Digital design is the appearance of your brand across any websites, apps and social feeds. It is such a vital part today’s marketing journey that it cannot and must not be ignored.
As with any brand touchpoint, digital design determines how people feel about your brand: trust, warmth, credibility and desire are just some of the triggers it can elicit. Yet digital design is so often forgotten about, prioritising functionality and convenience over aesthethics.
We recommend a digital design audit whenever a clients says that their website feels tired or doesn’t quite hang right. Or worse, they’ve identified a general slow down in conversions and sales. Many clients who come to The Bank have shared issues here. Generally the trend includes the following issues –
Their website hasn’t been designed by designers. Building a website is quite different to creating a digital design. They are two separate disciplines. Designing for digital includes paying attention to the user journey. Part of this involves mastering the ultimate dark art: human behaviour. Which call to action should we use? How do we make it stand out best? What deserves greater prominence on the page? Using size, balance, colour and imagery we create stand out designs for the users, while complimenting your overall brand identity. This is often a real creative challenge that the more functional developer simply isn’t equipped for.
The website or app is so 2019. In digital a lot changes fast. Trends come and go very quickly and what looks great today, is tomorrow’s old hat. That cool video parallex effect which was built into into your site last year? It is now an on page distraction that slows your site down. The pastel colour pallet which was really on trend? Now it’s stale and flat, where your competitors feel fresh. By focusing on classic layouts and structure, we can use colour accents, fonts and image style to distinguish your web property. These are proven techniques that serve some of the biggest brands in the world. You can strip away trend and still have digital design that everyone loves but stands the test of time.
Marketers make subjective decisions about design based on nothing but personal preference. Since it is quite rare for you to be exactly the same demographic as your target audience, how can you guarantee that’s a good choice? You are probably older, or younger if you’re lucky, than the target audience. You may earn more or less than your average customer. You’ll definitely have different tastes and you should get to grips with what your audience actually think.
There is a science to customer behaviour and how it links to design. You probably execute techniques like split testing regularly with things like email marketing – often an out of the box offering with most software packages. If this is the case, why not with your website? It’s great that you’re building best practice with your brand in one area – but the same logic can easily exist throughout the rest of your digital marketing creative. At The Bank we actively test which website design will work best – prior to any code being touched. Extending this, we apply similar logic to display advertising and social advert creative. Which design will a customer click? What will a live user do when they land on your website? Will they convert and if not, why not?
A lot of the time digital design is at the mercy of the platform owner. There are two masters here – firstly the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Here your creative is forced into certain parameters by the social network itself. You don’t have the liberty of changing the rules for these platforms but you do have the ability to be creative and generate digital content assets that maximise those platforms. When thought about at the outset, as part of a wider creative plan, you can really extract superb assets that maximise the 3rd party network.
Second are Google, who at will, can change their search engine performance parameters to hurt your website. This is done to fit their SEO best practice. In recent years slower websites have been penalised in favour of lightening fast load times, particularly on mobile devices. Remember that parallax video? Bye bye search rankings. App owners and developers have similar struggles with Apple whose own algorithms change frequently to optimise the device experience. Again there are timeless aspects that can really benefit the digital design process for longevity while retaining stunning visuals!
The Bank help brands plan their digital visuals in their entirety. We don’t quite don the lab coats, but we do scrutinise – with actual customers – elements of your brand which are really resonating and those that aren’t to make sensible changes. Given most people have established websites, digital design tends to be focused on website redesign and redevelopment presently for clients. Making sure you don’t throw out the good is extremely important as part of that process. While we love your opinion (who doesn’t?) we’d rather provide you with facts, rather than blind subjectivity guiding you – or us – to the creative decisions with most merit. If you’d like to understand what this looks like for your current digital platforms, give us a call and we’ll get the bunsen burners out.