart the website should inform the user that the item was successfully added to cart and a link to view their shopping cart and checkout should be easily located. Ideally in the header section of the page.

Use of colour

Colour is one of the most powerful design methods and can be used to help customers focus on the most important areas in the site (such as the “Add to cart” button). Colour can also be used to increase brand recognition and even help to change visitors’ feelings and behavior. The diagram below gives information on where and when it is best to use certain colours. The ideal colour for call to actions buttons such as “Add to cart” or “subscribe to a newsletter” is Orange. Red on the other hand creates a sense of urgency so it is ideal for special offers.


Note: Colour is not universal since specific colours that may be adequate for North American users might not be adequate for Indian users.