There are many factors that go into creating a successful website, but if we must break it down into the three main building blocks of a great site, they would be design, usability, and content. You need all three of these for a website to be successful. Here’s why:
- Design: The design and aesthetics of a website are what hooks the user and piques their interest. This will be the first thing that captures their interest in your website. If it’s not aesthetically pleasing, is cluttered or plain ugly, you’re likely to lose visitors quickly.
- Usability: It doesn’t matter how pretty your website is, if its hard to use then your users are unlikely to stay and convert. So how user friendly the website is is what will make them stay on your website and browse for longer. Think easy navigation, clear pathways, good amounts of white space, fast page loads times and readable, scannable content.
- Content: And the two things above will be completely irrelevant unless your website provides the content your visitors want. The content on your site and how well it meets their needs, is what will make them take the next step and perform your desired action.
All usability and design principles are important, but by themselves in isolation they are unlikely to cause a site to fail completely unless they are implemented very badly! While these principles alone may not cause a site to completely fail, they play a significant role in user satisfaction. The more usability and design issues that are present, the more frustrated users may become, requiring more effort to accomplish their goals. So even if a website excels in usability principals, if the site is not attractive, useful or does not give value to the user, it will not matter.
People develop first impressions about a website in a matter of seconds. However, these impressions can change once users start interacting with the site. If the design initially captures their attention but the site lacks usability, users are likely to abandon it. Similarly, if a website looks great and is easy to use but fails to provide the necessary content, users will still leave. And lastly, if you have fabulous content, but the design and usability are poor, the chances are your users won’t ever reach or find your content.
So, in conclusion, you need design to hook the user, usability to make them stay, and content to meet their goals. Content is often the most overlooked part, but in reality, it is probably the most important – content is King, so they say!