When creating websites, many designers completely forget to ask themselves some of the most important questions:
- What is this website here to do?
- Why does this page exist?
- What, specifically, do we want the user to do here?
By reminding yourself of your objectives throughout the design process, you can avoid adding useless noise and clutter, and instead focus on increasing leads and conversions.
It’s Easy to Forget
Some websites tend to exist without a real purpose and perform poorly. This doesn’t happen by design, it happens because people lose sight of what’s important. They forget their objectives. For example:
- Designers are told to design,
- Developers are told to develop,
- Bloggers are told to blog,
- The SEO team are told to do SEO
Site or page objectives should be at the heart of a site’s design. But, with staff focusing on their day job, sometimes the over-arching goal can become buried underneath the virtual pile of work on a designer’s desk. Or sometimes, the quest for aesthetics and the practicalities of functionality can cloud an objective and force it to take a back seat.
Where’s Your Banana?
In his book The Big Red Fez, Seth Godin mentions that internet users are like monkeys (but, sometimes, not quite as cute). Your call to action (CTA), or your objective, is the banana. All the monkey is interested in is the banana. So, if you hide the banana at the foot of the page, make it small and blue, what chance does the monkey have of finding it?
But, if you make the banana BIG, clear and obvious, you stand a much better chance.
How to Meet Objectives Consistently
Whatever your single, specific objective is for each page, this is where your design efforts should start and end. Take whatever it is that you want the user to do, your objective, and make it stupidly simple accomplish.
Here’s some ideas on how you might do that:
- Want users to sign up to email notifications? Put it front and center.
- Want your blog post to be shared? Put the important stuff in the first paragraph.
- Want to increase sales? Stick your most popular product on your Home page.
- Want your ‘Enquiries’ menu option clicked more? Put it top of the list.
How to Fix Objective Oversights
Remind yourself of your objective constantly when making design decisions. One of the ways to do this is to use a little mind trick in order to get your objectives buried in your brain. Create a trigger that reminds you to check whether your design meets your objectives.
Remember our monkey and its banana? Good. Now, close your eyes (after you’ve read this sentence) and just imagine that banana sitting right next to the Save button in your software. (And open.) Now, every time you reach for the Save button, imagine that banana.
Let it remind you to put the banana front and center. Let it urge you to make your objective obvious to the user and easy to accomplish. Then, take a quick glance at your work and ask yourself whether everything you’ve just done is designed to meet your single objective for that page, site, tool or whatever it is you’re working on.
If you imagine the banana next to the save button often enough, it will become the trigger for checking your design against your objective every time you save your work.
Don’t Make the Same Mistakes
Now that you know the secret as to why there’s so many terrible websites out there, don’t go making the same mistakes.
- Stick to a single objective
- Make it easy to accomplish
- Keep reminding yourself of your objective during the design
- Remember the monkey and its banana
Follow those steps and you’ll be ditching the clutter and rubbish and consistently designing focused, optimised websites that generate more leads and conversions.