August 6, 2020

5 Key Website Design Features in the Age of COVID

By: Xavier
Xavier is an entrepreneur experienced in building five-star teams of developers, designers, marketers, industry experts and more.

In our increasingly digital society, having a website and online presence for your company seems like common sense. Updating and maintaining your website is highly important, but when was the last time you redesigned it? 

Taking the time to reevaluate your website once a year is wise, especially in the dynamic environment of the marketing world. Maybe you’ve updated your product or service offering, considered rebranding or changing your logo, or you’ve noticed that your website doesn’t translate over well onto mobile devices. Regardless, with the increase in online activity due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, recent events demand a little more attention made to your website, whether you think you need an update or not. 

If you’re wondering what constitutes a reason to redesign, take a look at the questions below to see if your website deserves a facelift:

Questions to Consider:

  • Does your Landing page UI allow users to quickly understand your product?
  • Is your marketing messaging powerful enough to attract and inform? Has your information (ie delays, hours, operation) been updated to reflect COVID?
  • Does your website have the right implementation? Is it fast and reliable?
  • Is your site ADA compliant?
  • Is your site SEO compatible?

In this article, we will delve into the details and reasons behind a full website redesign and give you a checklist to keep in mind. You may not need all of the information we present, but you can take from this what you need for your website’s success.

1. The Right User-Flow (Information Architecture)

Clearly, the term “user-flow” indicates a sense of continuity and progress; so naturally, anything that halts the user’s movement through your website or hinders them from understanding your content would not contribute to the user-flow. 

UX/UI (user experience/interface) is the key concern here. You have to consider your client’s point of view as you redesign your website. It is important to reacquaint yourself with the individual ways that people take and digest information. This goes hand-in-hand with “information architecture,” or how your information is presented on your website. It wouldn’t make sense to tell a story out of order, so treat your webpages as stories and sections that lead your customer in the correct direction. A choppy or disjointed “flow” on a webpage will discourage visitors from looking at your website any further.

For example, your landing page is incredibly important, since it is most likely the first thing that visitors will see and engage with. Therefore, it should outline your product or service as clearly as possible, leaving the user with little to no questions about what you have to offer. Your website acts as the first salesperson for your business, especially if you are fully based online. It is more important than ever to attract and retain attention from visitors, especially with attention spans getting shorter and shorter.

A couple of questions to ask yourself are: Do I have any illustrations or visual content to go with my textual information? Have I made any videos or animations to supplement my webpages? What is the first thing that a customer sees when they first open my website? How does my website look on the mobile version?

With more and more mobile users every day, remember that user-flow on the mobile version is just as important. It is more likely that a person will have access to a mobile rather than a desktop, so don’t depend on your customers to switch to the desktop version when the mobile version doesn’t work. You may think that just having the necessary information is all that your website needs, but you need to invest in your online look – desktop and mobile.

 

2. COVID-19 Updates

In conjunction with federal and state regulations, as well as local, your companies’ policies may be periodically changing or updating. Your store hours may have changed, your menu shortened, or your events moved or canceled. In any case, your clients and customers (as well as potential customers) need to be aware of your modifications in order to continue their business relationship with you.

Users always want the most updated information, but with the added stress and urgency of the pandemic, customers will want to know what steps your company has taken to address COVID-19 and if it has had (or will have) any impact on your business, products, or services. You do not want your customers to expend time and energy over finding this information, as this may turn them away from considering your business. You will also not want your team to sift through and answer questions on COVID-19 that could have been easily answered in the text on your website.

For instance, you can achieve this by adding a header and/or banner at the top of your webpage with a “COVID-19 Updates” CTA (call-to-action); users can click on the CTA in order to get to that information immediately. You can also include a pop-up message on the landing page so that when customers access your website, they are greeted with a pop-up detailing information about your company’s response to COVID. Similarly, you can also include a message on the landing page itself. 

 

3. Implementation

Is your website showing warning signs regarding its structure? If your website is slow to load, difficult to update, and not functioning properly across browsers, then it may be time to redesign your website. 

The implementation process was completed when your website was first built and published, but with advancements in technology happening every day, you will want to make sure that your website’s technical features are up-to-date for maximum use and efficiency. Whether your website is built on a specific program or another type of website encoding platform, it’s best to check what you have and compare it to the latest versions available. 

A website should be at its most optimized level anyways, but visitors to your website will not continue to browse through your web pages if the loading time takes forever or it doesn’t load on the browser they prefer. Just like a car or any other technology, your website requires maintenance and check-ups. 

 

4. ADA Compliant

With more traffic and users online, you may face the need to check your website’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s difficult to address usability issues if you are not currently aware of the requirements and accommodations; it is necessary for businesses to communicate information in a way that works for everyone. For example, is your website screen-reader friendly? For those that are vision impaired, they rely on screen-readers to help them understand and navigate your website. 

More specifically, graphics cannot be read by screen readers. This is why including a short (but informative) caption under graphics are necessary for all readers to understand the content you are presenting. Make sure that you also allow for alt-text captions and comprehensible font. Keep an eye out for a blog dedicated to this subject soon! We will cover all of the necessary details.

 

5. SEO-Compatibility (Up your google ranking)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures that your website is popping up as a result of a search engine query – such as through Google or Bing. Depending on the words that you have chosen to include on your website pages, blog articles, or any of your online content, your website may or may not be presented as a top option for users to select and browse.

In short, programs like Google depend on the words that you chose in order to correctly label and categorize your website. For example, if you are a life coach, you theoretically want your website to appear in the results when people type “life coach” into the search engine. However, if you do not have the keywords or content on your website that will alert Google to your business and website, your website will not show up in the search results. In other words, if your website is not “SEO-compatible,” that means that you are experiencing less traffic or the wrong traffic on your website due to search engine optimization issues. 

A good way to fix this is to re-evaluate the text that you have displayed on your website. Whether you need to switch out some words or hire a content writer to completely rewrite your webpages, you will instantly see an increase in visitors. Most search engine programs reward websites for high quality content and natural use of keywords, so don’t just sprinkle in the words that you think you need. If you update your web pages with well-written text that covers your field and uses the correct keywords, then you are already on your way to making your website SEO-compatible. You can also achieve this through posting blog articles on your website in order to have even more keywords for search engines to find and direct people to.

 

For More Information

We recognize that redesigning a website can be a hassle, so let us help you out! Our experts at 

Xicay Technologies know even more details about the information presented here, and they would be more than happy to assist you during this process. There are certainly more factors and elements that we did not get to cover in this article, but our team is highly experienced and knowledgeable about website redesign – so you are set!

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