Many businesses simply consider the appearance of their website. But there is a lot more to effective web design than meets the eye.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Website
I am sure you have seen tons of websites. Most likely, you have one for your business, and perhaps even a personal blog. And much of our daily lives in 2020 involves interacting with websites on a variety of devices. But what you see on a website may very well be different from what we see. You view the design of a site, the skin, as we call it. Underneath that skin is the actual code that makes your website work. And that includes several surprising web design facts you most likely never considered.
If you want to understand the web design process, and how it impacts your site, you must look behind the skin of your website. Very few visitors, if any, consider what happens behind the scenes of a website. Different web browsers interpret code to display your website on the screen, but each does it slightly differently. Even a few extra milliseconds of loading time, desktop and mobile browser variations, the age of the web code, and the content itself all affect user experience and user behavior.
So put your surgical mask and gloves on and get ready to peel back the skin. We are going to take a look deep inside your website to learn about some of the surprising web design facts you may not even know.
9 Surprising Web Design Facts
1. Each Web Browser Renders Websites Differently
Have you ever looked at a familiar website, but on a different browser? Did you notice a few (or a lot) of little differences? No, you were not hallucinating! One of our surprising web design facts is that each browser displays or renders websites differently. And that’s just for desktops; things get even more complicated when you add mobile browsers. So what exactly is going on here?
It all depends on parsing and rendering, or the way that web browsers interpret code and display it on your screen. Each browser will load the code in a particular order, and sometimes browsers can’t recognize specific code at all. For all you hardcore geeks in the audience, Hackernoon has an excellent breakdown of how web browsers work.
Browser differences make it more challenging to create a website that provides a consistent user experience to everyone. That is one reason why you should hire a professional web designer or agency. They are familiar with HTML and CSS standards, known browser issues, and the ways to work around potential hurdles. It is your web designer’s job to ensure that your website looks good and functions properly across many different browsers.
Here at PixoLabo, we perform extensive cross-browser compatibility testing to identify potential issues and establish necessary fixes for those issues, before a website goes live. If you would like to see how your site renders on different desktop browsers, use this handy FREE browser testing tool. And here you can check how your website looks on a variety of smartphones.
2. Website Code is a Search Ranking Factor
Most people have never even considered the next of our surprising web design facts. Even the most innovative and beautiful website ever won’t matter if nobody views and uses that website. Professional web designers code your site to make it attractive to both search engines and human visitors.
Your website code also affects how your search engine listings look. That includes everything from the title of the web page in the search results to the Meta description of your site that appears below the title in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Search engines are a great source of new traffic for your website. You can take additional steps to optimize your website through on-page and on-site SEO fully.
3. Responsive Design, Mobile Design, and Mobile-First Design are Different
These differences are another of our surprising web design facts. Most users never really consider what needs to happen to render a website on their smartphone. The different approaches to shifting screen sizes in mobile design, responsive design, or mobile-first design complicate things even more.
Mobile design is an outdated approach in 2020, yet some websites still use it. Mobile design serves up a separate and often limited, version of your website that displays on smartphones and tablets. However, not only does this approach only give mobile viewers a limited version of your site. Separate mobile sites are a direct violation of the Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update of 2017! So better get with it if you still have a mobile site.
Responsive design, on the other hand, is extremely flexible, allowing websites to resize and reflow their layout based on the visitor’s screen size. That gives visitors a consistent experience from large-screen, high-resolution LCD TV monitors to the smallest smartphone touchscreens. Responsive websites will simply adapt to their environment while maintaining the same stunning images, typefaces, and navigational options.
Mobile-first web design is just as it sounds: sketching, prototyping and designing for mobile-first and then scaling up to larger screens from there. Mobile-first web design makes sure you provide the best mobile user experience and usability. Mobile-first is simply a term or concept for mobile-optimized web design. As the name implies, with this strategy, mobile-oriented sites are given priority and add additional elements and functionality as screen size increases.
4. Web Design Directs User Behavior
Do you ever read anything from beginning to end? If you are like most mobile consumers in the digital age, the answer is no. Most likely, you are reading this very sentence right now because something directed your attention to it. And that brings us to the next one of our surprising web design facts. You may not know this, but the design of your website is in direct relation to your website visitor’s user behavior.
Users often leave Web pages in 10–20 seconds. Still, pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer. To gain several minutes of user attention, you must communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds. Nielson Norman Group
If your website visitors are unable to scan and identify critical information quickly, they are likely to leave and visit another (your competitor’s?) website instead. And since our brains respond to visual clues, you should provide those. Images, colors and gradients, icons, and graphics work best.
Professional web designers have the experience to create sites that direct viewers to the most vital information, such as your online store, your essential product or service pages, or any other content relevant to both you and your target audience.
5. Visual Content Has Both Positive and Negative Impacts
This one of our surprising web design facts comes in two flavors, good and bad. Yes, multimedia content, including images and videos, is an integral part of an engaging website. However, if misused, they can also lower a website’s performance. Large image and video files can significantly slow down the loading time of your website.
