By now, we all know the importance of a customer-centric web design – but what does one actually look like?
Glad you asked.
To give you a better idea of a good, customer-centric web design, I thought I’d highlight some of my own examples and particular personal faves that I think really stand out.
ThomasNet’s inbound marketing page is one that I’ve admired from afar, and by looking at the screenshot above, it’s easy to see why. Not only is it simple and visually appealing, but it’s also laid out in a way that’s focused on what potential customers are looking for, rather than talking about the company itself. So, at the top of the page, you’ll see ‘Your Goals’, ‘Your Message’, ‘Your Results’, and ‘Our Solution’.
This is a very clever way of doing things, as visitors first and foremost care about their own needs, not about what a company’s goals and message are. And by clicking through to the ‘Your Goals’ page, potential customers can then select a challenge that they relate to the most, which I think is a really nice touch and shows that ThomasNet understands their issues and can provide them with a solution.
I love the innocent drinks website, because it’s bright, well put-together, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The ‘Innocent Promise’ is kept centre-stage on the homepage, but there are also fun and healthy social media buttons, and a clear link to the blog where they ‘sometimes write funny stuff’.
Again, the menus are kept simple and easy to find, and there’s even links to ‘slightly crap’ drawings and things to look at if you’re bored. It’s light-hearted, fun, and informal – everything you’d actually want from a drinks company website.
People visit the BBC website for a multitude of different reasons, but mostly they come for news. So, it makes sense to have the biggest breaking story on the homepage. When you’re signed in, there’s also a nice weather feature at the top, and you can find the 5-day forecast for your area. I find it’s a nice touch for regular visitors who like all the info they’d usually get from news broadcast, online.
You’ll notice this page is probably the busiest example on this list, but all the menus are still clearly marked, making it easy to find what you need fairly quickly.
Nielson Norman Group
Jakob Nielson practically wrote the book on customer-centric web design, and this next example from Nielson Group is one I particularly want to highlight. Now, some of you may look at this site and think it’s a bit plain, but that’s exactly what I like about it. It gets you to where you need to be without any fancy design elements; it’s focused on simple, easy to find content with just a few visual cues to help along the way.
Often, people are a bit scared to take this no-nonsense approach, but the result is everything you need in a very clean, easy-to-navigate website that a) promotes the company and b) helps visitors find what they need, fast.
I’m particularly fond of the Basecamp homepage, as the fun image (above) perfectly demonstrates what their ideal buyer will be going through on a day-to-day basis – and offers a solution to that chaos.
On the right, there’s a simple form to help them get started with a 60-day free trial – which is also how they turn visitors into leads. You’ll notice there isn’t a lot of distracting information about the company, or any ads, self-promotion or blogs – unless you actively look for it by scrolling down the page.
A customer-centric website is absolutely essential if you want to convert more visitors into leads and sales. The above websites are great examples of what a customer-centric web design should look like, and your own design will vary based on your company and ideal customers.
Remember, you should base your customer-centric web design on your existing buyer personas, which should be backed up with plenty of research and based on your ideal customer.