Prepare to Feel Intimidated
The best corporate website designs online are years ahead of their competitors. But the reasons why might surprise you:
1. It’s NOT because they are doing cool designs only possible with the latest and greatest technology.
2. It’s NOT because they have features and functionality no one else can get.
3. It’s NOT because what they have to talk about is inherently easy to explain or entertaining.
It’s because they apply the science of usability in an elegant and beautiful way.
Take a look – The top sites use readily available technology and functionality. Go to SmashingApps.com and search for “Most Attractive (39) Corporate Website Designs Of Top Brands.” Notice how these sites all give you a bright, almost happy feeling? Yet not all of them use bright colors. The designs aren’t the same either. Checkout the variety in layout, even though they feel familiar.
These websites are all:
2. Easy to “take in”
The Web is like… The Web
At the birth of the Internet everyone wanted to know what the web would be like: TV? Newspaper? Catalogue? Magazine?
Turns out, the web is like the web. After a decade of experimentation, there are certain kinds of sites we like to interact with and certain kinds we don’t. When creating the best corporate website designs, realize that the web isn’t about a look, a technology, or a tool. It’s about a feeling.
The Karmic Web
Extensive studies in human computer interaction have shown that people enter a calm state of “flow,” similar to athletes, when they interact with a website that responds with predictable intervals of small chunks of value.
This is why you can page through tons of items on Amazon.com, but struggle to make it through a few pages of eBay. It turns out that there is a way of interacting online that feels right and when a site fails to achieve that it creates a tangible, gnawing feeling in your visitor’s brain.
You’ve probably experiences this. Certain sites just grate on you, fraying your nerves and clouding your ability to think. That’s because your brain is experiencing needless sensory overload, processing a bunch of information you aren’t interested in. Your filter is working over time. That’s not the feeling you get when interacting with the best corporate website designs.
The Ugly Truth
So why are there so many sites that are difficult to use, but we still use them? In short, because using a tool properly is about efficiency, and many online businesses just don’t have to be efficient to win… yet.
These sites increase the burden on their visitors to achieve their goal unintentionally, but the visitors who really want the value get the reward. That comes at a cost, a large one. To put this in stark terms, one luxury item website we worked with doubled their sales just by redoing their site design. 100% increase. Yes, they were making good money online because what they sold was hard to find, but by creating one of the best corporate website designs in their industry, they made a lot more.
Scanning for Intelligent Life Forms
Nearly as soon as the printed word went digital, the way we consumed information changed from reading to “scanning” – rapidly searching through content for answers rather than consuming all of it.
Because the web is interactive, it is connecting to our brains in a much more rapid way than print, and much more direct way that passive media like TV. Look at heat maps of how people look at the best corporate website designs.
Website user attention is focused on the areas most likely to reward them with something they want, and notice that their brains automatically and totally avoid all other areas.
Websites built to throw out a bunch of banner ads might as well be a page of useless information, because for all intents and purposes, they aren’t even seen.
The First Law
If your site is focused on telling visitors about you and what you do, you are losing business.
The first and most important step you can take before building your next site is to write a comprehensive list of why people reach out to your company. This allows you to create an idea of the best corporate website designs for your audience.
The next step is to map out everything that happens from there.
This map will tell you what your website needs to be, because to the furthest extent possible, your company’s interactions should be replicated on the web, not its identity.
This isn’t to take people out of the equation; just the opposite. Companies who use their sites to interact with customers report that their customers feel they’ve received more personal attention after the change, and employees have stated they are better able to attend to each customer’s unique needs.
Now you’re ready for the Ten Commandments.