The Growing Role Of Upmost Importance 

UX design

For years, if you wanted a website, you’d need to have it built by a web developer or programmer. You’d convey your desires to the programmer, roughly, and they’d create something that delivered on what you requested.

It wouldn’t necessarily work well for the user, but then that’s not what you would have asked for. A developer’s job is to do what they’re asked and make things work and function from a technical perspective. 

Then, as things developed, front-end designers came into being in order to make things aesthetically pleasing for the user. Even today, it’s surprising what a good-looking website can achieve in the mindset of clients. 

We’ve seen clients who had old, clunky legacy systems that work as intuitively as algebra, yet they wanted nothing more than a refreshed front-end. Sometimes, a newer-looking design, some well-coordinated coloring and a few nice buttons can make a big difference in the client’s perspective of a digital tool’s quality or usefulness. However, this digital lick of paint often only coats cracks in an otherwise dysfunctional and confusing journey. If it looks good, but functions poorly, it’s still badly designed.

So, if we have programmers that make the back-end work and designers that make the front-end pretty, who is responsible for the over-arching user experience? Who’s responsible for the identification of user wants and needs? Navigation? The organization of content? The presentation of information? Cue the User Experience (UX) Designer.

UX design includes: 

  • User research, 
  • Information architecture, 
  • User testing, 
  • Usability and functionality,
  • Content design

It’s everything related to making websites, apps and digital tools for the end user; the people that actually use it; not the client and not the developer. It’s user-centric and people-focused. 

UX design is by no means a new role, globally speaking. In fact, many companies have been employing UX designers for years. Recently, however, the importance of user-centric design is growing. Companies and government have been forced into investing in the creation of seamless and as user-friendly solutions due to the following marketing conditions:

  • Rising user expectations – Big-budget companies like Google and Apple that specialize in usability, raise the expectations of users. Online, we’ve got to keep up if we want to keep our current customers and attract new ones.
  • Increased competition - It’s a lot easier to get online and trade these days and more businesses are taking the leap. For e-commerce stores, you’re competing with Amazon and Google, the SMEs and even the average Joe on eBay. More competition means we need to do more in order to convert and keep customers.
  • More opportunity – The average daily time spent online is rising every year. If people are spending longer online, then we have more of an opportunity to reach them, but our UX has to be unnoticeably smooth and better than our competition.

Having a website created is easier than ever. Having a website that looks cool is just as simple. Having a website that is a pleasure to use, adds to the user/brand experience and meets your customer needs better than your competition takes a little more work. It requires a specialist. It requires a UX designer.


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Posted by Thursday, October 23, 2014 5:23:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C SMB web design web development web trends website

How a Cross-Device User Experience Can Increase Sales 

cross-device user experience

Your customers expect your website to function perfectly, no matter what device they’re using. They aren’t all developers or digital marketers and they don’t care about the technical issues you have, they just want to do what they came to your website to do and get on with their lives.

In order to best serve your customers and increase your sales, you should design device-specific websites that embrace and utilize your customer’s device-specific mind state and usage habits. This can sometimes be achieved through responsive design, but in order to truly reap the rewards of a seamless cross-device user experience, you should consider designing a unique site for each device.

So what kind of mood are your customers in when they use desktop, mobile and tablets and how can you optimize your website for each device accordingly?

Desktop Design

81% of Americans own a PC and use them for accessing social media more than on any other device. Therefore, integrating social into your desktop site is crucial in building your relationship with potential customers. Try the following:

  • Embed your Twitter feed. This will bring people closer to your brand by showcasing your activity and increasing engagement.
  • Include your Facebook page like counter. People tend to go with the flow, so showing your Facebook page with many likes and lots of engagement makes users feel comfortable on your site and can increase trust.
  • Include social share buttons on products, articles and pages. Show that you’re truly immersed in the social space and allow users to share the product they’re looking at on their social networks. This helps your social media presence and ultimately drives traffic back to your site.
  • Include Follow, Like, Plus One icons in your header or footer. Make it as easy as possible for your user to interact and follow you on your social channels from your website. 

If you make your desktop website the central hub of social activity, linking both to and from social channels, you’ll be able to better serve the PC user and stimulate the engagement and trust required to convert them.

