Good design means sales and a better business

In the past, we've been of the mindset that human intervention by a sales person is the conversion tool. A relationship was required to make a person buy that ad space, book the stand at the event or take out a subscription. With the emphasis now online tools to buy and book, design plays a critical part. This week I'm reminded why and I'd like to share my observations with you. I hope it'll help you to apply good design to your website.

I've been trying to book a holiday. Yikes! I know, own business and I'm going away, I must be crazy. One of my past loves was getting through a nice holiday brochure. It arrives with a thump through the letterbox and I can browse through over a cup of tea and make a booking. These days it's all web-based, which helps because I have more complications, my dog, Mr Hello Lovely who likes a drop of the local beer and relatives that pop up at the mention of 'cream tea'. And then there's me judging the website and the photos... because designers are customers too.

I want to show you an example of a website show you what I mean by poor UX and talk you through the problem areas (I've blurred the text to avoid identifying the site).

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The design isn't horrendous. It has clearly labelled headings that explain what they do. It's dated but it's obvious where you click. The biggest problem is the images. I can't make them bigger and one refuses to load at all.  Perhaps I decide to take a risk. They're free (the owner did update a calendar last month, the prices and availability page tells me this) though the email address is embedded text and there's no contact form.

If I go to the booking page, I get this.

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I think I have to print this out and fill it in by hand because it's embedded text and there's no fields so I can't enter any data. And I'm still not sure where it goes next. There's no postal address so I'm assuming I should scan it in and send it back? Can I remember how to use the scanner?! 

This is too much like hard work and honestly, the cost of two weeks rent would pay for a lovely Word Press or Squarespace site with great design and SEO. This makes me wonder if the cottages are worth it. How much does the owner invest in them?

One of my favourite sites is Helpful Holidays. They made a big effort about three years ago to upgrade from a very busy and confusing site to something much more user friendly. I'm not enthralled by the design and typography but it offers lots of information. There's even a dinky floorpan so I can check where the loo is!

Helpful holidays website design.png

Helpful Holidays most certainly have the budget and have customised this CRM to suit their business. Not all agencies are equal in this (yes Sykes, sort your maps out). 

A great example of a little cottage with a neat site is this one. I know it's good because I've stayed here several times! 

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The overall design again isn't amazing. The colour of the text isn't easy to read but the images enlarge, the booking form is interactive, I know when I can go and the cost. The owner has connected to Trip Advisor too. It does what I need it to do so I can book a holiday if I want to.

Websites can feel like a huge job. Business often keep them in-house or contract to someone who has IT experience but with collaboration, researching competitors and clear goals, it doesn't have to break the bank. Good design costs as much as bad design. Hello Lovely can complete the site working with developers, take the whole build and design on or simply provide a few hours or peer review to guide your team. If you'd like to chat about your website issues then drop me an email