3 Key Elements of Great Design

Make your website stand out through superior user experience and user interface design.

There is a lot of competition out there in the online world. Websites are a key component to attracting and retaining new clientele. UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) design is critical to your website. This post will discuss the importance of each and how they melt together to provide a fluid journey for the user.

Let’s begin with a quote from the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright:

“Form follows function- that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”

The same applies for UX and UI design. A symbiotic relationship exists between the two that creates an effective and visually appealing website. Think of UX in terms of function and UI as form.

The Design Relationship

UX seeks to create an appealing experience from the beginning, when a site is entered in Google search,  to the end with (hopefully) a final sale of a good or service. Think of it this way; UX is like the sheetrock, structure and other raw materials for a building. Sure, these materials alone would create a house pretty easily. But it takes a true architect who understands the intent of the space and incorporates a design that anticipates the user’s day to day functionality.

On the other hand, UI is like the work of an interior designer. Their role is to elevate an otherwise sterile structure and create an organic and comfortable flow throughout the home. The individual style may be rich in textures and patterns or minimalist with clean lines and negative space. Either way, the design weaves intricately with the architecture of the house.

A hierarchy does not usually exist in this harmonious design relationship. One is just as important as the other and both need to be involved in the design process from the beginning. The result is a balanced design that beckons you to the door for a quick hello and, before you know it, you’re lingering by the fire pit until the twilight hours of the morning.

Speaking of good (web) design…Let’s move on to discuss-

 The three key elements that embody great (website) design.

  1. Function/Purpose is the foundation for great design. It asks the important question of how the user is going to use the site. Then it asks what the user needs and what the website provides. A website that does not clearly understand its function is set up to fail. You can have beautiful drapes for your windows, but it won’t do you any good if the sheetrock is old and crumbles when you try to hang them.
  2. Layout/Placement asks, “where does it go?” A common mistake is placing too much information, like a content rich company philosophy or in-depth product description, on the home page. Rather, the site needs to interpret what the customer wants/needs to see right away, instead of what the company wants to put on the site. A well-designed layout contributes positively to the experience and gently guides the user deeper into the site toward a final sale. Bounce rate plays an intricate role in the layout process and you can read more about that here.
  3. Design/Style has become increasingly more important due to the rapidly growing mobile user trend. Clean style utilizing minimal content and rich visuals are a key element in great design. In addition to this, contrast and highlights are added to specific content to pull the user’s eyes to key items on a targeted page. This makes it easier to skim content and draws the attention of the user to key functionality items.

Great design is a balance of form and function. When applied properly, your business’s site will see an increase in traffic flow, sales and client retention.

So, tell us what you think. What else do you look for in great design?



Does my Website Need a Mobile First Strategy?

What is the “mobile first” trend and do we need it?

The term “mobile first” has varying degrees of definitions depending on the source but the underlying idea is still the same. Website design and development that begin with the mobile user in mind over the traditional desktop user. This strategy separates itself from the commonly heard term, “mobile-friendly” which strives to incorporate a clean user experience across multiple platforms but is still desktop focused.

Mobile first seeks to establish the mobile user as the primary marketing target. UX/UI (user experience/user interface) design and development adhere to the philosophy of progressive enhancement. The idea is to begin the design process to fit the mobile device first and then to add/adjust content and features to accommodate larger screens.

In addition to this, the type of content like a business’s phone number and address are utilized with the mobile user in mind first. So, in this case, the contact information may be the homepage banner rather than one click away on a separate landing page.

So, what do we think?

There are many benefits to this design philosophy given the current climate where more than half of all activity begins on a mobile device. Smaller companies relying on walk-in business and e-commerce sales may benefit greatly from a mobile first perspective.

Mobile first requires us as developers to incorporate a forward thinking mindset regarding the trend on how consumers purchase products.

Advances in technology like the Apple Wallet, Square and payment apps challenge us to redefine the traditional user experience in regards to e-commerce sales.

There is also a growing trend with desktop apps taking over a traditional desktop website. Think Uber and Instagram. These highly popular apps began with the mobile user first and then incorporated a desktop version and have seen great success as a result. Apps are also great if you want to reach your clientele offline.   

But overall, we at DeCort Interactive don’t like labels.

