One of the most frustrating experiences as a consumer shopping online is coping with confusing, non-intuitive websites. While we DO judge a book by its cover, still many of us would give a book at least a sitting to prove its worthiness. We don’t give websites such benefit of our doubts. Jakob Nielsen asks the question: How long will users stay on web page before leaving? Answer: not very long.
We give a website just a few seconds to grab our attention. A beautiful or fun looking site will definitely capture our attention, but if we feel foolish because we can’t find our way around or do not understand the calls to action, we are going, going, gone (80% of us will never return).
Like most businesses, you have limited time and resources. Your staff is stretched and you may not have an in house graphic designer or programmer. That’s fine. If you have to make the choice between beautiful graphics and functional design, put your efforts into the latter. Don’t make your customers beg to buy your product. A usable, understandable site is preferable to a hip, creative maze.