According to specialists, we are entering a “design and creativity renaissance” era, where the most successful brands and businesses shift their focus from the product towards the customer. New surveys in digital trends and online marketing reveal that a truly digital-native culture should focus more on customer centricity.
In the field of online commerce and web design, companies tend to put great emphasis on building an even better customer experience. Regarding CX, it seems that optimizing customer experience is the top priority.
However, what does customer centricity means in a relationship with online businesses and web design? Simply put, customer-centric websites offer their clients more than just good customer service, but a veritable experience, from the awareness stage to the post-purchase stage.
The strategy is to put your customer first, at the front and center of your business. Let us see today ten customer-centric web design decisions and changes you need to make today to pick up the CX trend and step up your game in the digital business world!
1. Change/Optimize The Website Platform
It is probably the biggest decision you should take: keep the actual platform and optimize it or change it altogether. One of the most basic strategies in web design is offering the user a friendly place to land. You can achieve high levels of friendliness by two means: the website’s functions and features, and visual appeal.
- A new website platform / optimized one can help you with both. When you choose your platform, you need to take into account the following factors:
- A clear and intuitive website structure that perfectly reflects and matches your company goals and your customers’ needs and wishes. Some experts say you should still include a sitemap on your website to help the less tech-savvy customers move around smoothly.
- A design with fast loading times in mind;
- Choose a platform that offers the best and easiest UX depending on your customers’ personas, needs, and wishes.
A good choice of platforms and builders is likely to lower your bounce rate and appeal to the user to interact with the website.
2. Invest In On-Site Search Engine Optimization
Many think that SEO does not have a direct relationship with web design. On the contrary, the two of them are parts of a greater picture. If you want to be successful in the fiercely competitive world of online business and make your website customer-centric, you need to take SEO very seriously, as it is one of the core components of customer centricity.
- Optimize the website according to the new Google algorithms;
- Integrate social media on your website, as it will favor SEO;
- Include beautiful pictures and videos – which do not harm your loading times – and optimize them from an SEO point of view;
- Keep Java scripts and Flash on the low side;
- Make sure you incorporate the right keywords in the website’s design as well, not only in the written or visual content of the website.
3. Cut Down On Fluff & Obtrusive Pop-ups
If there was ever a good time to eliminate aggressive pop-ups, ads, endless texts, and fluff from your website, it is now. According to some studies reviewed by Neil Patel, more than 70% of customers reported that they found popups to be annoying. These data come from 2013, and we expect no changes in the attitude nowadays.
In the customer-centric approach to website design, people come first. Your website is there to offer them the information they need or solve the problem they have. While it is true that the marketing and sales teams love popups, ads, and flashy fluff on your site, your customers, do not.
4. Use Eye-Tracking To Design Or Optimize Your Website
Eye tracking software is all the rage right now and for all the good reasons. This process helps you test the website’s usability and figure out the connections between your site’s content and the user’s attention and interests. If you want to step up your game, you should begin looking beyond click rates. Eye tracking will help you understand and make changes related to:
- How users navigate your website;
- What categories, buttons, tabs, pictures, and ads your visitors look at and use the first and the most;
- Whether the users read the content or scan it;
- Record the total time the users spend performing a certain task;
- The number of times users hit the Back button to navigate the website;
- Understand the users’ clickstream and optimize the stream.
Eye tracking, in short, helps your design team (and SEO experts) change the website’s architecture, looks, and flow, so the users experience a smooth sail, reaching the pages/information/products they need in the shortest amount of time.
5. Rethink Social Media Integration
It sounds like a no-brainer, but many websites and online businesses fail to understand the power of social media and the advantage it offers. Beyond the brand’s Facebook page, you have an entirely digital world where people dwell, learn, have fun, communicate, share information, advocate for a brand, and so on.
Today, it is not enough to place a social media button on every page. You need to think bigger, regarding YouTube integration, Google+ (you may also want to look into their Digital Publishing Solution), and more.
