Website design is all about user experience. With the understanding of new technology and standards, designers and programmers have been able to more creatively craft websites to effectively utilize display space and create compelling visual narratives.

Remember: Users care more about how a site functions than what it looks like. A visually stimulating, even beautiful website that doesn’t compel people to read further and reach a conversion point is not doing its job.

Design for user experience has to answer this question: how can you best support the content and narrative that you are trying to deliver to your users?

WEB DESIGN AND CONTENT WORK TOGETHER

In recent years, websites have moved away from content-heavy designs to those that favor quick hits. The popularity of listicles and the content created solely for page views has contributed to the misconception that short content is the only way to write for the web.

Short content still has its place! There are definitely tremendous uses for it, but we are now seeing long-form content getting its due. With so many devices that facilitate online reading, people are willing to consume high-quality web content, and the length of the long-form format allows narratives to be more comprehensive and informative. Both long- and short-form content can be supported by web design. Content of all types allows to provide value to your audience and increase the editorial value of your website.

A REPRESENTATION OF YOUR ORGANIZATION

Your online presence is the greatest opportunity you have to market to people without actually physically meeting them. To be able to utilize your website’s space in a wise, confident manner is to give your audience much more confidence in you and your organization. Not only that, but an effective website allows people to go through the early stages of a sales cycle all on their own, saving you the time and effort that is typically required. If you reinforce your site with marketing automation tools, you can come up with a strategy to reach your audience in a way that feels organic and engaged while still not over-extending your existing resources.

A website is a centralized hub for so much of your marketing effort. The website itself is more than code and images and some words – its layout, visual appeal, and functionality are a dynamic representation of your organization, one that is often your audience’s first experience with your message.

WEBSITE PROTOTYPING TOOLS

Prototyping is a great way to get a sense of the look and feel of your website before investing extensive programming resources. Tools like Sketch fill in the middle space between Photoshop mockups and a live site, allowing you to better design for user experience.

Lots of wireframe tools allow you to quickly sketch out and assess ideas, giving you more opportunities to hit on an elegant and functional design. Even a system as simple as an Apple pencil and iPad Pro makes sketching quick designs fun and easy.

ALL ABOUT THE USER

Always keep in mind that your website design and content need to be centered on the user. Stunning visuals, cross-platform functionality, prototyping tools, and creative use of space are important to the extent that they improve user experience and allow you to effectively present your message and organization. If your website isn’t converting or performing the way you want it to, take a step back and consider whether or not you are putting your user in a position to succeed. That’s the same path you need to succeed.

This excerpt is adapted from Chapter 6 of our Life Science Marketing Field Guide. Ready for more? Get access to the full Field Guide below.

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