Tag Archives: Design

5 ways to get more sales on your

5 ways to get more sales on your ecommerce website

Let’s get going with 5 simple ways to increase your conversion rate, and get more sales from your website:

1. Keep it Simple

This is the number one rule of all e-commerce websites and cannot be stressed enough. Complicated or confusing checkout processes with lots of options or lack of clear navigation put off more customers than anything else. You should try your checkout yourself, or better still watch someone who has never used your site try it out. How do they get on? Is it always clear to them what to do next?

2. Clear Pricing & Costs

The second biggest loss of customers comes about when a checkout starts to add on costs. Of course dellivery costs are often added on during a checkout. Keep these costs as low and as SIMPLE as possible. Don’t try to hide your delivery costs, the later on in the process the customer becomes aware of them the more likely they are to drop out. The best way of handling delivery costs is to integrate them into the cost of the product and then offer apparently “free delivery”.

3. Don’t Oversell

Some sites lose business because they try too hard to up-sell or cross-sell. In many ways this goes back to point 1, keeping the entire process simple. But to some visitors aggressive cross-selling is an even bigger put-off. Sometimes you can lose a visitor simply because they move away from the checkout to look at something else you are offering them – and then lose interest and don’t buy at all. Always remember you want to get your customer from product page to payment page as quickly and with as little distraction as possible.

4. Be Careful With Offers

I know we said use discount codes to get customers to visit your website! And yes, we stand by that! But it’s important to present the opportunity to use a discount code carefully and discretely in the checkout. If a customer has a code chances are they are going to be looking for where to use it, so you don’t need to push the fact you accept codes in every visitor’s face. The problem is if a customer doesn’t have a discount code they may feel they are getting a poor deal. They may try going to Google to search for a discount code, and then they are gone, off your site – probably never to return.

5. Offer a Guest Checkout

We all have far too many accounts nowadays. Don’t force your customer to register and setup yet another password just to buy something. Of course offer the feature for those that want it – but every site needs to have a guest checkout route – or you’re just throwing business away.

Waterfall and Agile: An Infographic Comparison of Two Development Methodologies

If you are new to Software Development, it is important to know that there are different schools of thought on the best way to turn your application idea into a reality. In an ideal sense, different methodologies align with different project characteristics that are usually defined by the person or organization paying for the work. However, Segue has found that it is rare that a methodology can be followed in its ideal form, and it takes a hybrid approach and some real-world sensibilities to ensure that your development team can bring the customer’s application to life: within budget, timeline, and meeting or exceeding their expectations.

As a customer of software development services, the following infographic highlights some common project characteristics and how two well-known software methodologies align with them. It would be wrong to promise that you could “Frankenstein” together a development plan by picking from the below list, but this could help you determine what project aspects are most important to you, and which methodology better aligns with your needs.

Connecting to Users Through Emotional Web Design

The foundation of a strong, emotional connection stems from being able to relate to a certain subject. This same principle can be used for making an emotional connection with users on a website. To create a more personal user experience, web designers can use specific design components to engage emotional connections. These components should be refined specifically to the type of brand and their target audience. The components typically associated with emotional web design are imagery, colors, and tone of voice.

Imagery

During an initial first glance, users will quickly decide if a website is visually appealing. Websites with large photo banners can quickly engage a user. In order to ensure that this first encounter is a positive one, brands need to use images that are relatable to their users. People feel more empathic during face-to-face interactions and this applies to photos as well. Users are drawn to faces and connect more when they are able to recognize themselves within a photo, creating an emotional connection.

Colors

Colors play into emotions psychologically and play an important role in setting the tone for a website. Picking the appropriate colors for a website can help elicit a desired response from users. For instance, colors like red and yellow can make users feel anxious or in a hurry and they wouldn’t be suitable colors for a site whose target is to draw users to read content. Blues and greens seem to be a safe bet when appealing to users globally, but even shades of these colors has specific notions tied to them. For example, light and dark blue are considered calming, but dark blue is also a good color to showcase strength and security. Keeping in mind the specific emotional connections users have with colors will help you design a site that better connects more with your target users.

Tone of Voice

Words deliver a message, but tone of voice dictates how that message is received. The simple wording of a header title can form the personality of a website. What tone of voice should a brand’s website communicate to users– professional, empathetic, comedic? The answer should be directly related to what the users are coming to the site for.