When you rethink your website’s design, you need to step into your ideal customer’s shoes: is the content something they would recommend to others? Are the elements something to like, share, advocate for, etc.? Does the website – in the way it looks and functions – tell a story worthy of becoming a social media conversation starter?
6. Invest In Business Storytelling
The concept of business storytelling is quite complex, and it kept marketers on their toes for many years now. Fortunately, it will keep them on edge for a while longer because it became one of the core-concepts of customer centricity.
In short, advocates of business storytelling say that customers will become loyal to you and lobbyists for your brand as long as they identify with your story.
It means that your entire design, content, and marketing approach should focus on sparking positive emotions in the users, from the moment they search for you online to the moment they come back to you for yet another purchase.
In web design, storytelling and customer centricity can take some of the following paths:
- Make users the central characters of the story by asking them direct questions and directing them through the website as lead protagonists;
- Create an immersive environment through high-end visuals and sounds and by using tasteful parallax techniques;
- Focus on gamification and interaction web design;
- Consider responsive visuals;
- Keep the story elements in check: the entire website experience of your user should have a beginning, a middle, and an end;
- Make sure you connect all the story elements with UX.
7. Go Mobile First
If Google launches “mobile first” algorithms, you need to take things seriously. It is unlikely that your website does not come with a state-of-the-art mobile version, but if it does not, stop everything you’re doing and focus on it.
Officially, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches. Fortunately, mobile web designs evolved together with users’ tendencies and trends. Today we have the means and the methods of offering amazing landing pages, menus, submenus, and buttons for the smallest of screens.
If UX gives you some troubles when it comes to mobile design, you can use the customers’ feedback to fix the issues through direct micro-interactions with them. After all, this is what user centricity means: asking people what they want and offering it to them.
8. Focus On Custom Illustrations
If you are tired of stock photos and finding the same images on the internet no matter the brand and the business, imagine your customers are twice as fed up with the easy ways of web design.
Custom illustrations, on the other hand, come from professional artists that understand who you are, what your clients want, and what tone to use to make the entire experience fun, engaging, interactive, shareable, and memorable.
In a market that becomes more and more crowded, you need to stand out by finding your voice. Custom illustrations help you tell your brand’s story and keep customers coming back for more. It is a more personal approach to people trying to make sense of the loud internet noise.
9. Invest In Creative, Custom Typeface
Low-key, discrete, shy UX is no longer the favorite trend these days. As our devices increase in quality, most of them featuring excellent resolution and displaying capabilities – even, or especially, the mobile ones – we start seeing some interesting changes in web design.
One of these changes refers to bigger, bolder, more creative typeface. Typography is still a powerful visual tool we use to create emotion and connection with the reader. As devices become sharper and web browsers more flexible in supporting custom fonts, we will soon see a new era of large letters, bold contrasts, attention-drawing headers, and more.
Since headers are important for SEO and keep the user navigating easily through the website, bigger and bolder typeface is a design element you should further explore.
10. Play It Safe, But Not Too Safe
We keep advocating for the clear, intuitive, UX-perfect, logic website design. However, unconventional websites are the ones making history nowadays. The trend of broken grids and layouts, with an emphasis on asymmetry and surprise, began around 2016, and it still going very strong.
As one can easily imagine, the appeal of an asymmetrical and unconventional layout resides in its experimental flair, uniqueness, and distinctiveness. For a customer-centric approach, this is very important, because it offers users a different type of experience in comparison to traditional websites.
It is a risky strategy for small brands, but for bigger brands switching towards novelty, broken grids improved UX and set them apart as pioneers. Being a pioneer enhances your storytelling strategy, attracts new customers, keeps the loyal ones in awe, and, ultimately, converts.
Web Design – Conclusion
In other words, your website needs to offer users a positive customer experience through-and-through. On the contrary, the customer will drive negativity towards your website and brand. It seems that 13% of unhappy customers have the power of influencing 15 other people with whom they share their complaints about.
If you are interested in even more design-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.