The Science of Performance Website Design

There are myriad of tools available that help improve the performance of your website. Today, the No.1 technique that’s changing the way we think about web design is split-testing.

1. What is split testing?

Split-testing is the process by which we create two different versions of the same web page and, utilising Google’s Website Optimizer tool, we present one version to half of your website visitors and the other version to the other half. We then analyse the performance of each web page by tracking the conversions each version produced, be it a product purchase, a newsletter sign-up or any other measurable action.

We then collate the data, align it with the variations in the design of the two web pages and learn something new about what produces a higher level of performance. Doesn’t sound very designy though does it?

But this is the paradox of web design as an art form. It’s a sym-biotic relationship with the linear world of code and analytics.

This is how it works…

2. Red makes it go faster? Or… The power of split testing!

At the most basic level we simply test button colours (a button often being the primary call-to-action on your web page and the first point of call for conversions).

And yes, for the first time we can test if the age old saying holds true… does red make it go faster? Well not faster in terms of speed but driving higher conversions on your website? Absolutely.

There have been countless split-test results that have proved the power of red, from buttons and sales elements to individual navigation items, regardless of the general colour scheme of the design.

Red draws the eye and makes an impact. Everyone knows this and that alone is no revelation. But in web design you can’t simply make your entire website red and expect it to convert. Split-testing allows us to target elements specifically. Rather than leaving the result to an arbitrary ‘feeling’ we source specific data on ‘how’ to use the strength of red.

That’s the key.

And without the ability to test one page against another there’s simply no definable moment to use as a stepping-stone to improved understanding and execution of web design.

This is split-testing’s strength and the impact it’s having on what was always the arbitrary exercise of web design is ground breaking.

3. End result? Testing is redefining the way we think about design.

We are re-evaluating everything we think we know about web design and this has one overriding benefit – we’re expanding the concept of what’s possible on a daily basis rather than resting on what we simply believe to be true.

That is no small thing.

It’s an exciting time to be a web designer and even more so to be a business online.

But there’s one important caveat: Your website needs to be performing to some degree prior to split-testing. Split-testing an underperforming website with minor changes such as buttons or headlines is not where the real benefit of split-testing lies.

How well is your current website performing? If the answer is in the negative then talk to us about a free website health check. Let’s set you on the path to improving your website, improving your results and ultimately making your business a great success online!

Ben Marr

Ben Marr