April 10, 2012

Designing with Purpose: The Most Important Question in Website Design

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We humans spend a lot of time contemplating the purpose of all kinds of things but, as a business owner contemplating a new or redesigned website, the purpose of your website is the first and most important decision you can make.

Research shows that users are easily frustrated when they can’t quickly figure out how to complete task or find information on a website. While many elements go into making a website work, it all must begin with a Purpose. If the purpose of your website is unclear in your mind it will be unclear to your designer and ultimately unclear to your customer.

We believe that finding your online purpose is so important in fact, that we suggest taking some time to pour a nice cup of coffee, sit back and take a deep breath, and do some good old fashioned business soul searching – before you dive into your website design process. Of course, a good web designer can – and should - help you find your purpose as well.

Here are FOUR simple questions to get you started as you seek your higher website purpose.

  1. If a visitor could only do one thing on your website what would it be?
  2. In one short sentence, what is your message? What do you want a visitor to know when they leave your site?
  3. What is the most important emotion you want someone to feel when they first visit your site?
  4. When a visitor leaves your site, what action do you want them to take? E.g. visit your brick and mortar store? Visit again to buy another item? Tell their friends about you?

Luckily, finding your higher website purpose is a lot easier than finding life’s purpose and by answering these straightforward questions, you will be well on the road to a great website!!!

Ross McClenahan

Ross McClenahan is co-owner and Lead Developer at Tree Top Web Design, a Santa Cruz Web Design firm.

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