Designers, put on your marketing hats

What designers need to know about online marketing nowadays

Apr 21, 2014
Its now time for all designers in Dubai and across the UAE to start thinking like marketers – atleast a little bit. Gone are the days when designers could just be designers and not worry about problems like user experience and conversion optimization. So here is a very brief run through on modern conversion optimized design that both designers and marketers will find more than useful. You can also see all these principles in action at Cactimedia Portfolio.

Less is indeed more. We know that’s too cliché nowadays but its 100% true. If you want to design web sites in Dubai that convert better then you have to think of eliminating distractions as much as possible – irrelevant links, buttons, visual elements , blocks of content etc. One way of thinking about this is to consider everything that does not nudge the user in the direction of an actual conversion (clicking the buy button, signing up for a newsletter etc…) as a leak. Plug those leaks and get all the design and content elements to encourage that one click.

If you are not convinced that less is more when it comes to website design and landing page design then I would implore you to read the book, The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz.

Bottom line is that if you give the user too many choices on your page then he/she will end up doing nothing. Each page should have just one purpose. Make that your iron clad rule and fight off the temptation to “add a little more”.

Some examples from my personal experience in the last few months:
  • The product page of an ecommerce store is meant get the user to click the “add to cart” button, so make the product image, price and… yes, the add to cart button really clear and prominent. And yes, don’t add those social share buttons on the product page.
  • The menu page of a restaurant’s website is supposed to provide info (images and text) around each dish in a very easy-to-understand way along with the price. Fight off the temptation to add anything else.
  • A daily deals site is meant to get users to download deals, so make the details about the deals and the “Download Now” button really clear.
  • If you are designing a landing page for an ebook then the capture form and the download button – along with an image of the ebook and visual cues pointing towards the download button should be really prominent.


Now lets talk about social share buttons as I have seen this being done wrongly so many times.
Too many social share buttons is not a good thing. Having just Facebook, Twitter & Google+/Linkedin/Pinterest is totally fine. If you are not sure, it’s a good idea to check where most of the traffic is coming from. Generally, if women are your target audience (or are your most avid customers) then go for Pinterest or Instagram. If you are targeting professionals, then go for Linkedin.

What about lead capture forms?
Depends on the objectives of the business. If higher quality leads are the need of the hour then go for longer forms with more fields, but if quantity is the objective then go for forms with less fields. Generic products and services generally shouldn’t have forms with more than 3-4 fields. Don’t add fields without good reason.

Bottom line

Design pages with clear goals in mind. If the goal is not clear, ask specific questions. Then look at each element on the page and ask yourself, “how will this element help achieve this goal?” and if the answer is too far fetched or too vague, then consider eliminating it or changing it.

Now, it’s over to you. Use the comments box below to send me your thoughts, opinions and critique. If you have had a good/bad experience with this approach, I would love to hear about it.