Say No to Bad Design

Four elements of a modern website you can incorporate to improve it right now.

I have a confession to make. It may be controversial, but I need to get this off my chest: I have found, in my short time in the office products world, that there is a general acceptance of bad design in this industry.

I get it. The consumer-facing stuff needs to look great. But what about the person (yeah, I said it… the human) on the B2B side that has to look at our low-budget, gets-the-job-done designs?

From sell sheets to websites, the image quality, the copywriting and disregard for the general rules of good design runs rampant. I say: No More!

Here are four elements of a modern website (and examples of brands that are doing them well) that you can incorporate to improve your website immediately:

1. Straightforward Navigation

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Nike is a great example of straightforward navigation because they have sub-brands and sister brands and a whole lot of products to share with their audience. And yet, they are still able to design their navigation in an uncluttered way.

Nike uses their logo as the ‘HOME’ button, which is a generally accepted way to navigate back to the homepage on most websites today. However, I still see a lot of websites with multiple opportunities to click to go ‘home.’ This is redundant and the modern user understands this inherently. And so will your customer.

When it comes to navigation, the top priority here is the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) concept. You want to keep it as simple as possible to remove confusion from your customer about what you want them to do.

Even though Nike has many product sub-categories, it’s intuitive for the user and they won’t get confused or lost. Additionally, Nike places their most significant elements front and center. The most important items are bold and in the middle. While the secondary items are in the top left and top right of the screen.

2. Less = More

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BOMBAS is an excellent example of great use of blank space. Purposely designing your website with white space (or blank space, it doesn’t necessarily have to be white) makes for a clean design that is easily digestible and organized. Keeping space open on your page will allow your reader to navigate their way around your page with more ease.

3. Well Thought-out and Strategic Copy

BOMBAS is also a perfect example of using very few words to get across a big message. In fact, their ABOUT page only uses 250 words to tell their entire brand story. They tell you: 1. how they chose their name, 2. why they donate a pair of socks for every pair they’ve sold, 3. how amazing their sock technology is, and 4. about their 100{72c925da1e1ea26941c3e380e2e090f20dac49bedbf950a208b5a17ddee448f0} satisfaction guarantee. To give you an idea of how amazing that is: I’ve used almost twice as many words as that in this post so far.

Between the blank space and the word count, you may wonder if it comes across as impersonal. This is not the case. The message about how BOMBAS sees and cares about the world (THROUGH SOCKS) is pretty incredible.

And at the end of it all, they are also explicit with what they want their reader to do – GET A PACK OF BOMBAS TODAY! Don’t be afraid to tell your customer exactly what you want them to do.

4. Personal and Well-Executed Imagery

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The more personal your imagery is the more connected a customer can feel to it. We believe, this is important, especially for local businesses, when it comes to differentiating themselves from competitors. Especially now, when a lot of our interactions are less personable and more technology-driven. BluDot hits the nail on the head here by highlighting their people and not using stock photography.

Don’t get overwhelmed, you don’t always have to use a professional photographer – but it does need to look nice and be taken with a decent camera or high-end smartphone.

Lastly, consider this: Design with your User in Mind.

You should design your site while thinking about your customer, not just to boost your search engine rankings. Companies tend to focus on things like SEO (search engine optimization) best practices that are “good” for Google but not so good for the user experience. However, this shouldn’t be the top priority for website design.

To get started, consider these questions: Who is your customer? Why is your customer coming to your page? What do you want your customer to do or take away from their visit? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to improve your site.