Emotional Web Design in Action

Recently, the design team at Segue Technologies has been working on a new project for a company called Caring Village, which is a new, wholly owned subsidiary of Segue Technologies. The Caring Village brand aims to make it easier for caregivers to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate care for their loved one. The website is a collection of resources (including articles and product reviews), while the app is a communication tool that connects family members and friends caring for a loved one. In building the Caring Village website from the ground up, we started with colors and branding, which flowed into the design of the website and apps. Knowing that this is already an emotional subject, our goal as a team has been to put a lot of effort into gaining user connections and maintaining user’s trust with an emotional web design. Here’s how these elements came into play for Caring Village.

Imagery

Throughout caringvillage.com, we use large photo banners with people who emulate our users. This is especially important for the article pages because we want users to value and trust the information we are giving them. By showcasing photos that are relatable, we hope to grasp user’s empathy and personally connect with them. We want the imagery to show that we understand, we care, and we are here to help.

Color

The colors chosen for Caring Village are green, blue, and purple.

  • Green: symbolizes health, new beginnings, and wealth. Green is the easiest on the eyes and should be used to relax and create balance in a design. It is a great color to use if a company wants to depict growth and security, or to inspire possibility.
  • Blue: evokes feelings of calmness and spirituality as well as security and trust. Seeing the color blue causes the body to create chemicals that are calming. Light blues give a more relaxing, friendly feel.
  • Purple: associated with creativity, royalty, and wealth. Purple is often used to soothe or calm a viewer.

 Tone of Voice

We wanted Caring Village’s tone to sound empathetic, knowledgeable, encouraging, and innovative. Some of the information on the Caring Village site discusses subjects that can be very sensitive to people who are caring for a sick loved one. In writing our content, we try hard to maintain a tone of voice that expresses to our users that we understand and value their needs.

At the end of the day our main goal is to make a connection between the user and the website. When taking into consideration images, colors, and tone of voice on a website, always put the users first.

Web Design & Software

Web Design & Software

Did you know….. we don’t just create innovative web designs that help your business grow…. we also do software development?

Over the years Webfuel have helped many clients with advanced software development projects including:

  • An online clinical database that is currently tracking over 300,000 clinical episodes for over 60,000 patients
  • A project management database used by a university research departments to track grant applications
  • An order delivery and dispatch system for a national confectionary retailer that schedules the production and dispatch of hundreds of orders a day
  • A bespoke event tracking and booking system for a national training company

These are just a few examples of the kind of software projects we’ve worked on.

Our software is web based, meaning it can be accessed from any web browser. We bring the same level of expertise in usability to our software design as we do to our web design.

We make use of a range of core technologies when developing web based software applications including:

  • C#
  • Microsoft ASP.NET Core
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Angular
  • TypeScript

We can host your software application in Microsoft Azure data centres giving you unrivaled levels of security and scalablity.

Do you need a bespoke software application? Is there an area of your business process that would benefit from a system that is custom made to work the way you work, and that can be adapted and developed as your needs change?

Many business could make substantial savings and increases in productivity if some area of their process was moved into an online custom software application. If you think there may be some way we could help you with online bespoke software then please give us a call.

We’re always happy to talk though ideas with no obligation or hard sell.

Web Design trends in 2016

2 distinct and somewhat opposite web design trends we’ll be seeing more of in 2016 are the use of rich illustrations and animation.

Rich Illustrations

In the past web site designers have relied heavily on stock photography and image libraries to provide the visual elements of their designs. Something that has become more prevalent in 2015 and that will carry on into 2016 and beyond is the use of original art work either created using traditional or computer based art tools.

With consumers becoming immune to the stock photography that is often overused and repeated across web sites hand-drawn imagery offers warmth, authenticity and originality.

Some brands will soon be associated not just with their logo and colours but also with the art style that they contain. The integration of handmade artwork in web design may well become something of a branding calling card.

Richer Animations

The web went through a period of embracing animation with the use of Flash, however once this lost its appeal due to cross platform, seo and usability issues the web became increasingly static for a good few years. However we are now again embracing rich animations, the web has never been more dynamic with so much use of animated elements within design, and it’s only going to get better.

Animation if used well can engage the user and enhance storytelling. It can make a website feel more interactive and engage the user with an experience that is more than a basic portal to source information on a business, product or service.

