8 Critical Things Users Expect from Modern Websites

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Nothing is more mind-numbing than a potential client embracing a competitor over you. It can be ego shattering, business hampering, and even begrudging. The competitor could offer the same products as you, provide less overall worth than you, and could even charge more than you for the exact same product or service. Whatever the reason, improving your website assists in the reparation of possible issues stemming from what we’ve seen as negated and diluted perception. Perception is instantaneous and decisions based on it are made using a face value methodology in a matter of milliseconds. People expect modern websites to be refreshing, professionally designed, and meticulously laid out.

If a customer visits your website to see dull imagery, illegible fonts, and poor navigation, could they still become a client? Yes! But let’s pretend they didn’t right then and visited your competitor’s website instead. This time, they see rich content, vibrant color palettes, vivid imagery, instant access to contact information, and crystal clear navigation your 4-year old could understand. Within a split second, their mind was made up. They found good user experience (UX), ease-of-use, and an unwavering feeling of comfort and trust. You have them. They’re hooked.

Why didn’t you get them? What did your competitor do different than you? At this point, we start pondering pricing, product quality, and if it was a brother-in-law job. We never look to our primary communication method - our websites and their design. Here are 8 things modern internet users expect from websites they visit.

1. Contact Details & Various Methods of Contact

A website is the key to users contacting you. It communicates your product’s intricacies on your behalf 24 hours a day, every day. Users expect contact details to be readily available. They expect multiple methods of contact possibilities on your website. If forms, phone numbers, and email addresses aren’t quickly visible, users could very well contact your competition.

2. Clear Pricing & Product Specifics

Users expect clear pricing and specific product details. They want to research similar products and services for fair market value. Nearly six-in-ten adults (58%) do online research about the products and services they want before they make a purchase or sign any agreement.

3. Responsive & Mobile Readiness

Users expect responsive and mobile-ready websites. They want a mobile rendered website to load when they visit websites on phablets, tablets, and mobile devices. 34% of mobile internet users go online mostly using their mobile device or phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop. Give users what they want - fully responsive website design.

4. Fast Website Speed

This one goes without saying, but since we see so many slow loading websites we believe it to be warranted. A website that loads fast is imperative. If you already have a responsive website, but your website loads at slow speeds, users might wait, but are statistically more likely to leave for content that's provided faster. Human attention spans have decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. So, in this case, faster content is more relative content.

5. Brand Oriented Imagery (Not Stock Imagery)

Users expect brand oriented imagery. They want imagery to tell the story of a brand’s products. We live in a visual society. We remember images seen over text read almost 4 to 1. That means 80% of what we see and 20% of what we read is actually retained.

Imagery is a powerhouse for grabbing a web user’s attention and keeping it, but that imagery must be relevant. Users are moving away from stock images because they can’t completely tell the story about your products or services - they were only created to try.

6. Website & Online Security

Users expect (and demand) website security. They expect it so much that they won’t submit forms or use an eCommerce website without trusting that their information is secure. In fact, SSL use among the busiest million websites is up 48% year after year. Keeping personal information safe and out of malicious hands is the key to bringing even the most basic informational website to a successful stature.

This is so important that large search engines, like Google, have started providing higher search engine placements to websites with SSL certificates. These companies know the importance of website security because they know that their users want it.

7. Efficient Website Layout

Users expect website layouts to be efficient. Whether a navigation item takes two clicks to get to a new page or not isn’t really what’s on their minds. What is on their minds is getting to the content quickly and efficiently without barriers in their way. If people want to know about your pricing, put it at the top of the website’s home page in a creative way, or at the very least, provide a main navigation item so they can get there with a single click.

Now, we understand that some metric or analytical data is needed to accurately portray what website users are looking at, but there are various options for on-site analytics, and many of them are free services. Google Analytics is free service with tons of ways to test on-site content and user clickthrough.

8. Professional Website Design

Users expect good website design. This isn’t 1993 when having a website (no matter how ugly or poorly designed) put you at the forefront of the war against the competition. This is 2015, and the total number of websites is at almost 1 billion.

Almost every business has a website, and if they don’t, the company just formed last night or is a startup searching for the funds to build their first-generation products. All things being equal, the one thing in a user’s mind that draws competitive lines is the quality and design of your website. It's the first thing they see about you.

As #1 states, a website communicates with users for you, and is the best representation of your company’s products, if designed well. Since almost 60% of users conduct research about a product or service before they decide to purchase, having a quality website design puts competitors in your crosshairs and not the other way around.

Don’t get a free website design or have your friend build your brand’s website because he took a website design class. Have professionals design your website and professional results will follow.