In the excitement of creating a website, it's easy to get captivated by visuals and anything eye catching. However, as you will see, finding what a user wants is seven times more important.
Communication is tricky. As humans, we are imperfect senders and receivers of messages. Our environment affects, internal need, state of mind, color, font, sounds, etc. all impact how we receive messages. This is especially important as context varies by industry.
Professionals who are versed in communication struggle. It's even more difficult if you are untrained or find it less interesting. However, whether we like or not, we are communicating all the time, even when we think we are not. We need to be mindful of our verbal and non-verbal cues to ensure that working for us not against.
As we said, there are numerous visual cues to support the message that we wish to send. For accountants, the color, font, images, etc., your focus. For example, an accountant focusing on smaller businesses would want to appear more approachable than a forensic accountant would.
As a professional, you will want to ensure that your website design clearly projects a professional image. After which, your chosen target comes into play.
For example, our forensic accountant's website is going to want to look more and feel more technical in nature. Therefore, he or she will want colors, images, fonts that support that image.
Our small business accountant is likely to be quite different. He or she will want to project a professional image, but one that is more reflective of the client he or she serves.
Marketing needs to reach and connect with your target market to be effective. Therefore, your web design will need to convey your message within the right context to your potential clients.
User rate finding what they want easily as the most important attribute of a web design. Function trumps beauty and experience by a seven to one margin among website visitors.
Therefore, your design elements should focus on helping your prospective clients find pages on your site versus just creating visual impact.
Therefore, website design should have a natural flow that guides the user to the information they need as quickly as possible. For example, someone might want to open a business, but they don't know where to start. One potential flow might be
Whether this is right sequence or not, it demonstrates the concept of taking a potential client through a process of steps to help educate and influence them. This flow needs to be clear and intuitive. Otherwise, 60% of users leave a site if they can’t find what they need easily.
According to several studies, good UX includes at least these three elements.
To have a navigation that is easy to follow requires that you understand how your user is likely to search for information. You client is likely at a different level of experience and knowledge on your are of practice. This is why it is very important to remember that your user may search for information very differently from you. You are an expert in the field, and they are not.
As we discussed in Digital Marketing for Accountants and in more detail in Marketing Strategy for Accountants, it is helpful to use the marketing funnel as a construct when thinking about the questions your users might ask.
As you would imagine, the questions at each level are very different. Using our divorce example, a user who is just starting the process is going to have a whole different set of questions than one who has already made some decisions.
Therefore, it is helpful to write down the questions you think your user will ask at each stage. Then, you want to ensure that you have a page that addresses those questions.
For navigation purposes, you will likely want to have a path for each level of the funnel. A path is a set of linked pages, which aids users based on how far along they are in the process. This brings us to our next topic.
If each page has a question, each question can be linked to a keyword or key phrase. For more about how to identify these keywords and phrases, search engine optimization for accountants will walk you through it.
Page mapping is a best practice because it
For these reasons, page mapping is a key step in any design and development process.
People can be difficult to predict. Even with the best planning, sometimes the flow isn’t quite right. The way a potential client thinks may be very foreign or not. User flow on Google Analytics can really help. You can see how users are browsing the site. By doing so, you can validate your initial assumptions.
If you find users are acting differently versus how you intended. It’s important to take note and make changes. Web design is an evolving activity. Monthly monitoring and testing are recommended.
Site usability at the navigational level is usually much harder to do once the site is up versus beta testing it before it goes live. If the user flow is clearly indicating a change is needed, it is worth considering whether to make that investment.
A high-quality user experience is important on all devices. Mobile has surpassed desktop as the primary device used to access the web.
Therefore, many web designs have become responsive. A responsive web design means the site responds and adapts the code (html and ccs) to suit the device on which it is being viewed.
There are several ways to achieve a responsive design. We discuss the pros and cons of each in our post if you are interested in the details. The main tradeoff between the options is page speed.
Custom websites are more expensive, but they are designed from mobile friendliness from the start, so there is less dependence on a theme to get it right.
Data show page speed is a key indicator bounce rate. If your page takes over three seconds to load, bounce rates balloon. Any bounce is a lost opportunity to influence your user.
The website is the most important communication tool in digital marketing and is the key landing portal of all your digital marketing campaigns and online marketing.
Users value finding information quickly. They rate finding what they want easily over experience or beauty by a seven to one margin.
To help users find the information they want quickly requires a simple navigation that is clear and easy to follow. You can achieve this by following some best practices
A high-quality user experience is important on all devices. Therefore, you want a design that can meet these demands without sacrificing quality or speed. Both affect your website metrics.
This can be challenging to attempt this on your own, and there are numerous digital marketing companies that can help.
Our Digital Marketing for Accountants provides a higher level overview. We also encourage to search for you location, as strategies and tactics may change based on location.