Fast, Intuitive, Responsive Web Design Wins In Williamsburg

LWYang from USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Williamsburg: Textbook Definition of Gentrification

As with every story about gentrification, it starts with the appeal of lower rents. A young wave of new artists, actors, and others come to the city in their 20’s right out of college, with a ton of debt and not a lot of income.

What they lack in income, the make up for in spirit and creativity. Williamsburg is a classic example. Artists expelled from the East Village due to rising rents moved further east into Williamsburg. They started with art studios and funky restaurant concepts. They create an energy and vibe that is contagious. 

Then, the inevitable happens. Rents rise as the new spot is seen as hip and fun. Then come the boutiques and foodie restaurants. Following on their heels is usually rezoning, and viola, luxury buildings start popping up all over.

What’s happened in Williamsburg has happened to countless other neighborhoods in New York City. The key challenge for businesses is how to adapt and anticipate these changes.

Why Web Design Matters in Williamsburg?

In a gentrified neighborhood, your challenge isn’t so much in targeting as it is in standing out. Your website makes a statement and can help you get your message out. 

  1. Web Design in Williamsburg is about owning a small niche that’s novel and interesting. Then, expanding from it..
  2. A fast, intuitive site will help you raise awareness about your new concept quickly. Rents are expensive so you need to see results quickly.  
  3. Mobile lets your customers you are nearby, open, and accessible. No one likes to travel far if they can find something closer.

For a web design to be successful, it needs to be fast & responsive to do well on mobile, and intuitive so users find what they need quickly.

How Fast is Fast?

5-Second Rule Does NOT apply

I remember as a kid the five second rule. If food fell on the floor, it was still ok to eat it if was on the ground for less than five seconds.

Turns out that germs are more forgiving than mobile users. There is not broad agreement, but it seems they follow the under three second rule.

The 1 to 3-Second Rule

If a page takes over 3 seconds to load, mobile users bounce as the Pingdom chart below suggests.

Pingdom Page Speed Study

SEMRush gauges page speed using a 1 second rule. I would argue they are closer. My personal experience suggests that the widow has continued to narrow.

Search engines grade your speed as part of your ranking. Therefore, page speed is an important factor in search engine optimization.

Main Drag on Page Speed is Unnecessary Code

The root cause of most speed issues is the content management system (CMS) that you choose for your website. 

What is a CMS

In plain English, these are programs such as WordPress and Wix. These programs have three parts. 

  1. User Interface (UI): Place where you enter the content
  2. Theme: This is the general layout and design of the page with all the options
  3. Server: The place where the content and theme are stored as separate files.

The browser has to fetch the data and the full theme in order to render the page. After the browser parses the content, it has to sort through all of the themes features to see which to use. This causes delays in loading, which is typically called render blocking CCS.  

Digital Marketing Agencies Like the Convenience of CMS

With all these disadvantages, you might ask why someone would choose a CMS. A CMS is user friendly. They are faster to build, easier to maintain, and simpler to update. You do not need to understand coding or even basic HTML or CSS commands to get great looking results.

BUT, They Create Render Blocking CSS - Pagespeed Killer

The key issue with the theme. Every theme carries a set of instructions called cascading style sheets (CSS), which tell the browser how the page should look. It will load your content onto the screen following these instructions. 

Why Local Digital Marketing Matters in Williamsburg?

In a gentrified neighborhood, your challenge isn’t so much in targeting as it is in standing out.  Local digital marketing can help you get your message out. 

  1. Local digital marketing in Williamsburg is about owning a small niche that’s novel and interesting. Then, expanding from it..
  2. It is important to raise awareness about your new concept quickly. Rents are expensive so you need to see results quickly.  
  3. Local digital marketing lets your customers you are nearby, open, and accessible. No one likes to travel far if they can find something closer.

Custom Build Site Will Yield Best Performance

If your developer helps you set up your tracking codes and other third party integrations, then you can minimize any issues those create.

The beauty of a custom build is there is no trade-off between speed and quality. When you factor in the lost revenue from bounces and poor conversion that a slower site creates, the investment generally pays for itself.

Any CMS Will Require “Fixing” 

It does not matter that much which theme you choose. All will need some modification to be to pull you out of the 20-40s on Google Page Speed Insights.

Main Options

There are three common options.

  1. Plug-ins: For most CMS systems, plug-in exist to help minimize excess CSS. However, they are not a true fix, but a band-aid. They can definitely help, but they will always be the slowest of all your options. Plus, most require a subscription to gain the most benefit.
  2. AMP: Accelerated mobile pages is a stripped down version of regular HTML. It has fewer options and features, so it is very fast. However, you will need to manage two sites. Plus, you will lose continuity between your desktop and mobile versions. 
  3. Theme Optimization: This requires a developer to strip out the unused code from your theme. This is not cheap, but it can get you close to if not equal to a custom built site.

No Web Design is Really Viable if it is Not Responsive

Users expect the same level of user experience (UX) regardless of device. This is simply the bare minimum of performance.

Custom Builds are Responsive by Design

Custom builds are generally designed for mobile first. They are first designed to work on mobile, then scaled for desktop, not the other way around.

Responsive CMS Themes Require Quality Control

There are several very good themes across CMS providers that can provide a seamless UX experience. However, they require some quality control. 

These are not generally built mobile first. Therefore the first issue is image sizing. If you let the theme do it, it can cost you on performance. Therefore, you will want to be mindful of these pitfalls if you go this route. 

Web Design Needs to be Intuitive

The key challenge with any design is that it is so easy to lost in the visual and aesthetics that we lose track of why people come to a site.

Users Expect to Find What They Need Quickly

Fundamentally, a website is a communication tool. If we lose sight of this purpose, the performance in terms of dwell time, bounce, or conversion will suffer.

In fact, when users were asked what they valued most in a website they chose finding information by a 7 to 1 margin.

A separate report showed 60% users left because they could find what they needed.

Summary

For a great web design, it should excel in three key areas.

  1. The site needs to be fast. Shoot for load speed of 1 second as an average, 3 as the maximum limit.
  2. A web design is only viable if it is responsive. When mobile is primary device for search, this should be a no-brainer
  3. Layout must be intuitive. Users want to find information quickly or they leave.

ProStraegix is a web design agency with offices in New York City. We also provide SEO and pay per click advertising support to our clients.

See more about Small Business Marketing in Williamsburg. If you are more interest in the borough, you can see our Small Business Marketing in Brooklyn. If you want the full city, you can see our Small Business Marketing in NYC.