My process for creating an effective website combines these 3 key elements:
UI and UX design sets the foundation for your website
Understand how people behave with your website
Connect with your visitors, so you can get them to act
There's art and science to great web design. It isn't just about making everything look nice. It's important to look professional and trustworthy, but you also need to understand how your visitors behave to help to get the best out of your site.
I do this by understanding the psychology of your visitors, since this is such a critical part of how people interact with your website.
Copywriting is a highly overlooked, almost secret ingredient of great web design and certainly isn't something most web designers know much about. Great copywriting allows you to connect with your visitors because it has the power to guide what your users feel. Ultimately, it can get people to act.
Brands I've Worked With
Ecommerce store with over 4.4 million registered users selling items from some of the biggest brands in the world, including Apple, Adidas, Armani, Ferrari, Sony, Nike, Porsche, Versace and many more.Read the Case Study
One of the largest travel companies in the world. They operate in 180 countries and have 30 million customers.Read the Case Study
I designed a live TV editing web app called Grabyo Studio, for Sky Sports to perform extra promotion on transfer deadline day, one of the busiest days in the football calendar.Read the Case Study
Learn from Great Design Book
Much of my spare time is spent studying the best web design work in the world and teaching other designers everything I learn.
I've written a book, called Learn from Great Design: Volume 1, analysing the great design of other big brands, including Airbnb, Virgin America, Pizza Hut vs Dominos, Avis Car Hire and more...Read the Case Study
Case Study: SecretSales
Increasing conversion rates and improving the user experience to make happier customers who spend more, and help grow the user base to over 4 million signups
SecretSales had an outdated website, so as the only designer, I worked closely with the product manager to overhaul the entire design, visually as well as improving the UX. I worked for them as a full-time designer for 18 months and I now work with them as a consultant.
SecretSales is a private shopping club and although membership is free, you are required to register in order to enter the site. This provides a challenge in converting visitors into members. We noticed immediately that the initial form was just too long and our research confirmed our thoughts that it was not converting as well as we knew it could be.
Initially we couldn’t convince the marketing team to remove unnecessary fields such as DOB and Post Code from the registration form so we had to work around that issue as best we could.
The first step we took was to split the form into multiple steps to make it look less intimidating. Research shows that breaking a form into smaller chunks makes it less intimidating and therefore easier to get started. In addition to that, psychology studies show people are more likely to complete a task they've already started.
The registration conversion rate increased by 30% as a result
During the time I was a full-time employee for SecretSales, I noticed there was a need to help the front-end developers due to the amount of work they had to do. I worked closely with them to create a style guide, to improve the consistency of the brand across the entire website.
(Click/tap on the image above to see the full style guide)
It was also useful to the company as a whole, as they could make changes by using the style guide, without having to hire another designer for smaller pieces of work. It gives them more flexibility, reduces costs and takes less time, all while keeping the design consistency across the entire website. See the full style guide (977KB JPG).
81/100 on the System Usability Scale (SUS)
System Usability Scale is an industry standard way to measure the usability of a design based on a questionnaire given to users. It consists of 10 statements with five response levels of ranging from "Strongly agree" to "Strongly disagree".
A score out of a maximum of 100 is calculated from the results. The average SUS score is 68. SecretSales is well above average with an A grade score of 81 which puts it in the the top 10% of scores. I'm proud to have contributed to that achievement using my design knowledge.
"Tom doesn’t cut corners"
"Tom was the catalyst in changing the way we approached web-design, specifically moving to responsive-design a full 6 months before the movement emerged in the wider industry. He tackles challenges by future-proofing UX.
"I appreciate the standard he has set internally with delivering pages that work effectively.
"Tom is reliable, straight-forward and keen to understand the nuances of the business in order to develop relevant work. He doesn’t cut corners. I would and have recommended Tom because I know he delivers to a high standard."
Nish Kukadia CEO, SECRETSALES.com
We made sure to constantly collect user feedback, so we could see what we were doing well and what could be improved based on actual experiences. Here are just a few of the many positive comments we received:
“Excellent site with ordering system made extremely simple. Will continue to purchase from this site.”
“The shopping experience with secretsales went well. A very good site. Well done.”
“Perfect shopping experience, website is very easy to use.”
“I made my purchased and checkout within 5 minutes, it was very quick and efficient very good service i will be most likely use your services again thank you very much”
"Great experience. Website is easy to use and checkout is efficient. First time ordering and will definitely be doing so again.”
"Easy to order, good pictures, easy to navigate website and payment very easy. I would definitely return, thanks”
"Very easy too use, well laid out clear presentation payment pages were also clear and easy to use”
"It was a really good experience. Alot better than other similar sites”
"Your shopping experience is very simple, quick and easy. Especially processing the actual card payment at the end which makes such a difference especially when you are trying to slip a sneaky purchase in while you are supposed to be working!"
