Few topics have as much written about them online as web design itself, so for this article I want to narrow the focus slightly and give some top tips for designing websites specifically aimed at UK markets.
The UK is renowned worldwide for its design – so what makes it so unique? Aesthetics are always highly subjective, but in my view it’s a combination of Europe’s funky designs and bright colours, with a little pinch of good old-fashioned British reserve thrown in for good measure.
Looking at American websites, navy blues and burgundy reds reminiscent of the stars and stripes are very popular, as are browns harking back to the woodsy days of the founding fathers.
In UK designs, the colour palette tends to be a little brighter, while the designs tend to be a little simpler and sleeker.
British audiences don’t tend to appreciate overt marketing messages. You’re likely to win us over with something more abstract, comedic, or self-deprecating.
For example, the slogan for a popular small car in the UK is “This is now”. The same car on the company’s American website is marketed with the slogan “It’s a pretty big deal”.
Both boast the car’s technology and economy, but the first slogan is definitely more subtle.
There’s not space here to list everything to think about when setting up a UK e-commerce website, but here are a few of the most important.
The choice of available payment gateways is different in the UK: while PayPal is popular on both sides of the pond, there are several very popular gateways in the USA that aren’t available in the UK and vice versa.
It’s important to check which regulations will apply to UK consumers, with the distance selling regulations being of particular importance for e-commerce websites. The Business Link website is a good source of information about which regulations may apply.
VAT accounting may also apply if your turnover reaches a certain threshold, and this can get very complex so it’s worth checking with a professional accountant.
Meanwhile certain Briticisms such as “trolley” or “postage” might make your UK-based shopper feel a teensy bit more at home than “cart” or “shipping”, as will a.uk domain name.
Search Engine Optimisation
It’s important for search engines to recognise that your website is UK based. Again using a.uk domain as your main address is recommended unless you’re a multi-national, and choose a web host whose servers are based in the UK too.