05 06/2009Damien Buckley Design and Loading Times Key in Website Success

A recent Webcopyplus online poll has revealed that almost 25% of web users surveyed indicated “poor visual presentation” along with 50.9% of users indicating “slow load times” to be the main reasons to abandon a website. “Weak web copy” sat alongside design as a major factor.

Although 318 users surveyed isnt a huge sample, the results do indicate that users are maturing and becoming more demanding of their web experience – appreciating that a well designed website makes it possible to achieve more, with less time and effort.

With the move away from traditional media, web professionals who specialise in great design and web standards compliant sites are expected to be in increasing demand and with almost 75% of global consumers using the web frequently, a $10,000 investment in a professionally built website will provide a higher return on investment than print advertising with wider reach and exposure, 24 hours a day for several years.

Professional web designers know that design is vital to a successful website – effectively communicating the website’s purpose and providing users with a positive experience.

Offering up downloaded web templates is becoming less acceptable, with site owners and users alike on the lookout for original design work which complements the business’ branding and offline marketing materials.

Some web developers, mainly those relying on blogging software such as Joomla, have long been getting away with charging for creative when in fact, their ‘design’ is limited to minor cosmetic alterations such as swapping out logo’s and colour scheme’s. Sites such as these are easy to spot as apart from the aforementioned alterations, their sites will all have a very similar layout and style to them.

24.8% of the survey’s respondents indicated that weak copy would also prompt them to abandon the site and highlights another area of emerging expertise – with some education establishments beginning to offer specific courses for writing web copy.

The survey’s most important factor for abandoning a website was speed – with over 50% indicating that making them wait was a serious no no. Whilst good designers optimise images and work with stripped-down and streamlined, standards-compliant code, the majority are still relying on bloated, table-ridden code. Other outdated features such as Flash intro pages still abound.

The long and short of it is that todays maturing web users are not only looking for a visually appealing and interactive experience coupled with fresh & regularly updated, well-written content, but want it delivered quickly and effectively. Businesses need to apportion a more appropriate portion of their budget to their web presence and work with professional web designers to provide a more appealing experience to their site visitors.

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