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Web design can make or break your success online. That may sound a little dramatic, but evidence shows that a thoughtful design with attractive aesthetics and a sensical flow is far more effective at attracting users to your site, while a poorly considered design is more likely to drive users away.

Deciding on the look, flow, function, features, content, and everything else related to your website can be tricky, and it’s a lot to think about. There are a million different directions you can go in when it comes to design, but only a few are going to help you reach a final design that satisfies yourself and the customers or users who are going to land on your site.

To help you think through your website design and move toward choices that will bring about an effective final product for your company, check out what each member of the M&R team has to say about their favorite web designs and more!

Seventeen of our team members provided answers to a survey about their favorite web design. The following are the questions or prompts they were given, as well as the results.

Prompt #1: Select your favorite web design.

The choices:  Static, adaptive, liquid/fluid, responsive, dynamic, or a single-page website.

M&R’s pick: Mostly responsive!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Static – 0
  • Adaptive – 0
  • Liquid/fluid – 0
  • Responsive – 15
  • Dynamic – 2
  • Single-page – 0

Before we dive into why this is our answer, let’s provide a few details about each option:

  • Static – A static website is not responsive. The dimensions are set during the development phase and do not adjust to any browser sizes or the sizes of various device screens. Static websites are definitely not mobile-friendly.
  • Adaptive – An adaptive website detects the screen size of the device or browser and loads an appropriate layout. Adaptive websites require, at minimum, six layout designs to account for the six most common screen widths.
  • Liquid/fluid – A Liquid or fluid site is designed to fit the width of the device’s screen or the size of the browser. Adjusting the browser size causes the design to expand or contract accordingly. However, things could stretch too far or become too compacted depending on the size you land on.
  • Responsive – A responsive website adjusts to the browser or screen size most efficiently and effectively. If you open a responsive webpage on a maximized browser but shrink the browser down to a quarter of your screen size, the design will automatically adjust the layout, presenting the design in the most ideal way based on the screen size. A responsive web design is designed with a mobile-first approach, and it offers a fantastic user experience.
  • Dynamic – A dynamic web design is similar to a responsive web design in that it is highly adaptive to screen or browser sizes. The difference lies in the interactivity of the design and the flexibility of the content it presents. Think of social media pages or streaming platforms. Those are dynamic designs that use algorithms and databases to retrieve and present specific kinds of content to the user.

Why Did Most of M&R Say Responsive Was Our Favorite Design?

It’s not that a responsive web design is super thrilling or riveting to us. It offers users the most control over how they view and interact with the content on the page. When a design is not responsive to screen size or browser size, it can become increasingly challenging to navigate the website, interact with any of the features, or complete an action.

With responsive web designs, you never have to worry about difficulty engaging with the design or being able to read the content because its flexibility ensures that you can access the web page and content no matter your device, screen size, or browser size.

Benefits of a responsive website design include:

  • Effective for the user experience – The easier it is for a user to interact with your content and navigate your website, the higher the chances are of converting a lead into a paying (and returning) customer.
  • Effective for SEO – Google’s algorithm cares about how you design your website. It looks for mobile-friendly designs FIRST when evaluating sites to present on the SERPs (search engine results pages). If a site is not mobile-friendly, it will not rank as high, since the majority of users use phones and tablets to conduct Google searches. A responsive web design considers the mobile design first and builds out from there to ensure the website will fully satisfy users on mobile, thus enhancing SEO value.
  • Effective for audience reach – Responsive web designs are automatically built to satisfy users on any device, browser, or browser size. No one is driven away from your site because it’s difficult to use or unresponsive. As a result, you automatically improve your reach with your audience and foster their engagement with your company.
  • Effective for faster page load times – Slow page loads are enough to drive someone away from your website. Other designs can often have slow page load times because of how they are built on the backend. However, responsive websites are built to optimize load speeds so that users receive the content as fast as possible, no matter what page they navigate to.
  • Effective for updating content and design elements – If you want to update an adaptive design, you have to update every design layout created, which is usually six, at minimum. That’s tough, exhausting, and not very effective. If you want to update a responsive design, you only have to apply your changes or updates once.

Some of the other design options may have one or a combination of these benefits; but when evaluating all the benefits and features of a responsive design together, it’s clear why this was the favorite of almost all the folks at M&R.

Prompt #2: How Likely are you to leave a website if the page doesn’t respond to your screen or browser size?

The choices: Very likely, somewhat likely, neither likely nor unlikely, somewhat unlikely, and very unlikely.

M&R’s pick: It varied, sort of.

We had a slight mix of responses on this one. Here’s the breakdown of how many chose which:

  • Very likely – 10
  • Somewhat likely – 6
  • Neither likely nor unlikely – 1
  • Somewhat unlikely – 0
  • Very unlikely – 0

No one likes a webpage that doesn’t fit their device, browser, or browser size. If you have to scroll left to right to see the whole page or adjust your browser settings to interact with the content and user interface, people are inclined to become frustrated and abandon a site fairly quickly. Just ask our professionals. Although we have one patient soul in the bunch, the rest are inclined to leave such a website and find a different one to visit that is more responsive or easier to use.

Prompt #3: How likely are you to leave a website if the design is overall bad? (I.e., not aesthetically pleasing, not very intuitive, not user-friendly, etc.)

The choices: Very likely, somewhat likely, neither likely nor unlikely, somewhat unlikely, and very unlikely.

M&R’s pick: It varied again, but only a little.

Very similar to the responses gathered from prompt #2, prompt #3 saw a mix of answers:

  • Very likely – 8
  • Somewhat likely – 8
  • Neither likely nor unlikely – 1
  • Somewhat unlikely – 0
  • Very unlikely – 0

Once again, we have one patient, go-with-the-flow kind of team player here in the office. The rest of us are likely to find a different website than click through a poorly designed one.