As with any design tool it’s important not to go over the top  Overuse will distract the user and become irritating rather than enhancing. Animations should be kept simple and thematically consistent. By “thematically consistent” I just mean that the animations are used in a similar way throughout the website revealing important details and guiding users through a path. Animations should be used selectively within the site to illustrate important points or to indicate a required action.

how much Page Speed Matters in web design

The speed with which your website loads matters for two reasons. Firstly a fast loading website results in a better user experience and secondly it is one of the factors that Google measures when determining search engine rankings.

There are many factors that can contribute to a slower loading website. One of the first things to do if you’re worried that your site may not be quite up-to-speed is to use the Goole PageSpeed Insights tool.  This is an online tool which can measure your page load speed, provide an overall ranking for technical aspects and user experience, and provide help on how to improve the speed of your site. You can access this online tool by clicking here.

The first bottleneck of a site’s loading speed is the server itself. There isn’t necessarily a huge amount you can do here other than move to a different server. Shared hosting servers offered by the large hosting companies tend to be slower because the hosting companies put a lot of sites onto each server. On the other hand private servers (such as the server Webfuel use for their own clients) are usually faster.

The design and more importantly the HTML build of a site is the next factor to consider. There are many technical aspects to the setup of a site which can impact the page load speed. Below we look at a few of the more important aspects.

Top of the list is caching. Caching means that results from website requests are stored so that they can be served even faster the next time. This speeds up page load and reduces the overall demand on the server, again improving performance. There are two types of caching, client side and server side.

With client side caching the site tells visitors to not check back for updates to pages, images or documents for a certain length of time. As a visitor moves back and forth between pages their browser will not need to keep reloading content and so the overall experience will be much faster. Returning to a previously visited page should be more or less instant.

Server side caching happens, as you’d expect, on the server. With a content management system there is often a reasonable amount of work required to render a page. The CMS will use templates to generate pages, which combine aspects of the site design, the navigation and user input content. Once all this information is brought together into a finished page it’s important that the server stores the results so that the next time someone asks for the page it doesn’t have to be regenerated. Of course if you make changes to your site the cached results on the server are no longer valid so should be forgotten.

Another feature of the build that can impact performance is the way in which scripts are added to a page. This is quite a technical subject, but basically the order and location of scripts within a page can significantly delay a page load. If you commonly see your page start to load, freeze and then continue this may be due to the browser having to wait to load and run scripts which are too high up in the page content. Generally scripts should be loaded as late as possible as they always block any further processing of the page until they have loaded and run.

Finally the images of a page should always be optimised for the necessary resolution and quality. Far too often we see sites which are loading huge images only to then display them in a tiny size on the page. This slows down the page load dramatically. Images should whever possible be resized close to, if not exactly, the size they will be displayed on the site. Some content management systems (including our own) offer the feature to automatically resize the image on the server before delivering it to the client which can help reduce the burden on maintaining image sizes yourself.

 

8 things for website redesign

With all the experience and knowledge gained from your previous websites a website redesign should be an opportunity to turn your web presence into a success. However due to a lack of proper thought and planning many redesigns can still fail to meet a business’s needs. Things to consider and discuss with your web team prior to any redesign work commencing include the following:

1. Identify the purpose of the website

Decide what the website is actually required to do. This may have been something that you looked at when you first had your website built, but has your business changed?

  • Is the website there to provide basic information?
  • Are you looking to get sales or enquiries?
  • Does the website need to support existing clients or employees?
  • Do you want to build a full community around the brand and encourage reviews making the website more social?

Knowing what you want to accomplish through the website will help to determine its design, structure and the platform/software that the website will be built in.

2. Analyze your existing website’s metrics

If search engine positions are important for your website then you should have a full review of your website metrics prior to planning your redesign. Evaluate your current site’s performance to help analyze your current positioning and attainment. Metrics to consider include –

  • number of visitors,
  • click-thru-rate,
  • bounce rate,
  • time on site,
  • and current SEO rankings.

Come armed with this information to your first meeting with your web designer (or at least with access to your analytics so you can review it together) to ensure weak points are addressedand strong areas are not lost in the redesign, which could then negatively impact your seo or user experience.

3. What’s working on your current website and what isn’t

With your marketing team make a list of everything that you like about your current website. It could be the navigation, certain pages or functionality, or parts of the design. Identify what is currently “working” so that you know what you want to keep with the next iteration. Then do the reverse, working through the areas of the website which you want to change, which customers have problems with or search engines don’t pick up on.