Move with Mobile  

For the first time, mobile internet usage has surpassed PC usage in America, so mobile is certainly where it’s at. With 76% of smartphone owners using their device to check a store’s location and 66% having used their device to check product prices, mobile optimization is unavoidable for etailers and retailers. Mobile browsers want action. They’re looking for results and expect things to happen quickly. For clicks and mortar businesses and etailers, try the following: 

Mobile users demand more, and quickly. By making your mobile site simple to use and taking advantage of urgency, you’ll give yourself the best chance of making conversions and attracting return users. 

Tactile Tablets 

66% of Americans use their tablets to generally surf the web whilst watching TV, with 65% and 55% of people using them for research and review-reading respectively. With more people making a purchase of a physical product or service on tablets than on mobile and with tablets being more popular on a weekend, there’s some unique opportunities to increase sales through including the following on your tablet site: 

  • Make it rich. People have time on tablets, so give them an engaging experience. Use videos, tutorials, images (and plenty of them), advanced product descriptions, reviews and blogs. All of which will increase the time spent on site and take your user closer to converting.
  • Easy checkout. Lots of people convert on tablets, so make sure your checkout is seamless, straightforward and convenient. 
  • Tablet only offers. Try exclusive weekend deals for tablet shoppers who are more active over the weekend.

On your tablet site, it’s all about engagement. Keeping user on your site through providing plenty of information and entertainment will ultimately lead to higher time spent on site, increased trust and sales.

The Future
Having three separate websites inevitably means more work. Many businesses wouldn’t recommend it, as most companies are searching for ways to join up these experiences, rather than fragmenting them. However, there’s no foolproof way of optimizing for device-specific needs until you offer separate, device-specific sites built with these needs at the core. 

Over the coming years, having a separate mobile, tablet and desktop website will be like having a separate ordering, returns and complaints phone number, and you can get well ahead of the game by starting now. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can serve your customer’s device-specific needs.


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Posted by Monday, October 20, 2014 6:27:00 PM Categories: B2C ecommerce online marketing responsive design retail marketing SMB web design web trends

How to Turn Your 404 Not Found Page Into a Lead Generating Machine 

404 Not Found page

A 404 Not Found page is the eye-saw that’s shown to users when your web server can’t find the page that the user is searching for. The default 404 Not Found page is about as much help as a drunken tour guide and effectively tells users that you’re not open for business. Every person that hits a default 404 Not Found page is, without a shadow of a doubt, a lost lead1.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. What if you could take all of those users, and turn them into leads, or better yet, sales? Well, you can and it's actually not that difficult.

Before we delve into the specifics of how to turn your 404 Not Found traffic into leads, let’s take a look at what might cause this dreaded beast to rear its ugly head in the first place.

Why Do 404 Not Found Pages Exist?

404 Not Found pages exist to tell users that the web page they are searching for can’t be found on the server. Users will come across a 404 Not Found page when one of the following happens:

• You've deleted or moved the page in question2  

• You forgot to redirect an old link3

• A user misspells a URL3

• A user follows a broken or dead link

A default 404 Not Found page tells your user that they've hit a dead end. It's a locked door. It's a barrier preventing them from finding what they came there to find. They can scare casual and non-technical users and lead to a higher bounce rate1, which means lost leads.

Most of the time, when an unsuspecting user lands on a 404 Not Found page, it’s your fault as the website owner for not taking care of your site when you redesign it or make changes. So instead of slamming the door in your potential customers face and presenting them with a problem, you should instead try offering them a solution. That's where customized 404 Not Found pages come in.

Capture Leads With a Custom 404 Not Found Page

Through the use of a custom 404 Not Found page, you can provide alternatives that put the user back on the right track. Instead of showing them the problem, you can provide a solution.

What Makes a Good Custom 404 Not Found Page?

Keep it simple, don’t try and be too flashy. It is still a page that’s sole purpose is to let the user know that what they are searching for isn’t there and that they might be able to find it elsewhere. 

Here’s a few examples of some good 404 Not Found pages: 

The Fast Track 404 Not Found page4 is also a great example of a simple, straight to the point page that firstly apologizes for what’s happened (remember, it's mostly our fault) and then offers an alternative route for the user to try and find what they were looking for via the site map. This way, we don't loose the user’s attention and we instead tempt them into our site, rather than waving goodbye


There are plenty of techniques that the examples above have used to optimize their 404 Not Found pages and turn locked doors into potential leads.

404 Not Found Page Design Dos and Don'ts


• Apologize. It's probably your fault one way or another 

Explain what might have happened and how the user can correct it: 'the website you're coming from has an outdated link', 'this page might have been deleted’1, 'check the URL for misspellings’5

  • Provide a solution: include a site map, search facility and/or links to your most popular products or posts5. This will help users get back on track and will act as bait to attract potential leads
  • Use images or video to provide some positive entertainment 
  • Make sure the design and tone of voice is the same as the rest of your site1
  • Use a distinct, minimalist look6 - it’s still a 404 page after all  
  • Have fun - it's OK to have a laugh with it and show some personality as long as you're providing a solution


  • Blame the user, it's not their fault7
  • Just link to your home page. The user was looking for something specific, not your generic home page. 
  • Use all the tabs and sidebars on your normal website
  • Redirect users to a ‘related' page8. There’ll be a disjoint in their journey. If I ask for an apple and you give me an orange, it doesn't make a difference if they're both round, you still haven't given me what I asked for. 
  • Provide a contact us option. Chances are, they haven't hit a 404 while they were looking for your contact details
  • Be too clever or crazy9 unless your brand personality allows 
  • Force-feed products and services - I know we're trying to increase leads, and forcing things down people's throats might have been how brands of the 90s did things, but it's not how to sell these days.

Show Respect and You’ll Gain Leads

A custom 404 Not Found page shows your users the respect that they deserve. It allows you to offer an invitation and a get out clause from the blockage that they’ve unwillingly found. It’s a chance to repair the relationship before it breaks down and an opportunity to earn your user’s trust. By following these guidelines, you’ll do just that and give yourself the best opportunity to turn strangers into friends.












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Posted by Wednesday, September 3, 2014 12:58:00 AM Categories: landing pages web design website

Nine Problems with DIY Website Builders 

DIY website builder

There have been an explosion of DIY website builders1 over the past ten years. They promise to be easy to set up and simple to maintain, but are they really as good as they claim to be?

If you’re a small business owner, finding the time to work on your website can be a challenge, especially when you’re working 12 hour days already. The claimed convenience and alleged affordability can make these DIY website builders start to sound pretty attractive. However, when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll soon discover that they aren’t all what they’re packaged up to be.

The Truth Behind DIY Website Builders

They do a good job of selling themselves with the 'quick and easy' set-up slogans and the 'cheap to run' tag lines. So if you genuinely don't know what your looking for and just want 'a website', it's pretty easy to see how they’d sound tempting.

The thing is, nobody really only just wants ‘a website’. You want a shop window for your business, an online method of generating leads; to grow sales; a digital marketing strategy; to attract new customers; to increase your customer loyalty and countless other things. You see, your website is there to serve your business objectives, whatever they may be.

When you pause to consider why you want a website in the first place, and what you need it to do, you'll quickly realize that your needs are specific. And if you want your website to perform as best as it can and market your business effectively, then you need it to do exactly what you and your potential customers want it to do. This is where DIY website builders start to falter.

The Problems

To help you make an informed decision and put those DIY website builder sales pitches into perspective, we've put together some of the top reasons why DIY website builders honestly aren't likely to meet your needs.

Standardized Sites = No Originality

DIY website builders often have a limited number of templates (or designs) to choose from. This means that there’s a large chance of many other websites using the same design as you. If thousands of websites look exactly the same as yours, you’ll struggle to stand out, which will hurt your online brand, especially if you’re running an e-commerce store2.

2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Implications

Getting to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when your potential customers search for something related to your business on Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on, is one of the best ways to find new customers online. With DIY website builders, the help on hand to achieve this is limited and the effect of built-in SEO capability is often below par3.

3. Domain Name Restrictions

It’s important to have an easy to remember web address (or domain name) for your website. It’s what people will see in search engines and on your marketing materials. Most website builders don’t allow you to create your own domain name3, so instead of, you’ll have or something just as hideous.

4. Unintuitive Content Management Systems (CMS)

When you make changes, create new pages or edit your web content, you’ll use a CMS. Some of these website builders have a difficult to use CMS, which makes it hard to create new pages, edit content and make changes on your website4 quickly and simply. Some only let you build one page websites too, which is more restrictive than gardening in a straight jacket.

