The Ongoing Mobile Revolution
We all use our phones for lots of things. For instance, entertainment, problem-solving, searching for information, seeing what our friends are up to, and taking photos; occasionally, we might even make a call!
As a result, the humble phone is no longer humble, and its capabilities seem endless. So much so that it has become the tool of choice for internet browsing.
As a web designer (one of my many design hats!), this presents me with challenging problems. While having a website that looked “OK” on phones may have been acceptable in the past, I now have to produce designs that provide an exceptional user experience across all screen sizes.
The driver for this change is user expectation. As users become more familiar with using their phones for browsing the web, they prefer to use websites that offer a superior experience.
If a website doesn’t meet expectations, it becomes far less memorable. This can lead to a user having a negative view of the company, so it’s an important thing to get right.
Web Design in the Real World…
Identifying Design Requirements
We recently completed an upgrade to the Christopher Batten website that allowed us to improve the visitor experience for all users significantly. However, the biggest group of users to benefit are those who use their phones to browse the website.
While this group of users had a satisfactory experience in the past, they can now interact with a mobile-focused design. This makes it easier for them to complete tasks and the website more pleasurable to use. The result is that phone users have an improved perception of the company, which increases leads.
We took a “mobile-first” approach to design primarily because our data showed that phone users were now the most prominent user group. However, we couldn’t do this at the expense of others, with Desktop users still representing a sizable chunk of visitors to the website. The design had to work equally well across all screen sizes.
We have worked with this client for many years, and we know that it’s vital that their web design is kept fresh and enticing. Additionally, one of the hurdles we must overcome is that many of their competitors are high-end national estate agents with high-end budgets. Therefore, we do our very best to create a website that is comparable to the best of the competition on what must be a significantly smaller budget.
Working Through the Solution
I worked closely with the web developer to find solutions to the problems presented throughout the redesign process. By using robust and mature frameworks for design and data processing, we produced something that worked equally well across all screen sizes at an affordable cost.
Web design is often thought about by clients in terms of aesthetics. However, while the website’s look is critical, how it works for users is equally important. Therefore, much of our development time was taken up with the flow of the site, ensuring users can complete critical tasks logically and methodically with minimal friction.
Many of the design changes we made were data-led. For example, analysing user data provided guidance regarding where changes needed to be made to improve usability and engagement. Having a tangible reason for change makes decision-making so much easier.
As a result, we believe the new format will meet the business’s needs and prospective customers’ expectations until we complete the next scheduled full site review.
Monitoring & Future Improvements
Our client puts a great deal of trust in us to deliver a premium tool that helps to successfully promote their business. Part of the reason our client has so much faith in us is because of our proactive approach.
For instance, we monitor the website constantly to ensure smooth running and are available at short notice to provide support.
It’s common for business requirements to change, impacting how the website operates or requiring content changes. Therefore, implementing modifications quickly and efficiently is a core part of our service.
Additionally, we keep the client abreast of industry design trends and make recommendations if we feel they will add value. This isn’t restricted to the website; I also provide design and print services for all their marketing collateral.