The single goal of a website is to move and guide your customers toward taking action. For most of us, that action looks like a sale, right?
How well are our websites actually doing this job? This is why conversion-based, or conversion-centered design should be our focus when creating our websites, landing pages, and any marketing materials we put together.
In today’s episode of the Product Powerhouse Podcast we’re getting a bit nerdy and I couldn’t be more excited. We’re talking all things conversion design and user experience, or, UX.
What is conversion-centered design?
Conversion-centered design is designing with a single goal in mind - guiding customers toward taking one single course of action. Like I said before, 90% of that time our goal is achieving a sale.
The principles of conversion-centered design include both visual and psychological and include things like high contrast and color, directional cues like arrows, white space, a sense of urgency, and social proof.
Now, of course, when we are employing psychological principles like a sense of urgency and social proof, we want to do so ethically. Don’t manufacture urgency where there is none - instead, you could offer a trial period or generous return policy.
Why is conversion-centered design so important?
Why does it matter? Why should we care about helping our customers take action? Does it still feel a bit salesy to you?
Giving people one thing to do helps reduce distractions and makes it very obvious what they are supposed to do on the website. The more options you give a visitor, the more distracted and overwhelmed they will be. We want to use our websites to support our customers’ focus, not dismantle it.
A great example of enhancing your customer’s focus through design is one of my past clients, the Fox and Stone. Their homepage does one thing - it points you toward the shop. What action should you take on the website? “Start your design journey.”
Using the design principle of focus helps reduce the amount of work it takes for a customer to make a purchase. To do this we make sure all important information is in an easy-to-find location and is presented in an easy-to-consume way. An example of this is having product care instructions listed on the product page if after care is an important part of the care process.
More about user-experience, or, UX
The concept of user experience design, or UX design, is simple. At its simplest, it’s designing with the user in mind. How will they experience the page? How do the colors, the words, the buttons, the white space - everything - come together to form something the customer browses?
UX design means you’re not creating anything haphazardly or just because you like the way it looks. It means you create the page to intentionally support and engage the viewer, your customer.
How you can employ conversion-centered UX in your Shopify storefront
“Okay, but Erin, I’m not a UX designer” - I hear you. You don’t have to be! Here are a few UX design tips you can use on your Shopify website today to make sure your site is conversion friendly.
Function over design. Yes, sometimes we have to prioritize the functionality of our site over how beautiful it looks. A great example of this is using a review app to display customer reviews. They aren’t the prettiest, but they are really effective and people trust them.
Giving buttons when we want people to take action. Hyperlinked text alone isn’t enough to tell people, ‘Hey, you can click me!’ Buttons draw the attention and make your Call-to-Action clear.
Always give someone their next steps. Your website should be a great tour guide, always saying, ‘Right this way, folks!’ Every page on your site should have a button or something to do once they get to the end of the page. This goes back to that #1 goal of conversion-centered design.
Create flow by using different types of sections, backgrounds and areas within a page which makes someone want to stop and read. It signals to our brain, ‘oh this is different, stop and look at it.’
Provide enough information on a page. Social media and apps have completely changed the way we navigate websites. Twenty years ago, we would click from one page to another, but now we can just keep scrolling. That means we can give more information on a page and make it easier for customers to consume what we have to say….but that means we also have to keep engaging - which is where those different sections come into play.
Use their language. Clearly describe products using words your customer would expect when think about your products (hint - this is also exactly what SEO is about when it comes to your products).
Use really great photos. That’s it. Invest in great photography.
Other things to consider when designing for conversions
Technical aspects of your site are also important. If your customer can’t easily navigate your store, they’ll simply walk away because it’s not worth their effort. A few technical things to keep in mind:
How quickly does the site load?
Is it mobile- friendly?
Are your text and buttons big enough to see with good contrast?
Do you use headings to make the text scanable?
Are your collections/products organized for easy browsing?
Is your check-out easy to use? Having an easy to use checkout (thank you Shopify!)
Do you have auto-fill options?
Do you have search functionality?
User design doesn’t have to be super techy or complicated! Keep it simple, prioritize serving your customer on the page, and help your shopper focus - you’ll have a conversion-boosting website in no time!