We want our website to be different. Do you really? You know as a web design agency, we tend to hear that occasionally and typically I respond with two questions: Well, what do you mean by different…and why?
You’ve got to consider that 99.9% of the time your web users spent time on other companies websites and as such they form habits on how to use websites, how to navigate, where to commonly look for things like logos and contact information and in general what buttons and links look like.
You see the fact is no one wants to expend any effort in learning how to use your website. Instead they’re there on your site to satisfy a particular need of theirs and we want to make it easy for them to accomplish that goal. Along those lines, it’s always best to assume your web visitors don’t know as much about your products and services as you do, don’t have as much time as you think, don’t have as much patience as you think, and certainly don’t want to learn new habits of how to use a website.
When it comes to layout and interactivity, a good usable site that pretty much follows common convention will result in much higher levels of engagement and conversion. Now that doesn’t mean that your site should have no individuality, creativity or uniqueness. Where you can and should be different is based on your brand, your communication style, the unique aspects of your visual identity, and importantly articulating your value proposition.
And there’s usually a huge opportunity to be different and better in terms of providing a much more streamlined visit experience by deeply understanding and meeting visitor needs and intent.
So, yes, your site should be different from your competitors, but focus those differences on aligning the design with your brand, clearly articulating your value differentiators, and guiding the visitor through a satisfying visit experience.