When visitors have to wait longer than 2-3 seconds for a page to load, you risk them getting impatient with your site and leaving for a competitor. To ensure that any multimedia content on a website engages visitors rather than drives them away, be sure to use optimized images and videos. That ensures your site loads quickly while still providing the user experience modern consumers expect. We recommend this free tool for checking your website load speed yourself.
You should also avoid outdated multimedia formats, such as Flash, which are no longer supported by many of today’s mobile devices. Instead, you should only use current standards, like HTML5 video. Adhering to current standards helps website visitors access your media from the broadest range of devices possible, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.
6. You Don’t Need a Fully Completed Site to Launch
Another of our surprising web design facts is that you do not need a fully completed site before launch! We certainly don’t recommend you launch a website that is still under construction. But consider starting with what we call a Minimum Viable Version (MVP) as soon as possible. An MVP can consist of only the Home, About, Product/Service, and Contact pages.
By launching an MVP while you work on other parts of your site, such as a blog, galleries, and FAQs, you gain valuable benefits. Even a small live site will get your brand name in front of your audience. And you can use insights from web analytics as well as user comments to refine the look further and feel of your site.
7. After Two Years (Or Less) Your Website May Be Outdated
So, you have a business website; good for you! But don’t think you can permanently cross that off your to-do list! Another one of our surprising web design facts is that your website may be outdated and obsolete in as little as two years or less! In a very trendy industry or field, your site may not even last that long. And this is not a ploy to keep charging clients, as much as many people think so!
The main culprit is the breakneck pace of technology. As web browsers and mobile devices are continually changing, the actual design and coding of websites must be updated to reflect these changes. And that does not even include staying on top of the latest search engine algorithms, cybersecurity threats, and the all-important Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Hardcore Geek Alert: Check out The Top 61 Official Google Webmaster Guidelines Documents to Know In 2020!
An outdated website runs the risk of not displaying correctly in modern web browsers, having unexpected formatting conflicts, or not showing up in search results. Therefore, it is essential to update your website to keep pace with these changes.
8. Templates and Builders Restrict Your Website Options
Many people turn to website builders and templates as an “easy way out.” Pre-packaged templates and website builders allow anyone to create a website with little to no coding knowledge. But one of our surprising web design facts is that many people believe they have all kinds of available options. They look to get a useful business website at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional. And while that sounds entirely reasonable, it hardly ever works that way!
The fact is that the fancy themes and beautiful examples of sites created through website builders are most often simply window dressing. Most often, themes and builders do not include the images and content shown online, so you will have to create all of that on your own. They do add a whole bunch of things you don’t want, such as bloated code, useless functionality, and unnecessary design elements. And that makes almost all theme or template websites unappealing to search engines and human visitors.
Even worse, many pre-built templates are extremely inflexible in what you can or cannot do with them. Your business website will soon face limitations. Trying to force a website template to do something new can make it look patched-together, like a Frankenstein website. And that is if that template will even allow for those needed changes.
Therefore, I recommend you carefully consider your options before deciding on using a pre-built solution for your business website. Take a look at a comparison between website builders and custom websites.
9. Professional Web Design Costs Between $5,000 – $25,000+
The last of our surprising web design facts is that you do need to consider the cost of your business website as an investment in your business growth and success. And in some cases, it can be a very considerable investment; it all depends on the nature of your business and the website functionality you require.
Good website design can cost from $9,000 to $35,000 and more depending on your specific requirements. Cleveroad
This figure should not surprise you! Consider the number of hours and collective brainpower that goes into optimizing websites for search engines, making content accessible across browsers, and speeding up your website’s loading times. And don’t forget that professional web designers and agencies use professional-level tools and software to ensure your website is all that it can be.
Before you rush out to find a cheaper option, perhaps a freelancer or novice designer, keep in mind that they may be less expensive by the hour. But their inexperience means that you will pay for a lot more hours. And in a worst-case scenario, they will not be able to finish the job, meaning you have to start all over again!
Continuously Improving Web Design to Your Advantage
OK, I can hear you wondering why you need to know these surprising web design facts. The answer is pretty simple. By keeping these surprising web design facts in mind, you can focus on updating and improving your website on an ongoing basis. We call this growth-driven design, and we believe it is the most cost and time-effective way to keep your business website up to date at all times.
As you may have noticed, the complexities of modern web design are intricate and not always apparent. Mobile-first web design requires a high level of updated awareness and attention to detail to create a business website that attracts, engages, and converts more online consumers. You need to keep this in mind as you focus on your business website. We are here to help!
How to Make These Surprising Web Design Facts Work for You
Hopefully, knowing and understanding these surprising web design facts will help you keep your business website ahead of the curve at all times. If you need additional help or have any questions, why not book a consultation with the mobile-first web design experts at PixoLabo. Let us help you with your ongoing website improvement.
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of mobile-first business website consulting and design services, including mobile-first web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand strategy, and design, and business website hosting and maintenance.
Feel free to reach out to us and learn more about our mobile-first business web design services. Our team can determine what type of website will best support your business objectives and build it for you.
Did You Know About These Web Design Facts?
Did you know about these facts when you built your website? If so, did they affect your web design strategy or process? Maybe you have your own web design facts you can share? Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed, so you don’t miss our next post! And help other business owners get an excellent business website without having to go through the DIY business website design pains by sharing this post with them!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!