It may also be worth asking a loyal customer or someone not directly associated with your website what they like (or don’t like). Giving you an unbiased view. It could be that an area of the website of which you are fond, such as a Flash navigation, actually annoys your customers and acts as a deterrent in getting people through your website.

4. Can the new website save you time and money?

When looking at a website redesign it is worth having a quick review of your business and it’s day to day processes. Is there a particular question clients are always asking or a process you spend lots of time on, which could be automated. Talk to your website designer about ‘painful’ or time consuming areas of your business to see whether the website can be used to better support your client base or even automate some of your internal processes.

5. What’s the most important part of the website?

Every website has a focal point, an area you want to draw people to, to promote your business or a call to action. For some it’s the contact form, for others it’s a blog or an ebook, maybe it’s your case studies or services section, or it could be your client testimonials. Your new design should emphasize these areas and help them to get more attention. Put teasers on the home page with a call-to-action drawing them in. Make sure they’re accessible from every page on your website. Provide incentives for visitors who make it to these pages and take a desired action. Your website should be set up to funnel people to these pages so that you’re sure they’re seeing them.

6. Look at the competition

While it isn’t wise to obsess about what your competitors are doing, it can be very helpful to understand where they may be out selling and out foxing you. Look at how they are marketing themselves and their services. Don’t copy your competition but instead use it as an opportunity to learn where you can improve your website.

7. Develop your USP

Before you begin developing content for your new website, be sure you identify what makes you unique and be sure that this messaging is consistent across your entire website. It’s important you immediately answer why someone should contact you or otherwise stay on your website rather than look at your competitors.

8. Have an ongoing content development strategy

A consistent stream of valuable, informative content not only supports your customers and ensures you look knowledgeable and experienced in your industry, but it also helps you gain good positions in the search engines. Develop a strategy for building this content on the new website, assigning roles and specifying targets for ongoing content production.

My website should be mobile responsive?

If you keep yourself up-to-date in online marketing or are the person responsible for maintaining your company website, then no doubt you will have come across the latest term in usage regarding a website’s design and build – responsive design. This article covers the topic from a client’s perspective, answering the topical questions that our clients are coming to us with regarding this subject.

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at creating websites which provide an optimal viewing experience (including easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling) across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones.

Does my website design need to be responsive?

To answer this you should first take a look at your website across different devices such as mobiles and tablets. Is the website still functional? Can prospective customers still easily access the most important information? Are the visitor paths you aim to draw people into and business aims of the original website still met?

Next study the statistics behind the users that visit your website. This may be collected by a service such as Google Analytics and your web design company should be able to give you access to them. By looking at how many visitors are accessing your website via a mobile phone or ipad you can assess how important a responsive web design is to you and your business at this precise point in time.

With research predicting that by 2015 more people will access the internet via their phone than their computer, even if you conclude that a responsive website design is not currently a priority, to future proof your website a responsive design should be something to consider when you next think about a redesign for your website.

What are the advantages of having a responsive design versus a separate mobile website?

With Responsive Design, your web design company will create one design that will automatically adapt itself based on the screen size of the viewing device used. This approach offers several advantages over the traditional method of maintaining separate mobile and desktop based websites.

  • A responsive design will save you time and money as you don’t have to maintain 2 separate websites, one for desktops and one for mobile phones.
  • Responsive Web Design is the best approach when it comes to your website’s SEO (search rankings). As every page on your website has a single web address you don’t have to worry about situations where some web sites link to your mobile site while others link to your desktop site which would reduce the number of back links to each.
  • Your Google Analytics reports will give a much better picture of your web site’s visitors and usage as the data from mobile and desktop users will be consolidated.
  • The same will be true for the social sharing statistics (Facebook Likes, Tweets, +1′s) since the mobile and desktop versions of your web pages will no longer have different URLs.
  • Responsive web site designs are easier and therefore cheaper to maintain as they do not involve any server-side components. You just have to modify the underlying CSS of a page to change its design on a particular device.
  • Earlier design methods where 2 separate web sites were maintained looked at user agent strings to determine the mobile device name and the browser that is making the request. This is not always accurate and as the number of devices and mobile browsers grows daily this matrix has become very difficult to maintain. Responsive Design doesn’t care about user agents.

Do you need help with an assessment of your current website or with the development of a responsive version of your website? We can help! Call us on  8058007341  for a free consultation.