When it comes to effective website design, let me be clear about the following:
Without the holy trinity of a logical user path, good user experience and mobile-friendly website design, your digital marketing campaigns will be as effective as a 500 pound gorilla in ballet shoes – attempting to compete in the 100m sprint against an in-form Usain Bolt.
In the end all your efforts will amount to nothing but a hairy mess of blood, sweat and fury, way short of the finish line and completely out-of-touch of your nearest competitors.
This may sound dramatic but it is the simple truth.
A website that does not “work” for you is an obese prime-ape.
Your website is your digital home, your office, your online premises where people come to browse, explore and – ultimately, shop or go some way to making a purchasing decision. And this important concept is no different for insurers.
While much effort goes into making brick-and-mortar offices as pleasant as possible, with energy flows governed by feng-shui design philosophies and interior decorating notes created to invigorate and comfort the soul – it is strange that so many organisations, including insurers, choose to do the exact opposite when it comes to their “digital space”.
And yet, readily available data clearly backs this up. The recent chart below from digital agency, We are Social, shows that corporate websites are the most visited website category with a massive 98% of consumers in Asia Pacific searching online for these.
To bring it home further, another very recent report by Swiss Re, “Spotlight on Distribution in Asia”, highlighted that almost 40% of Asian insurance consumers resort to company websites for information about Life and Health insurance. This is a key stat and proves how important digital property is for insurers.
When visitors come to your website they should be greeted with a crisp, clear, message – eliminating any confusion as to:
- Who you are
- What you do
- What you want them to do next
Clear messaging is one thing, of course – how that message is presented and how the visitor is guided towards the next campaign goal further aids in conversion . . . and here you need great (not good) UX design. As we saw above, there are plenty of consumers who will go to an insurer’s website. So traffic is not really the key issue. However, how many of those consumers are insurers able to successfully convert into customers? This is what insurers must focus on and UX design is critical to this.
User Experience Design (UXD)
A great user experience is one where a website visitor can easily find what they are looking for, enjoying a seamless journey through the various categories and sections, where the website almost “knows” what the user wants to do next.
A combination of skill sets such as user interface and interaction design come to the fore here – as does a fair helping of logic and role play – putting yourself in the mind of the user, anticipating their next move. . . delivering an intuitive experience.
Clicking vs. scrolling/Parallax:
According to UX Design Expert, Bertus Floor, one of the trends to be mindful of is the movement away from clicking through a website to a more scroll-friendly (and fluid) experience.
“From a usability point of view people are more willing to scroll than to click,” says Floor. “We have been talking about reducing clicking for years. This is now being enhanced by adding intelligent scrolling ‘sales tools’ by making using of scrolling effects referred to as parallax scrolling.”
Simply put – with internet growth being largely mobile device driven – users prefer to scroll down through a website to get all the info they want, as opposed to clicking through to different parts of the site. Navigation is about swiping down, sideways and enjoying a fluid content experience throughout the website.
Effective design follows the direction determined by users – give them what they want and, in turn, they will listen to what you have to say.
Less is More
“Successful websites make use of full screen sizes, stretching from side-to-side,” says Floor. “At the same time it cuts back on as much unnecessary information as possible to help site visitors focus on core content.”
Users are impatient and increasingly so.
The less friction standing between the website visitor and the reason for their visit, the more conversions you will have.
This is especially significant when users browse the net using mobile devices.
Mobile is a Must, not a Maybe.
In a recent press release, Google stated that, starting 21 April 2015, it will increase the ranking of sites that are mobile-friendly.
The company says that the change will have a “significant impact” on all mobile searches in all languages worldwide; as a result users will find higher quality results.
Other search engine providers like Baidu, Yahoo and the like are sure to follow suit, meaning that mobile compliance is not only a sales imperative (based on the record volume of customers who access the web via their mobile devices) but it will now, also, directly influence where your company ranks (appears in search results) when users are browsing for your product or service.
To put this into perspective
Optimizing your website for the best possible experience on mobile devices is absolutely critical.
Any business that is serious about its ongoing health and future growth prospects should do everything within its power to ensure that “mobile first” becomes the mantra by which it lives.
Failure to do so will, most undoubtedly, cause immense damage to both business acquisition and retention strategies – as a cluttered, clumsy experience will (most definitely) drive user behavior away to competitors that have adopted a mobile-friendly approach.
Whilst in Asia, the agent model dominates the insurance industry, the number of consumers who are researching online and on mobile is on the increase. Consumers want to be able to find the right information about products simply and conveniently and insurers who can succeed by providing a great experience that is optimized for mobile will have a much greater chance of converting those researchers into customers.
Effective Web Design Converts Traffic into Leads, Period.
Next month we will feature a case study on UX and Mobile-friendly design to offer some proof of what a difference great execution of these two disciplines can make to a company’s bottom line.
We look forward to engaging with you then – should you however wish to get in touch with us or have any queries, you are welcome to email me directly or contact us via The Digital Insurer and we’ll gladly respond.