THE ART OF UNDESIGN ” Story 1 – High Heels vs Sensible Shoes – 01.07.2013

We asked some of the Balance Internet team how to balance the practical requirement for fast page load speed with the glam and sizzle with a beautiful on brand design.

Why worry about a fast site?

We asked Alana, 25 year old female, addicted to online shopping and Office Manager here at Balance Internet.

 Seems like a strange thing to worry about, yes? But the speed of your website affects every user! Imagine:  trying to search for or purchase something online only for it to take double the amount of time because the site is slow. Customer = Annoyed = Cart abandonment!

Bounce rate. Search ranking. Conversion.  Page views.  Reader satisfaction. SEO. Even revenue they are all affected by the speed of your site.  Just about every major retailer online across the globe has come to the same conclusion: making your site faster does increase conversions!  I don’t want to wait 8 seconds for that graphic to load. I am gone. I want the information NOW, I need it FAST!

In my opinion, your shoes need to look good every day, but need to be practical depending the event. As a customer, I want a website to look good, for example Wittner shoes, but it must also run fast!

The verdict: I want to be able to run in my high heels.

What does this mean to you?

We asked Managing Director and Partner in Online Business, James.

I understand Alana’s need to run in high heels as a customer and I think the online customer is changing fast and is now looking less for entrainment, and more for answers! If you can deliver a site design that is clean, best practise, on brand and lighting fast you will win their hearts and their wallets.

Whilst I understand the need for flash and dazzle, I will go for sensible shoes every day! I too often see architectural fundamentals compromised by sites being over designed with too many heavy elements. I recently heard a quote that for every 1 second increase in page load speed, conversion dropped off by 10%. Qualitatively, I fully agree with this statement and I believe that page load speed is fast becoming one of the most important elements of a website’s conversion.

We have recently been working with our Magento Enterprise clients to improve and optimise their hosting infrastructure, add advanced caching tools and upgrade them to Magento Enterprise Edition 1.13. These initiatives allow these retailers to perform at an optimal level and maximise their conversion whilst allowing them to wear high heels out on Saturday night.

 The verdict: I am happy for you to wear high heels as long as you can dance all night without whinging.

Is great design enough?

We asked our Creative Director, Anthony, his thoughts.

Great design and functional considerations can create a strong selling-environment for your company or organisation. Finding the right emotional tone, and creating a highly-professional on brand look and feel is just the beginning of how your site will perform.

Many business fail to find the right ‘balance’ between smart design that is on brand and utilising simple treatments that go right back to the most basic of design principles. Often I am asked by clients to insert a background image to create an aspirational feel to the experience, this can work for the initial 2 seconds on the site, after it has taken 8 seconds to load the graphic in the background, but it is easily forgotten when the end user is on a path to find the information they seek.

Creating an ecommerce website for your business or organization that’s not only dynamic, but also one that incorporates well-established principles of usability, style, emotion, branding and message are all important parts of your business’ online identity. However, an effective design must always consider the needs of its end-users.

In my opinion good usability will amplify the effectiveness of your site design, with attention spans becoming shorter there is a real need for speed to maximise the experience, conversion and sales. Although this may be true, many users are still lured into spending more time on your site if it visually excites. This doesn’t mean adding excessive images but designing smarter.  Many designers fail in this due to a poor understanding of the actual surfing habits of their users.

The Verdict: No matter what the occasion, wear the right shoes, and always make sure they are polished.