It’s standard practice to incorporate a clean, mobile version of a website and each project and every client is unique. We do not force our design and development process to fit the latest trend of “mobile- friendly” or “mobile first”. Rather, we encourage an open dialogue with our clientele and bend the trends as we need. We prefer to color (and think) out of the box which allows room for the design and development process to take on an organic shape. We anticipate the growing needs and trends for the future and pull the best bits out of the latest processes to create a site that is both highly functional and easy to use.

So, if you are thinking about upgrading your site to become “mobile-friendly” or “mobile first” then let’s talk. You can even check out our previous post on what to consider when migrating to a new site.


Multi-Screen Behavior: How to Prepare Your Site

Prepare Your Website for the Future of Online Purchasing

There is no denying that we are living in a time of rapid technological advances. Who would have thought that by 2020, it’s estimated that there will be 1.5 devices per person across the world? That’s a pretty impressive statistic! There’s also strong support showing that Millennials are the driving force behind new purchasing preferences. You can read more about this in our previous post. Consumer purchasing is adapting and multi-screen behavior is leading the buying process.

This post will focus on the growing trend of m-commerce, its role with multi-screen behavior and how to prepare your site for the future.

Multi-Screen Behavior’s Influence on User Experience

It’s important to understand that the buying and marketing process is no longer limited to one device like mobile, desktop PC or television. It’s now become a conversation. On one side, consumers are beginning the buying process on one device like their smartphone, then finishing the process on another device like a desktop computer.  Another avenue being used is multiple screens at the same time, like watching television and browsing the web on a tablet. This buying process blends the use of multiple screens in a variety of ways. In addition to this, mobile purchasing is becoming increasingly dominant in terms of e-commerce sales.

Mobile Driving Online Purchasing

Mobile purchasing, or m-commerce, is still considered e-commerce. The only difference is the device used for the purchase. Currently, m-commerce is driven through the use of smartphones over tablets. There’s an interesting study by Google stating 65% of online activity begins with smartphones. This means that the transaction will most likely begin from a smartphone, even if it doesn’t end there. So, the mobile user experience is becoming increasingly important. It’s imperative that your website create a seamless experience across multiple platforms and that your business understand the contextual engagement of the consumer.

So, how is this accomplished?

1. Mobile-friendly is a requirement, not an option.

Google is up to date on the growing mobile trend and prefers websites that are mobile-friendly. Optimize your site by strategically utilizing keywords on your landing pages, create rich meta descriptions and streamline the user experience to elevate your site’s search ranking.

The most common approach is to make your site “mobile-friendly” by adjusting fonts, photos and content to fit various device screens. In addition to this, your marketing strategy must take into account that over half the activity on your site will begin via mobile phone.

The consumer has two avenues; to continue with the sale through smartphone, or start the transaction and switch to another device. Remember the “pick your journey” story books? In the beginning, the book provided options for your reading journey. The end was always the same, no matter what choice was selected. It was the experience that varied. In the same way, the consumer’s experience will vary depending on the platform used and the context in which it is used. The end goal is still the same. Create a pleasant experience across these platforms to encourage the sale of your goods or services.

The mobile platform is now responsible for allowing the consumer to save products or articles on their mobile device and be able to follow up later from another. The transactions are no longer independent from each other.  Instead, one becomes a bridge to the other and vice versa.

2. Sync all local directories

Online directories such as Dex, Yelp and Angie’s List dominate the search engine for contextual searches. These directories are also mobile-friendly which makes the search engines even more bias. Office hours, phone numbers and other important information must be available and consistent across all major directories. Authoritative directories lend credibility to your site regardless of the type of business. Also, consumers generally use some sort of search directory. So this step is just as important for small local businesses that thrive off walk-in sales as it is for larger B2B entities.

3. Define and execute your SEO strategy

Work with your developer to establish your SEO (search engine optimization) thumbprint. Your business is unique and your SEO strategy needs to reflect this individualism. For small companies that rely on walk-in business, this means placing emphasis on keyword relevance by location; i.e. Utah’s best coffee shop. For service based companies like us, we tailor our approach to local, organic traction through social media and maintain our Google Service Business page. For larger businesses, like many of our clients, a global strategy is implemented that centers around a mobile-friendly site and broader keyword strategies.

All together

Multi-screen use is now an integral part of our everyday lives. Create your recipe for success by making your site mobile-friendly and building a customized SEO strategy.
















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