Website Graphic Design Standards – Image Based Essential Sales Driver or Just Window Dressing?

Philip Allen's picture

Many people think of graphic design as fairly subjective – beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that.

But can graphic design, or more importantly, the standard of graphic design on your website help or hinder sales, and if so, by how much?

Graphic Design

I have to confess I am a graphic design standards advocate. In my formative years I cut my teeth with one of the world’s largest Advertising Agencies and learnt all about typography, imagery, quiet space and messaging.

In fact, everything you need to create a compelling visual canvass that people will lock onto.

I’ve tried to instil a culture of persuasive design in D. Agency and its fair to say its one of our strengths. We have a reputation for creating websites with strong visual identity but its not all plain sailing.

On many an occasion, our design work has been dismissed by a minority of people as “eye candy” or “window dressing”.

This tends to happen when companies approach us for work with an “Organisation Centric” approach to web design, or comments come from people who don’t deliver particularly high standards of design, choosing the “a flashy looking website is useless  if it doesn’t deliver what the customer wants” defence.

So how valid is the argument for strong design identity on a Website?

The easiest way for you to demonstrate this is by using one of the fantastic low cost testing tools from companies like or

User Testing

If you haven’t tried these tools yet, you really should – they can tell you why people might be leaving your Website and lots of other things as well.

These tools provide you with a real life video recording of how people interact with your Website. You can discover what the initial impression is of your site when a visitor lands on it for the first time, and you can also learn about problems or ‘friction points’ that users find irritating.

Here is a transcript of three responses from a test managed by on behalf of one of their clients.

“The site seemed kind of amateurish. There was a feeling that the company did not take the Website seriously.”

“In general, I think the home page needs a refresh to make it more attractive – it is now more like a virtual storefront than one from a company as well established as [company name].

“It was unprofessional and amateur looking and hard to find the correct link to use. Regardless of what size company you might be, a website can make you look as though you are the largest company in the UK… in any industry.”

Now see how a small improvement in graphic design gave an overnight 7.4% improvement

In response to similar feedback, carried out a very simple page re-design. There were no changes to the copy, or to elements on the page or their position – just a re-design of existing elements.

The result was an instant 7.4% increase in conversion rate from 1.78% to 1.91%.

If we take a B2B website with 10,000 visits per month and an average customer sale value of say £5,000, then the new webpage will generate £65,000 more revenue per month or £780,000 more revenue per annum.

All for the right design updates.

Conversion Table

Our message

If your visitors are concerned about the appearance or professionalism of your Website, you could get a massive boost in leads, sales or advocacy if you re-design it.

What could an increase of say 0.5% in conversion rate mean for you?

Use our conversion rate comparison tool and enter data for your own business case – it’s free to use and you don’t have to register.

The results will demonstrate the increase in revenue from 0.5% increments in conversion rate. Go on, try it now and see what it could mean for your business.

Still not convinced?

Why not try or

Try using Likeart based statement responses to prime your testers. Likeart responses normally look for a response to a question based on six levels of response ranging from “Completely Disagree to Completely Agree”.

You can adapt this for user testing to get responses based on peoples “perception” of your company through your website, which is exactly how new visitors learn about your business.

Brief your testers along the following lines:

“Please visit the following website [your website], spend no more than 5 minutes navigating the site and record your response to the following statements:

  • “[Your company] is a Top 3 company in its field”
  • “[Your company] can help you increase your sales”
  • “[your company] can help you become more efficient”
  • “[Your company] can help you reduce costs”
  • “I would definitely buy from [your company]”

You can tweak these questions to suit your own business but remember this important point:

All sales begin with a person’s perception about your business. It’s impossible for a person to form an in-depth assessment of your company from the first interaction.

The progression of the first interaction comes down to the person’s perception of your business and for that you need image.

An image of trust, integrity and reputation is all you need to flow a contact through to a lead, sale or advocate.

And a professional image starts with a high standard of graphic design.

Related Articles:

Planning to Invest in SEO or AdWords? See How Conversion Rate Optimisation Could Help Give You a Bigger Bang For Your Buck

D. Agency - Website Graphic Design Standards

About the author:

is the Studio Director at D., and a Drupal UX Design Consultant in charge of high conversion rate responsive web design.

If you’d like to talk to Phil, get in touch via the Contact Us page or give him a ring on UK: 0844 544 9553 or INTL: +44 (1) 202 390822

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