Consider testing different website design ideas before launching into development, if you are starting a new website or redesigning an existing one.
Why? Designers may come up with many different design ideas, but you need to select the most effective one for your target audience.
Even if you think you know your audience well, you are not the user. Users come to your website with different agendas and experiences. They will have different ways of interacting with it. The only way to find the most effective website design idea is to test different design concepts.
How to Test Website Design Ideas
In the concept stage, you can do it by simply using still pictures of different website designs showing how it may look like. Do it with real content and as close as possible to a finished look.
Even if interactivity is missing in this approach, you will learn tons about the first impression, the capacity to grab attention, and the ability to invite visitors to come in and explore your website site.
By comparing website designs in a simple concept testing you will learn how different elements speak to your audience, including:
- Color scheme
- Content organization
- Navigation expectations
- Potential sources of abandonment
- Brand image elicited by the design
- Target audience affinity (Is this website for me?)
- Concerns and anxieties about using your website
- Users’ reaction to calls to actions and labels
Test With Your Target Audience
Testing these elements with your target audience early in the design phase will save you time and money in the long run. Doing so, you will be able to launch a website that will work for your business from the get-go.
Remember that there is no such thing as ‘my product/service is for everybody.’ Think carefully about whom you want to present your content, products, and services. Testing with the wrong audience will only provide useless insights.
Testing different website design ideas doesn’t have to be complicated or very expensive. If your budget is tight, the more reason to start with a simple design concept test. It would be better than just relying on personal taste or misleading assumptions about your target market.
(An earlier version of this article was published on November 17, 2011. The article was last updated and revised on November 5, 2019.)