Designing Functional Sites
Most companies know that to really grow their business, you need to have a strong online presence. Online transactions and commerce has really boomed the past decade as entrepreneurs utilized this tool in getting their products or services across a wider audience. It is an effective and cost efficient way to ensure a successful enterprise.
The problem is that with the increased popularity of businesses online, consumers are less patient with sites that are not giving them what they need. Designing functional sites are therefore a critical factor when you decide to pursue a business online.
There are several factors that you need to take on when designing sites. The first is to consider your product/service’s goal and your target audience. If you are say, a clothes retailer, you need to design your site to please your consumers. It has to be a visually appealing site, with clear instructions on how to purchase the items they like. The less complicated the process is, the better for them, and the higher the probability that you will get that sale.
Remember, users do not like to think a lot when they are going through a site. Even if they started clicking on the “buy” button, if they feel that it is taking up too much time, they will get impatient and cancel the transaction.
Examples of Functional Website Designs:
1. Criminal Lawyers Site
Some examples of different types of functional website designs can be found in the criminal lawyers Sydney space with the site known as CriminalSolicitorSydney.com. This particular site showcases an experienced criminal lawyer located in Sydney, Australia, and shows clearly what the lawyer has to offer to a criminal client, including specific services such as bail applications, mental health applications pursuant to section 32 of the Mental Health legislation, as well as detailing the types of offences that this Sydney criminal lawyer deals with. Those offences include common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, domestic violence Court matters, drink driving offences, fraud and other “white collar” offences, public order offences such as affray, stealing and robbery charges, and many more.
2. Healthy Dog Food Ratings and Reviews Site
A completely different example of a functional site design on the subject of pets, and specifically dog health, is the excellent HealthierDogs.com site. This is a site that is dedicated to keeping dogs healthy by means of holistic remedies and strategies, and most importantly, healthy brands of dog foods that can sometimes be difficult to identify in a market where pet foods are marketed by many of the huge conglomerates in order to offload byproducts from their other products. More often than not, this means that the dog food produced is very substandard. So it is refreshing to be able to go to a functional website that can educate readers about much more healthy alternatives for dog foods with reviews and ratings that you can actually trust.
3. Wall Decor Items – Bull Skull website
Yet a third completely different functional site design is a retail store specialising in home decor items such as the very popular AureusArts.com carved buffalo skulls and bull skulls, as well as gorgeous carved ram skulls with the very impressive large horns, horse skulls and carved wild boar skulls. These skull carvings can be placed on a wall as a feature piece alternative to, say, a painting, or they can be placed on a stand and stood anywhere in the room where it will take pride of place. These skulls are sourced completely cruelty free, and Indonesian artisans support their families with these intricate works of art. This site does showcase other types of artworks and wall decor items, so you should take a good look at the site. The beautiful carved skulls are my favorite items on the site, and hence the reason for my using them as the example.
Essential Tips for a Functional Site:
This is why it is generally not a good idea to have users fill up forms before they actually get to experience what you are offering them. It is time consuming and more than that, the person will feel like the site will inconvenience them in the future with needless questionnaires and product/service offerings. Having the user test out the service for free first will give you a higher chance of getting them to sign up afterward.
Content is king when it comes to sites. Information is very valuable and giving quality content, especially without asking for anything in return, is a very powerful come on especially for first time users. Make sure that the content you have in your site is simple and clear, with the emphasis given on the important features. You should communicate a simple and unambiguous message that will not confuse the readers.
Aside from the actual content, be mindful of how the content is organized and displayed on the page. Never underestimate the value of readability in content. The font should have only 2 or 3 typefaces and font size that does not vary much. Keep colors and symbols within the text to a minimum and let the sentences be short and concise.
Not a lot of people know this but users do not read, they scan. This means that if you put in a whole block of heavy content right smack in the middle of the page, there is a big chance that first time users will not read it. Users’ eyes usually go left and right rather than read straight down because they are scanning the page to look for the link or information that they need. When they do, they forego everything else and click the link.
You need to make the most out of what you know about your users and potential customers. Since most first time users have shorter attention span to the specifics in your site, do not bog them down with heavy handed articles, complicated systems and vague messages. Keep it short and simple, engage them with the visuals, and utilize the white space effectively. Remember, the longer you keep them in your site, the higher the probability that they will buy what you are offering them.
When your site becomes successful, there is a good chance that other companies will want to advertise in your site. This is a good revenue for you, but be strategic when you implement these ads. Place them in places that will catch the user’s attention, but don’t allow “pop up” ads that distract and annoy the user. You want your customers’ loyalty and you can have this by putting their needs first.
It may take a few months or even years to really establish a successful site, but once you do, do not slack off. Keep testing it regularly so you can stay fresh and service your customers better.