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Startup: Design website for customer needs

Posted: September 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Web experts like to say that a website has seven seconds to show visitors the point of the site. After seven seconds, the visitor will be hitting the exit button or hopefully you’ll have begun to convert a customer.

SCV Startup, a local tech entrepreneurial group with a mentoring focus, discussed Monday how to keep those customers on your site and to get them to take a “call to action” — be it register on your site, buy something or sign up for something. “Design is very broad,” said Brian Tippy, the evening’s speaker and founder of ArtzBridge Inc. a startup drag-and-drop website creator. “But all of the components of design relate back to the end user.”

When creating a website — a static information site, an e-commerce service or a place to showcase your content and products — website developers and designers you hire may refer to User Experience Design, or UX. This means building a website’s elements, down to the buttons that say “Register here,” so that the message resonates and the user relates to the product. Tippy calls it “design plus psychology.”

“The misnomer is they design for the product,” he said, “but you really want to understand how the user relates to the product.”

A good UX design will incorporate images, engage aesthetics and typography, be consist across the website and — very important for many businesses — have a simple registration and login component.

“You have to assume the users are the laziest people on the planet,” Tippy said.

An example of good UX discussed at the meeting was, an online marketplace to list a location or find somewhere to stay anywhere in the world. The front page prominently displays the search engine, making it clear what Airbnb wants you to do — find a listed place to stay a night or two.

Tippy recommended that startups set up in-person interviews with users within their targeted demographic who can use the website and give feedback on its ease of use, looks and message. For more veteran websites, perhaps the most active users and customers could be contacted to get specific feedback on how and why they use the site.

Ultimately, it needs to be clear to the user what you want them to do on your website, be it buy something, sign up for something or post something.

A badly designed website “has no definition of what they want you to do on their website,” Tippy told the group.

For more information on SCV Startup, visit



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