But things have changed lately. It is no longer about designing a website that look good rather the concept of web design is now revolved around the idea of making it super friendly for the users. Since the purpose of a website is to convert as many visitors into customers as possible, web designers are leaving no stone unturned to come up with eye candy websites that score high on the user-friendliness front.
Designing a website is like building a house where architecture plays the most crucial role. Just like a house cannot be built without having a perfect plan in advance, you simply cannot design and develop a website without creating a mock up first. If you are into web design, you are well aware of the fact that a web design project cannot start without having a perfect plan in the form of some sketches and mockups in advance.
Both the customer and the web designer need to have a clear understanding about the functionalities and the features that the website is going to have, otherwise the design project is going to face a barrage of problems soon. There are different factors and facts that need to be taken into consideration while designing a website and the most important of them all is User experience. Without having a proper User experience plan in advance, you are surely to see an exodus of visitors from your website and your business profit is surely going to tank over time.
This is the reason why most of the web designers are spending hours it not days to fine tune the User experience of the website so that the customer is going to have a website that convert more visitors into customers.
Here in this article we’re going to discuss how User experience of a website can be fine tuned and enhanced without wasting your time and energy –
User Are the king
In the early days of Internet, most Web Designers would not care much about the users. They would simply start designing a website caring a little for what the users actually want. Their purpose was to design a website that looks good and that’s all.
It was fine though, because in those days, there was not much scope to include too many interactive elements on a website. Most of the programming languages were in the development stages. And that means, website didn’t have the fireworks or the prowess that a designer needed to add some basic functions like user registration, customer acquisition, mail function, payment gateway etc.
But after that, things changed dramatically. People started selling products online and most of the brands also started having their brand presence on the web in the form of features rich websites. So when you are trying to sell or promote product or service online, you need to make sure that the users are not having any difficulty while browsing the website because if that happens, users will start leaving the website in hordes and this will have a very bad impact on your brand image and your profit margin will be impacted directly.
You need to understand that not all visitors are tech savvy and that means if you are adding some features that are way too complicated, most of the visitors are going to face a number of difficulties while browsing your website and while collecting information that they need. You need to have a clear understanding of what your target audience is looking for in your website. Once you have that information, we need to figure out a way to make it easier for the audience to find that information.
For example if you are running an E-commerce website and you want the visitors to buy more products, you need to make sure that the buying process is very simple. People should not be forced to share personal information while buying a product on your website because this will make people nervous and they might leave the website without purchasing the product and this is going to hurt your business bottom line badly.
Fewer is better
There is no need to add unnecessary graphical elements on your website, if the purpose of the website is to convince and convert visitors into customers. The rule of thumb is to include only a single call to action button on a landing page, adding too many Call to Action buttons and multiple slogans on a page will only lead to more confusion and this will have a negative impact on the User experience.
First try to imagine yourself as a visitor and then try to browse through your website or at least spend 5 minutes on the website. This will give you an invaluable insight on how people browse your website and what issues they usually face while browsing the website. Once you have a clear understanding of the issues that the users usually face while browsing your website, you should make a concerted effort to redress those issues as soon as possible.
Try to remove distractions from the conversation path and this can be achieved easily by making it obvious to the users the purpose of different designing elements. For example, a call to action button should have clear text written on it. The word “Click Here” does not make any sense to a user who is supposed to click on a call to action button. The text that you are supposed to use on a call to action button should be clear and concise.
For example, if the purpose of the button is to get people registered to the newsletter section of the website, it should be clear about it. Use the word like “Get Registered” rather than using from vague words like “Click Here”. These are some simple tips that you need to incorporate in the design to enhance the User experience of a website.
Above The Fold Section
In layman words, the Above The Fold Section is the section of a website is the part that users can see without scrolling down. As obvious, this is the most important section of a website. Even if the visitors bounce back within seconds, they will get a glimpse of the Above The Fold section of the website and which is why so many web designers spend hours to fine tune the look and feel of this section.
Just because it is the most important section of a template that doesn’t mean that you should be adding as many designing element as one can imagine in this section as this will lead to a clumsy interface. The rule of thumb is to include a high quality image, a powerful headline and a call to action button in the Above The Fold Section. Some people like to use one or two paragraphs in this section to convey the message to the target audience and this is fine as long as the text is to the point, crisp and concise.
The idea is to design design an Above the Fold section that allows users to scan that section easily and effectively.
User experience is not about making the design simple and intuitive for the user; It is more than that. User experience design involves copywriting, web development, conversion Optimisation, Interactivity and more. Therefore just making the design impressive is not sufficient alone.
You need to make sure that you are collaborating with other teams to ensure that each element of the website be it content, Meta data, conversion funnel, web design etc are in line with the said purpose of the design. Collaboration is the key to success when it comes to User experience design.
Before you start designing a website or trying to make some changes in the User experience front, you need to make sure that you have done enough research. Of course, we are not asking you to read some fat and ugly books on User experience design, however it would be a great if you can manage to do so. Rather what we are suggesting is to browse some websites of the same niche as this would give you a fair idea what your competitors are doing.
Make a list of the positive and negative things that your competitors are doing in the user’s experience front and then try to combine all the positive aspects and come up with the new plan.
Listen to Your Customers
Listening to your customers and their needs will also help you to score high in the User experience front. A good way to get feedback from the target audience is by launching a beta version of the website and then asking some random users to browse the website and give their valuable feedbacks. This way you will get to know what the audience actually wants and then you can frame the website accordingly.
Incorporate Ample White Space
The best way to help users to concentrate on certain areas of the website is by decluttering the interface. If you are adding too many designing elements and functions and features on a template, it will eventually make the website look clumsy and boring.
The best way to make the most of the website real estate is by eliminating all the design elements that are not adding any value to the website. Make sure there is enough space between an image and text; overlapping images or texts is the last thing on earth that you want to include on a website. The Call to Action Button of the website should not be surrounded by other elements, as this would lead to distractions and eventually you will see a sudden decrease in the conversion rate.
Pagespeed is another important factor that you would definitely don’t want to ignore. If your website is taking 1 minute or more to get loaded, you can be rest assured that at least 70 to 80% of your website visitors will bounce back.
So, you need to work hard to reduce the loading time of your website and this can be achieved easily by following the below tips –
- Compress files
- Don’t use high definition images
- Don’t use redundant code
- Avoid redirects
- Don’t make the webpage too long
These are some simple tips that are that you would need to incorporate in the design process to ensure that the website is getting loaded on all devices and platforms easily.
- Law, Effie Lai-Chong, et al.Understanding, scoping and defining user experience: a survey approach.
- Miller, Brian. Above the Fold: Understanding the Principles of Successful Web Site Design.
- PageSpeed Tools | Google Developers