5. Inefficient Support

If you’re new to the internet or you’re creating your first business website, having support on hand when things go wrong is important. Some DIY web builders can take a while to respond to service requests, sometimes taking longer than a day to get back to you4. How many sales might you lose in 24 hours?

6. Poor e-Commerce Facilities

Few website builders come with e-commerce facilities either as standard or as an added extra, and those that do tend to be poorly executed. You might be able to get your online store up and running, but making any customized additions and specific changes is virtually impossible5, and expanding is also a challenge6

7. Hard Blogging

When it comes to online marketing, blogging keeps your website fresh and is often the cornerstone of your user engagement. DIY website builders often make blogs difficult to customize, hard to maintain and they usually have less flexibility over RSS feeds7and social sharing. Some might not even help your SEO8, which is one of the primary reasons for blogging in the first place!

8. Sub-Standard Website Analytics

To make your website better and increase sales and leads, you need to know what’s happening on it; what your users are doing and why they’re leaving. You can use website analytics to do this, but many DIY website builders use old tracking scripts9, which lack accuracy, or only offer limited features10, which won’t help you make informed decisions.

Making the Right Choice

DIY website builders are well intended and mean no harm. As comparably cheap and easy to set up as they may, in some cases be, they almost certainly won’t meet your business needs and you’ll outgrow them quicker than a toddler does its shoes.

I’m yet to find a DIY website builder that can address each of the above points, like you would if you went to a proper development company. So don’t fall for the sales pitch; take your time, do your research, understand what you want, then speak to people (link to who can help you achieve your goals properly.

This way, you’ll have a future proof, professional, unique and purpose-built website that will grow with your business and constantly meet your needs. And isn’t that what a website is supposed to do in the first place.












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Posted by Sunday, August 17, 2014 3:51:00 PM Categories: B2C retail marketing web design web development website

Web Designers: Don't Be Scared of White Space 

white space in web designMany web designers feel the need to fill the screen with their design. They avoid white space as if they’re masking a pixelated plague that threatens to thwart users, shepherding them away from their site and nudging them deeper into the ether of the internet, never to return.

But is white space really that bad? Should we fill every available pixel with ‘stuff’ in an attempt to create an engaging web site?

What User’s Want

Users want clever, content-rich websites, don’t they? They want colors, images, words, widgets, feeds, links, tools and ‘stuff’, don’t they? The more content, the merrier, isn’t it? If we can cram enough carrots on the screen and tantalize with enough temptations, we can encourage our users to spend, can’t we? Surely, the more content we have on our web pages, the more chance we have of keeping people on our site and converting them, right? Wrong. It’s all wrong.

Unfitting Distractions

In actual fact, when you avoid white space and remove the available screen real estate, you do the opposite of what you’re actually aiming for: you don’t encourage engagement and conversions at all. Instead, you distract. 

Distractions aren't good when you're looking to convert your browsers into paying customers because distractions, well… distract.

When you start adding distractions in an attempt to meet every single need or want that every potential visitor might, at some point need or want, you end up sacrificing your user's experience. It gives your users more opportunities to get distracted and more chance to forget what they were doing and leave your site.

Embrace White Space

Showing some skin and being brave enough to embrace white space will actually help you increase conversions. 

“But how can removing ‘stuff' and having less on our pages help us convert?”

Simple: by removing the irrelevant and focusing solely on your site or page’s objective1. Everything that’s not purposefully edging your user closer to a conversion is a distraction and is vulnerable to the chop. And be brutal because nothing else matters more than your single page objective.

Embracing white space also helps you design clean, focused and simple web pages that are esthetically pleasing. It helps you space things out and direct your users eyes towards relevant content. This, in turn, can help users feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed while they’re on your site, which genuinely can keep them on longer and nudge them along their path to purchase. 

Users Want White Space

Users don’t really want clever websites. They don’t want to be overwhelmed. They may well be easily distracted, but providing willing distractions won’t help you increase conversions. Your users will only end up converting if you make things easy, simple and distraction-free. And you could do much worse than cleaning up your site and making more use of that white space.



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Posted by Power Site Tuesday, August 12, 2014 11:12:00 PM Categories: web design website
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