Just as the site’s development matters, so do its aesthetics, intuitive nature, and overall user-friendliness. Aesthetics alone are enough to keep a person on a page or drive them off. However, all other elements of the design also matter in how effectively your website serves customers and leads.

Prompt #4: What is your favorite type of business website to interact with?

The choices: Ecommerce, portfolio, landing page or single page, generic business, this isn’t a fair question, and other.

M&R’s pick: It really varied!

Here’s the breakdown of answers:

  • Ecommerce – 7
  • Portfolio – 3
  • Landing page or single page – 1
  • Generic business – 2
  • This isn’t a fair question; it depends on the company and what they offer/do – 4
  • Other – 0

Clearly, we have some shoppers in the bunch who love interacting with a (quality) ecommerce site. We also have those who don’t necessarily have a favorite type of website; they just want the business to provide the right kind of site for what they offer or do. Up next, we have a group of members who like interacting with business websites that are built around their portfolio. Generic business websites come in second to last with only two votes, and one lone team member said their favorite type of site is a landing page or single-page site.

Prompt #5:  What features or sections do you like to see on a business website?

The choices: Blog, portfolio, photo gallery, testimonials or reviews, FAQs, chatbot, team page/bios, and other.

M&R’s pick: A variety of all of them!

Everyone had the opportunity to choose multiple answers on this one. Here are the results:

  • Blog – 6
  • Portfolio – 15
  • Photo gallery – 11
  • Testimonials or reviews – 8
  • FAQs – 14
  • Chatbot – 3
  • Team page and bios – 10
  • Other – 2

The “other” options our two team members suggested were an events calendar, a social media feed or links, and an interactive map for businesses with multiple locations.

Prompt #6: What features or sections are you most likely to actually check out/interact with on a standard business website?

The choices: Blog, portfolio, photo gallery, testimonials or reviews, FAQs, chatbot, team page/bios, and other.

M&R’s pick: A variety of all of them!

Again, everyone had the opportunity to choose multiple answers on this one. Here are the results:

  • Blog – 2
  • Portfolio – 13
  • Photo gallery – 11
  • Testimonials or reviews – 9
  • FAQs – 12
  • Chatbot – 1
  • Team page and bios – 5
  • Other – 1

The “other” options that someone said they interact with are social feeds and links.

You’ll notice that the responses here are different from the responses from prompt #5. Just because people want to see a feature on your website doesn’t mean they’re always going to use it. However, that does not mean you should take off a particular feature from your site if you feel like users aren’t checking it out. People want to see a website with many beneficial bells and whistles, even though they may not interact with them all. The more robust your site is, the better the impression you’re going to make. Plus, there is a chance that certain users will find a web feature useful, even if not everyone who visits your website does.

Prompt #7: What website aesthetics do you prefer to see from a business?

Let’s just dive right into the choices and the breakdown:

  • Black and white, not a lot of color throughout – 0
  • Bright, vivid colors throughout – 4
  • More muted colors throughout – 4
  • Realistic/modern design (aesthetically pleasing, UX-focused designs that essentially tell the visitor, “What you see is what you can expect from us.”) – 13
  • Minimalist design (lots of negative space and limited but balanced use of text, color, texture, and animation) – 6
  • Maximalist design (Overload of text, color, textures, and/or animations) – 2
  • Brutalist design (Content-first design that focuses on the function over the “fashion” of it all) – 2
  • Other – 0

Everyone had the opportunity to make multiple selections, and boy, did we. The majority of our team voted for a realistic design, where nothing is too trendy, niche, or showy—it’s just well designed and serves the mission and the message of the business well. However, we also gave additional varied responses regarding the look of the sites we want to interact with. Some like a minimalist design, and some prefer a maximalist one. Some like bright colors, while some like to see more muted colors.

Aesthetic preferences vary greatly from person to person, and you’re not going to satisfy the preferences of everyone who lands on your site. However, satisfying preferences shouldn’t be the goal. As long as you have a high-quality design that is objectively pleasing or gentle to the eye, easy to navigate through, and provides an overall high-quality user experience, then you know you have a good web design.

Prompt #8: What are some of your favorite website design examples?

Buckle up, we provided a lot:

Prompt #9: Any final thoughts about your favorite web designs or design features?

A few team members left a few parting words from the survey we conducted. Take a look at their responses!

Response #1:

I think the best websites and apps are the ones that give the user a clear definition of what their options are every time they carry out an interaction. Whenever a new set of options is presented, they’re restricted to those that are most relevant to the previous interaction. When this is done correctly, you sort of ‘funnel’ the user to exactly where they need to be.

Response #2:

Most sites I like and interact with are lifestyle-driven. All are enticing because they paint a picture of small changes leading to growth/improvement. The examples I listed are also easy to skim and rely heavily on photos and videos to get the point across. They don’t hide important info. It’s front and center and easy to navigate.

Response #3:

Websites need to have photos of the business, not stock photos. It makes them feel more personal.

Response #4:

I like for websites to have dynamic elements, the elements that move as you scroll or load a page.

Response #5:

I like websites that integrate with other things I use, such as Google Calendar or Google Maps features.

If anyone knows the ins and outs of high-quality web design, it’s the web pros at M&R Marketing! Let us help you create a website design that is sure to serve users and convert leads: 478-621-4491

From the broad aspects of web design to the super fine nuances, the team at M&R understands what goes into creating an attractive, intuitive, UX-focused website design. Our in-house writers, designers, and web developers combine their expertise to bring clients like you a high-quality website that will satisfy users, whether they are established customers or leads.

Contact one of our business development managers today to learn about our web design process!

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