Just by looking at the previous homepage and the new version, you will get a good idea of how the new Manchester Central website has been radically improved. But as is so often the case, the devil is in the detail.
Bigger images, user-focused navigation, copy that answers key questions that user have and a personable, friendly tone of voice. The combination leads to a best in class website that amounts to a massive improvement on their previous effort.
What the new design does best:
1. Simplify and remove clutter
We all know that sometimes focusing on what to leave out rather than what to add-in is key, right? Good. The new Manchester central website does a great job of removing unnecessary information and providing an experience with a much clearer focus on the important actions they want users to take, whether that is to find suitable information or make contact directly.
The contact page is a great example of how information has been stripped back to the bare necessities.
2. Replace drab text with icons, imagery and strong visual clues
As a continuation from the first point, reducing text is an important goal. For many of you this will be a recap on Steve Krug’s Third Law (from “Don’t Make Me Think” – if you haven’t read it, you should).
“Get rid of half of the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.”
It’s amazing how often the number of words on a page can be reduced without any loss of value to the user. It forces content producers and designers to think creatively about how they present information. The new Manchester Central website relies heavily on imagery and iconography that are simpler, more aesthetically pleasing and much easier to digest.
3. Display logos and text that build credibility
Using logos that bring credibility to your business are a really valuable persuasive asset to use on your website. It’s best when they are well-known brands that users will recognise as you can gain some benefit from the association, for example the investors in people logo below.
Even if the brands are less well known, it can still have a really positive effect because they allow other potential exhibitors and event managers to empathise with the events being run and start to imagine their logo in that space.
4. Provide a personable experience
This won’t be the case for every business or website, but giving a face to the business will allow people to picture who they will be working with and help users to start developing relationships with key members of the team.
The following examples are some of the best we’ve seen.
From the Organisers page:
Meet the full team:
From the Services page:
Could you remove some clutter from your website? Could your replace text with more inviting content? Provide evidence of credibilty? Make it more personable? Let us know if you have seen any of these techniques work first-hand. Before you go, we’ve included a couple of links that you might find useful.
• Manchester Central Goes Live
• 7 Ways to Delight Visitors
• SmartInsights Webinar: The Most influential Persuasive Design Priorities for 2013
• 5 of the Most Influential Techniques to Persuade Visitors to Buy