Like with anything, it’s the balance of prioritising both front and back-end elements that realise a final, show-stopping product. A website that focuses too much on aesthetics and not enough on usability, for instance, can ultimately be frustrating for the user. Fashion brand Yelvy’s website is a keen example of this predicament; although unique, the design takes some time to understand. Unfortunately, time is money––especially on an e-commerce site. The downside to having a gasp-worthy layout is that if sellable information isn’t immediately provided to the user, they aren’t likely to waste time searching for it.
Now, one might think to themselves, “I’m a patient person, I don’t mind sacrificing my time if the site looks good.” Statistically, however, they’d be wrong. According to Google, more than half of mobile visitors will leave a page that takes more than just three seconds to load. And the more graphics, videos, or animation a page has, the harder it is for it to load quickly. All hope is not lost, however! A good web development agency can most definitely create a website that not only looks beautiful, but runs both quickly and intuitively.
To prove it, I have compiled five very different but very satisfying website designs for some inspiration:
Harry’s - (Not) All About Aesthetics
Upon first glance, this site might not look like anything special. But from the moment one clicks into it, the brand, the product, and the calls to action are all abundantly clear. A neutral colour palette emphasises the product’s universality, a video-header gives the page something extra without detracting from the actual product, and simple graphics affirm the brand’s ethos. The end result is an aesthetically pleasing and aesthetically consistent site that is minimalistic, and has the perfect balance of less is more.
Muse - Explain Your Product
I've learned that one of the hardest things for a website to execute well is educating the shopper. What is the product? What does it do? How does it work? Why do you need it? These are all questions that need to be answered concisely, yet thoroughly. Some brands admittedly have it easier than others––after all, Harry’s doesn’t need to explain to you what a razor is or how to use it. Tech companies often have it the hardest, which is why (with the exception of Apple) one might find their websites less focused on aesthetics, and more on making those answers known. Muse uses high-quality photos and graphics in conjunction with written explanations to showcase their technology. The result is both easy on the eyes, and makes understanding product usage and advantages crystal clear to understand.
Orangina - Know Your Audience
Needless to say, a website does not have to be dull to have good usability. Orangina uses creative templates such as block formations, neon colour systems, and bold typography to accentuate their brand and captivate their (likely younger) audience. At the same time, nutritional information and flavour breakdowns are in the appropriate places, and clearly legible––it’s the best of both worlds.
Femme & Fierce - Original Flair
It can be hard for e-commerce sites to differentiate themselves from one another. Imagine your favourite fashion brand’s website: besides from their products, what distinguishes it from their competitors? Femme & Fierce found a simple but effective way to give their site that ‘special touch’: when hovering over an image, small, animated, graphic eyes, lips, and lollies suddenly appear around the cursor. This hover animation does not detract from the clothing, nor does it harm page speed; it’s the perfect balance between memorability and efficiency - allowing the brand to jump out at you in an adorable way.
Helix Mattress - Purposeful Design
Another struggle many brands face is how to convey lots of product information. On one hand, if a company offers lots of specialisation, they want to emphasise that fact. On the other hand, no one wants to read an essay about a product before buying it. Helix Mattresses found a happy middle-ground by combining icons and short marketing tag-lines emphasise product selling points. In conjunction with a page template that is clean and clear, it all works together coherently to allow the customer to digest helpful information quickly.
These five, exemplary sites that I came across in my day to day research, all bring something different to the table. While Orangina and Femme & Fierce are fun and bright, Helix Mattresses and Muse are more corporate and information-heavy, and Harry’s lies somewhere in the middle. The respective website styles all match the brands’ personality––without pulling attention away from the products at hand.
As I close out another week at Butter, I am continually surprised at how much I have learned in so little time. Though far from a professional Digital Marketer, everyday I receive feedback and advice from seasoned experts. Now understanding the process that drives web development, I have already noticed a difference in my perception when viewing sites; in the coming weeks, I am excited to see how else I grow.