Good web design doesn’t just help you to convert visits into sales, it actually helps to keep people happy while they’re on your site. If you’re not so sure that you’ve achieved good web design on your site, it might be tempting to let yourself off the hook by saying it won’t make too much of a difference beyond the occasional lost sale. But the effects might run much deeper than that. They might create a noticeable increase in stress among your visitors, leading them to click off of your site in anger and develop a permanent negative association with your brand.
I admit, part of this is just speculation. But it is speculation that is well-founded on the data that experts have gathered. A UK-based digital firm called Cyber Duck recently conducted a study in which they measured the blood pressure of ordinary web users when they visited sites that deliberately featured one or more of 10 commonly-occurring design problems. The study found that in each case, users experienced a measurable, stress-related spike in blood pressure.
The severity of those spikes revealed that there is a hierarchy of problems that you should strive to avoid in pursuit of good web design. Slow-loading images, multiple pop-ups, and auto-playing music stood high above the other design issues as inducing the most stress. But each of the 10 categories elicited some sort of negative response, meaning it’s more than likely there was some sort of psychological after-effect for many of the users.
For some, this might have been negligible – the sort of annoyance that you can brush away as easily as a fly that lingers by your ear for a second. But for others, the experience might have been more like a fly that keeps coming back and leaves you convinced you can still hear the buzzing long after you’ve swatted it with a rolled-up newspaper. It’s not worth gambling on good web design if you’re in danger of eliciting this latter response. You definitely don’t want your brand to be the fly in anyone’s ear.
This study goes a long way toward demonstrating the importance of regular, thorough quality control. And that’s the sort of thing that is best provided by a professional web services company, which has experience in testing websites across multiple operating systems and web browsers. Of course, hiring the right professional firm also assures that you’ll have good web design straight out of the gate. This isn’t to say that problems might not still arise. But when they do, they’ll most likely be the side that users can brush away with only the tiniest increase in stress, before your web design team fixes them once and for all.