CX Insights

How The Look & Feel Of Your Website Affects Your Users

5 min read

Good design has to live up to many expectations. Design translates features into a visual interface, and ideally it manages to do so in a logical and usable way. As if that’s not enough, design also needs to be appealing. Good design is therefore useful and usable, and at the same time it’s aesthetic, draws attention, and it fits into a given context. I believe all of these aspects have been covered a lot lately, except for the look & feel that comes with the context of a website.

In the following, I’m going to discuss how the look & feel of a website affects the way we perceive it and what we feel just by looking at it. Visual aspects like layout, typography, images, or colors can make your website appealing, authentic, credible, entertaining, and much more.

If you are creative, don’t be afraid to show it

Important for any webdesign is that it matches the purpose of the site, or the nature of the product it tries to sell. While I can think of many occasions, where I’d prefer a clean and unobtrusive website, sometimes a crazy and out-of-the ordinary design is just what makes your brand stand out. Creative companies, such as creative agencies are in the perfect position to add some extravagance to their site.

Discovered by mva

Racket is an award winning art and design studio. Their website is very special and offers many eye-catchers. Despite the unusual design, the site is very authentic, which makes it trustworthy.

Discovered by nielsvantilborg

Webdesign is a web design agency with a very unique design. The big, friendly-looking octopus on their landing page is nothing you would expect on a website, right? Still, the first impression I got was not at all confusion or strangeness, rather it made me smile and I was startled by their creativity. I just have to trust people who come up with a multitasking octopus on their site and then have the skills to make it look that beautiful.

Discovered by usabilla

The design studio corvus have a plain beautiful website. They also mention that they have award-winning websites in their portfolio, but only by looking at their own design, I don’t even need that quote. The colors, the shapes, the simplicity of the layout, everything about their design just draws me in and makes me want to have a website just like that.

Making an official impression

Of course, there are websites that are better off with a serious and trustworthy design. A clean layout, clear structure, and fresh, cool colors indicate trust and quality. Many corporate companies, but also banks and insurance firms choose for an official look of their site. And they do so with reason. At least I expect services that concern my health or my money to be serious and down-to-earth.

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Despite the enormous amount of information on the website of the wealth manager Barclays, their design looks very clean and structured. Everything about this website looks trustworthy and appealing; the logo, the colors, the way they structure and present their content, the buttons that prove conformity with W3C, and so on.

Discovered by dehaancreative

Peugeot, not a bank, but also a company that comes into the picture when we are about to spend quite some money on a new car. They seem to have adapted the exact same characteristics for their website as the Barclay website. The colors and the clean design actually help me trust Peugeot as brand.

Discovered by kovah

Also design agencies use the impact of a cool color scheme for their advantage. Quazar websdesign have a beautiful website with lots of innovative extras and animations. Yet, the design feels very calming and trustworthy.

Specific topics require a specific design

if you have a website that specializes on one specific topic, don’t hesitate to focus your design on that topic. Most important for the look & feel of your website is that it is appropriate. For example by focusing your design on your central product, your audience, or even an event temporary in nature, you meet your users expectations and gain credibility.

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The Sketchbook Project use a very nice, vintage style for their design. The scratched and blurry look perfectly matches my idea of a sketchbook. I think they did a great job drawing me in and making me trust them to be authentic.

Discovered by usabilla

Gnosh is a great simple site, which is all about gourmet dips. The design is very eye-catching and inviting. The images just look delicious and there is definitely something artistic to the overall impression. This combination of delicious and creative just has to result in the most gourmet dips I’ve ever tried.

Discovered by ted

The Festival Mundo website is another example of how to match the design to the purpose of your site. Many different colors, the wild shapes, and a girl flying around in space are not the usual design elements you find on a website. Still, for this specific purpose, it works great and conveys a very vivid atmosphere of the festival.

Why not add some fun

A website can also be fun. Sure, you should be careful when offering funeral services or anything similarly delicate, but if the context allows it, feel free to add some humor to your site. For example funny visuals can really break the ice and help you to bond with your users. After all, we all love it to get entertained, right?

Discovered by mva

Foodspotting is a very handy app to help you find yummie dishes in your area. It’s all about food, as you might be able to guess by looking at their beautiful footer design. The colors and the way it smoothly integrates with the rest of the site really makes me like them. I trust that their app would lead me to excellent places to eat.

Discovered by paul

The online portfolio site carbonmade has a very unique design. If you haven’t seen it before, take a minute and click around some of the pages. I love the funny and personal way how they present their product.

Discovered by usabilla

Last but not least, there is Heineken. Surely you are familiar with the humor they use to advertise their products. On their website, they show lots of images from commercials to create the same kind of laid-back and playful atmosphere and remind people of Heineken’s entertaining nature.

Sabina Idler
Sabina was technical writer & UXer @Usabilla for 5 years before she started her own UX research and consultancy firm; UXkids. With UXkids, Sabina leverages her academic research expertise, know how in child development, and strategic vision to help companies build successful digital products for children. You can connect with Sabina on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter.