Striking a balance between usability and great UI is necessary for successful local website design. In this guest post, Andrew Lowen shares his top tips for getting it right
What are the latest trends in local web design? And what do local businesses do to differentiate from others?
In an age where your local business website can be accessed from tons of devices, the user interface and user experience design have become more vital than ever. Previously, local business websites focused largely, if not entirely, on optimized content techniques. However, it’s 2018 and many practices from the recent past are dead and new practices have replaced them altogether.
In this post, we’ll look at how important it is to focus on the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) practices for today’s local business websites, and how you can create prototypes and wireframes to lay the right foundation for your website.
Tips for local website UI/UX Design
The user interface for a local business website might not vary a lot in terms of design, navigation and overall look and feel, but it must be optimized for a lot of location-based features like maps, dynamic call to actions and integrated payment systems.
Let’s look deeper into the above mentioned features of a local website in terms of their design and usability.
Integrating maps on local websites could vary depending on the kind of services the business is offering. From showing the location of your business with a simple embedded map to providing tailored content with a map API, maps can give users a rich experience. Let’s say you add a map on your website with the exact location of your business. It’ll is easier for the user to find you using the direction features that come with the map.
Some of the most obvious map suggestions are:
• Apple Maps
• Google Maps
• Bing Maps
Before selecting the map provider, check your analytics to find out which platform your users use the most. Google Maps is the most obvious choice as it works with most devices. Also, there are a few limitations when it comes to using Apple Maps and Bing Maps.
Size and the location of a map on a web page are the two important aspects to work on. Make sure to set the map’s size to a default level where most of the information is available without the need to zoom in or out. Locking the ability to zoom in or out is not advisable because the dimension of the map is dependent on screen size.
Another important thing is choosing the right default view, i.e. satellite or map. Satellite is heavier to load but gives a clear picture of your surroundings; the map is easier to load and you can highlight your location using business colors and markers.
A payment system is the heart and soul of a local website because it allows customers to make a purchase. Apart from the security measures, there are a few tips that can help you make the best out of an integrated payment system on your local website.
Try to blend your payment forms with the design of your website to keep branding consistent. Solutions like PayPal offer custom design options. Pick the design elements of your website and recreate the buttons, text fields, drop downs and other form elements that come by default with the payment system.
It is highly recommended to use SSL with your website so your customers feel secure and don’t end up on error pages. Sit with your developer and optimize the way customers can make payments for enhanced local business design.
Pick some of the most important yet simple practices that others are using and with your website developer, adjust them to suit your existing style and guidelines. Your local business website for 2018 needs strike the right balance between design and usability.
Calls to action
Local website call to action buttons follow the same principles as non-local CTAs. They could either be clickable images with text or simple buttons with text. For local businesses, a call to action is an important feature to increase conversions, just as it would be for any other company.
The most important tip for optimizing calls to action is the selection of words. Make sure the sentence is neither too short nor too long. Keep it to a level where it makes sense to the visitor. Use of strong, persuasive, urgent words is a very popular way of attracting users to click on a call to action.
In terms of the colors, use a contrast of the background so that the call to action stands out. Do not use images as a call to actions unless absolutely necessary. There is a lot that can be created using CSS3 and HTML5.
Use heat maps to find out which call to action is converting the most. Work with different locations and sizes until you get optimal results. A floating call to action button is another good way to divert the attention of the user and make it available all the time on the screen.
Prototyping and wireframing
Now that we’ve discussed a few important features of the local website design, let’s talk about prototyping and wireframing. There are tons of tools on the internet to help you with prototypes and wireframes for local business websites. Some of these tools are free to download while others may cost you a licensing fee – Justinmind, for example, has a free 30-day trial.
Whichever tool you go with, look for the best option that caters your needs and build a working prototype before the website goes into a beta launch.
There are a number of ways to make wireframes as well as prototypes for your local business website. You can either opt for an all-design process or go for mockups based on coding. Find out more about the website design process with wireframes here.
Focus on prototype iterations that not only fix immediate usability niggles but also help evolve the overall strategy. Go back to the guidelines and make amendments.
And finally, once you and your team are satisfied with the results based on the prototypes and the wireframes, the best part of work can start. In the end, you’ll see your new or re-modeled website live and working.
Building a local business website may seem straight-forward but it has evolved into a feature-packed process in which great design and usability is imperative. To wrap it up, a great local business website design process incorporates the following factors:
- Incorporates business values.
- Creates prototypes.
- Makes revisions.
- Uses Version control.
- Learns from wireframing.
Andrew is the CEO of Next Level Web, a trusted marketing agency based in San Diego, California. He has three lovely daughters and the most patient wife of all time. They specialize in Web Design, Search Engine Optimization, PPC Advertising, and Email Marketing (The Agency – not the daughters… yet). See case studies & results of happy clients on our website.