For many industries, design has gone from a sole department, and even an afterthought, to an extremely critical part of the overall business strategy. It’s no longer enough to make a design that works; consumers are judging products and services on new and different criteria, and having a design that moves them can go a long way in making a positive impression and, ultimately, making the sale.
“Unfortunately, many senior living providers are stuck in the dark ages of web design,” says Rachel Fox, Creative Director at SageAge Strategies. “But, by updating their look, many of them would find that today’s consumers respond positively to a more modern aesthetic and, in particular, a clean and clutter-free design.”
That being said, simple isn’t easy. In fact, most of the time it’s a lot harder to keep things minimal and clean than it is to be flowery and overdone. Let’s look at why simplicity in design is worthwhile, what it means and how to accomplish it.
What Is Design Clutter?
When you walk into a cluttered home your initial reaction may be, “System overload.” You aren’t sure where to look, because so many things are competing for your attention. There are the bright yellow drapes, the loud wallpaper, the knickknacks on the several shelving units against the wall, the throw pillows, the artwork … you get the idea.
Just like clutter in a home can make that home feel overwhelming and intimidating, the same can be said for cluttered web design. Your website is an opportunity to ask your prospective customers to perform a certain action. But, if they have a million different things competing for their attention, the chance they’ll make the choice you want them to make is slim.
The main culprits in cluttered design come from a lack of planning. Perhaps you designed your website several years ago, but have made multiple “band-aid” fixes since then to address changes or new offers. These changes weren’t done with the larger context of the design in mind, but rather slapped on haphazardly. Not only is this ineffective, it also harms the other efforts you’re making on the page.
What Does Simple, Clutter-Free Design Accomplish?
Walk into a clean, neat and well-appointed home, and your mind is put at ease. You feel comfortable, not at all overwhelmed by your surroundings and your mood is settled as a result. You see the focal point of the space – a dining table, a television, a game table – and are inextricably drawn to it because there’s nothing else competing for your attention.
Simplicity in design accomplishes many of the same things. By creating a clean, well-appointed website for your community, you give visitors a sense of calm and composure when they come to your site. They aren’t being bombarded with a dozen offers and blinking lights; instead, they will get the impression that not only will your community reflect this clean and calm aesthetic, but that you clearly know what the heck you’re doing!
How Can You Accomplish Simple, Clutter-Free Design?
Creating a smartly designed, clutter-free website is more than just stripping things away from what you already have. It’s also not creating a micro-site with barely any relevant information. Instead, it’s about creating a robust online presence that provides all of the relevant information your audience wants – and nothing more – in a beautiful way. Does your current website do that?
First, assess if a redesign is in order. It used to be that you could go several years between redesigns of your website. In some situations, that might still hold true. But given the dynamic nature of business and the web today, it’s more advisable to do a revamp at least every two years or so. If you can’t remember the last time your website had a significant update, or if your website simply is not serving you, your business or your customers well, chances are a redo is in order.
Second, decide what’s most important for your website to communicate. This step has a few components:
Examine the effectiveness of your current site. What’s working, what isn’t and why? Metrics are the key to this step. You need to know who is coming to your page and from where, and where they are navigating to once they’re inside your site. What buttons, links or images seem to draw the most attention and which ones do your customers pass over?
Assess your offline business strategies. Your website should operate in lockstep with your in-person, offline strategic goals. They should support one another, not exist in autonomy. So, to know what your website should accomplish, you need to know what your in-person efforts are structured toward. Perhaps your biggest cultivators of new business are seasonal deals or referrals. Whatever it is, your website should reflect this in terms of hierarchy. That means the things that are important are made prominent while those things that are less important are less prominent, or perhaps not present altogether.
Third, it’s time to decide who to hire to do your redesign. That is, unless you already have a dedicated web team capable of building a site for you with custom navigation, a clean color palette, a smart site structure, insight into SEO best practices and more. Not all web designers and teams are created equal!
At SageAge, we’ve done countless website revamps and redesigns for senior living communities big and small. No matter the size of your project, we follow design best practices and offer insight to help you see into the hearts, minds and buying patterns of the audience you’re looking to grab. Ditch your old, ineffective website and get one that works for you, not against you!
SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that provides multiple strategic growth solutions. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / firstname.lastname@example.org.