While design is important when it comes to website design, it isn’t the sole reason for a website’s success. Usability and utility are equally important as at the end of the day, it is the user who decides if they want to carry on using said website.
The user should be one of the top things you think about when designing your website and in this week’s blog, we will discuss some effective web design techniques to help give your visitor a better experience and result in a more profitable and successful website.
Keep your Visitors in Mind
First things first, when designing a website you need to design for whoever is visiting your website. While it is tempting to design something that is innovative and out of the box, if a user cannot navigate around the website, they will leave.
People are creatures of habit and what they do when they enter a website mimics how they act in real-life. If they are shopping, they will enter, have a quick browse then if something catches their eyes they will click it. If they are looking for a service, they will look for information, and so on.
So with this in mind, you need to make sure their journey is seamless and that they can get from point A to point B without any hassle.
The Five W’s – Who, What, When…
Below are some points to consider when thinking of your visitor and their behaviour:
Who are your visitors?
Why are they on your website? Are they just looking for information or do they want to buy something?
What will they do when they get on your website? Think like your customer and list every possible action they could do
Where or How will they find what they are looking for?
When will they be on your website? This one is more for things like customer service or social media, good times to tweet or if you have a live chat function, when they will be available.
KISS – Keep It Sweet and Simple.
When it comes to the visitor’s experience, you do not want to over complicate things. If you make things too long winded and it takes too long for a visitor to complete an action, they may become frustrated and leave. So make sure their journey is simple.
An example of over complicating things is usually with contact forms. If a visitor is looking for more information, make sure the form is easy to find and also simple to fill out. It is best practice to keep contact forms to the below format:
Depending on the business, you can get away with more fields i.e. account number, a simple CAPTCHA field, or asking for more contact details (though asking for one contact detail is best as many people now are less enthusiastic giving away a lot of information). Just make sure to keep it simple as the majority of people will not want to spend a lot of time filling out a long form.
Make Things Familiar
While it is great to try new things, as mentioned, people are creatures of habits and it is best to stick to what is known. If you go too far from what is considered standard in web design, visitors to your website may become confused and frustrated, thus leaving your website.
So, for example, the navigation for your website should look and work like a navigation bar, or Call to action buttons and underlined text should allow the user to click to another part of the website. Even the placement of certain features should be kept in familiar places so that the user can easily find them.
Help Give your Visitors a Nudge
While some people think in a linear way, the human eye is actually non-linear and can notice patterns and movement instantly.
With this in mind, it is good to help give them a nudge and make elements on your website stand out. Images will stand out more than text, and moving images tend to stand out more than static images. So have a think about where you would like your visitor to click and implement something that will get them there.
Test, Test, Test!
Once you have built a website that focuses on the visitor, it is a good idea to get people to test it. Get your friends and family (everyone you know!), who haven’t worked on the project, to have a go on the website. They will be able to tell you how their web journey was and also make suggestions on how to improve it.