crowdSPRING’s Pete Burgeson on Web Site Design
When you sell something that’s a little more complicated to explain than, say, dresses or books, your Web site design cannot complicate matters. Pete Burgeson, marketing director for Chicago-based crowdSPRING, a startup that offers businesses and creative professionals a transparent process for freelance creative projects, faced the challenge of developing a site that not only introduces a new business concept, but that also must induce visitors to transact online.
Target Marketing: What were crowdSPRING’s goals for its Web site?
Pete Burgeson: Our goals for the Web site were to have a very simple, streamlined design that could accommodate future changes well. Because we’re just launching and working out the kinks before we start marketing heavily, we didn’t have traffic or conversion goals for the initial launch. Rather, the goal was to launch a good product without a lot of bugs (so we didn’t want to rush to market) and one that could grow with us.
TM: What are two essential Web design best practices that you’re following?
PB: First and foremost, keep it simple. There’s a great book on Web design principles by Steve Krug called, “Don’t Make Me Think!” And I think that sums up our belief on Web design. Any time that a visitor to your site has to think about something, three things will happen: Either they’ll (a) get it right, (b) get it wrong, (c) be confused and give up. One out of three chances of success aren’t good, so you really want to take the time and just make all the forms and processes overwhelmingly obvious. Don’t make your users think, or you’ll pay for it in the end.
The second thing would be to test, test, test! The Web is an interesting medium and one that I don’t think marketers are still all that comfortable with on the whole. That is, sure, we’ve all been told that we should test one direct mail offer against another, but most people still don’t do it—it’s costly, it’s complicated and a pain. We just make the best decision that we can, pick one and go for it. And the Web is the same way—most marketers just build their site, do the best they can and go for it. But the Web is different, because it’s so easy to test and learn. It’s downright shocking how many times the offer, layout, visual, etc., that you think people will go for isn’t the best one!