No one is a more rabid A/B tester than Google, yet it’s no secret that they haven’t been very prolific designers. With their iconic spartan search page that hasn’t changed much for many years and many of their products following suit, when Google dives head first into taking design seriously this should be the final wake up call for those of you who have been using them as an excuse for a owning a website that looks and performs like crap.
Being concise and muted
With the launch of Google+ we started seeing upgrades cropping up all over the Google suite, and even more recently we are seeing a consolidation of their branding by dropping the brands of Blogger and Picasa and instead calling those products Google Blogs and Google Pictures which will bring a more continuous look and feel to their suite of products. These brands lend themselves to being concise and much more easily articulated to consumers seeing as how the Google brand is now one of the most coveted, recognized and valuable brands on the earth.
Being ‘muted’ is all about delivering a compelling experience without overselling it through too many flashy objects (an in a lot of cases actually avoiding the literal use of Flash) and instead using soft color tones, unique feeling typography and a clean spartan design that give a clear call to action and leave plenty of white spaces for your users to distinguish between various objects and compartments of your website design. This will allow them to understand what they are being asked to do and what your value proposition is without being overwhelmed.
Earning your visitors trust
For many sales online, sales are essentially the arbitrage of trust you have built with your audience. What this means is that people are willing to buy from you because they trust you, and each time you ask them to buy something you will lose a few “followers” and feel less valuable to your users in the process. Most marketers get over this by keeping a steady stream of fresh visitors and providing as much value for free to their audience in between asking them to buy stuff to at the very least balance out the trust arbitrage.
But what is the difference between this and simply having good design? Of course you need to provide value to your audience, they need to trust you and feel good about the relationship – but even if you are giving away the world in a package that looks like ass your sales are going to suffer. This is where the time and resource investment of quality design comes into play. Your audience will trust you more as well as be more willing to buy your products when you have good design because it articulates what you are selling, what the value proposition is and it feels like it has the polish that only the highest quality product would have.
To put it simply, every audience desires and is willing to pay for the following:
1. Something of value (it solves a problem or perceived problem they have)
2. Something of quality (fit and finish that they feel they deserve)
3. Something of scarcity (an item, service, or experience that is not easily replicable)
Knowing this, how is your website design hurting your conversions? What aspect of your value proposition is lacking because you weren’t willing or able to put in the additional resources to articulate in a way that solved all 3 of the above requirements for a successful consumer product?