"Im going to be in my wifes good books forever....so amazed at how seemless the mobile site was…”
"I find this a very very easy website to use and i have had quite a few purchases from Secret sales, its one of my favourite sites"
Case Study: Learn from Great Design
I wrote a design book that has generated thousands of dollars in sales
Teaching other designers has been a passion of mine for a number of years on my blog. Over 11,000 designers are subscribed to my email newsletter and in 2014, I wrote a book called Learn from Design: Volume 1, which has gone on to generate thousands of dollars worth of sales.
The main benefits of the book are:
- Understand the final results of many great design details coming together
- Make more informed design decisions
- Improve your eye for great design
- Communicate design decisions with more confidence
The ebook is available here.
"Valuable information in every case study"
"Learn from Great Design has been the catalyst for improving from my eye for design. Tom was detailed and provided valuable information in every case study. I loved that he took on the challenge to study big companies like AirBnb. This book was a God-send.
This book has been the main resource that has helped me improve the design of my own website. There is nothing like it on the market!
I highly recommend this book for UX/UI Designers and Front End devs. It is visual, practical, engaging, and full of tips to help anyone detect great design or create it themselves. This is a book I will revisit time and time again! It is THAT good!"
- Camille L. UI/UX Designer
My Design Blog
I've been running my design blog since 2009, when I launched it under the name Inspect Element. It now lives here on tomkenny.design. Initially, I started it to improve my writing but it has become a key part of my web design learning. I teach everything I learn, helping me to reinforce my knowledge and build upon it.
My design newsletter has over 11,000 email subscribers
Since then, it has achieved a good deal of success. I've written for and been featured in some of the biggest web design and development websites, such as Smashing Magazine, WebDesigner Depot, Creative Bloq and Treehouse.
It has also been the platform that has allowed me to successfully sell products. Prior to the success of Learn from Great Design, I used to sell WordPress Themes, generating over five figures of revenue.
The free versions of my WordPress themes were downloaded 48,657 times
Great Design Details: Free Design Course
I followed the ebook up with a free design course called Great Design Details, which has been consistently driving sales of the book. Its a daily email course designed to teach smaller design details
Subscribe to Great Design Details
Improve your design knowledge in just a minute or two a day, for free
Great Design Details
You'll get a free email every Monday to Friday with actionable design details that will increase the effectiveness of your designs. Each one only takes about a minute or two to read.
Case Study: Sky Sports
Designing a tool to help broadcasters share key moments directly from live TV, to increase reach, engagement and revenue
I was the only designer on a team responsible for creating a tool, called Grabyo Studio, for Sky Sports to perform extra promotion on transfer deadline day, one of the busiest days in the football calendar. The tool allowed Sky Sports to "grab" sections of live TV and share them across multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The Sky Sports News team were able to easily select portions of the Sky Sports News coverage and share it with their followers on Twitter and Facebook through the use of an online tool. I designed it to be easy to use and it certainly helped Sky Sports as they attracted over 500,000 views.
Sky Sports attracted over 500,000 views in just one day with this tool
The tool has gone on to be used by other brands, such as Wimbledon, UEFA Champions League, BT Sport, La Liga, the England national football team and more.
High Praise from Wimbledon
"The ease with which Grabyo Studio allowed us to create social videos as part of our content offering and distribute them to our global digital audience was very impressive."
Alexandra Willis Head of Communications, Content & Digital, The All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Limited
Case Study: TUI Travel
One of the world's leading travel companies
Flexible Flights desperately required a site in order for their booking agents to efficiently book flights for their customers. They wanted a world-class designed website optimised for usability so that the agents could get the most out of it.
I designed the logo you see above, placing a plane icon in place of the 'x' to try and capture the same sort of feeling FedEx created with their 'invisible' arrow in their logo. I felt it would be memorable once people noticed it as it was unique and interesting but unfortunately they went with a generic globe icon, "designed" by another designer, which doesn't make it stand out from the crowd. They played it too safe in my opinion.
Austravel specialises in holidays and flights in the Australia and New Zealand. I had the opportunity to redesign their entire website from scratch. My goal was to create something inspiring and adventurous, to mimick the style of holidays we were offering.
Below, you can see the progress tracker design for Austravel. I spent so much time researching and designing progress trackers across multiple TUI Travel brands, I even wrote an article about them for Smashing Magazine: Progress Trackers in Web Design: Examples and Best Practices.
The destination pages were presented in a very visual way to aid usability. Here you can see the example of Australia and how the different territories are divided on the map. I also included secondary information below to add extra information about each territory.
I also redesigned Meon Villas as one of my first tasks when I joined TUI Travel, using a combination of strong blues to represent the sea and sky and terracotta inspired by roof tiles some of the villas on offer.
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