User experience is one of the main factors that drive your website’s success or failure. It is said that almost 94% of first-impressions are design-driven, based on that visitors decide whether your website is worthy of their time. Business owners tend to strive for site designs that are unique and creative, however, sticking with a layout and interface that is simplistic and already familiar to customers is the best strategy to enhance your UX and conversions.
What really makes a good website user experience?
Below we have compiled a list of essential components that we believe business owners and web designers should take into account when building a website with the right user experience.
Research your audience
Knowing your audience must come first before you intend to build a new website. When conducting your research you will learn key elements that will help you with the layout and interface that your audience is looking for. User experience is unique for each industry sector. To get a better understanding, website designers should research competitor websites to get a feeling of what works and what might not work for the user experience. For example, if you are in the fashion industry – ASOS used a simplistic layout however they also added an orange colour to highlight special deals and new features to attract the attention of their target audience.
What you also need to consider is that your website is not just a platform that provides information about your products and services. It is essentially your brand (what your customers think and feel you do). Try to use a design that will be comfortable for your audience that might be making the website colours to be easier on the eyes, having a navigation bar that is visible and simplistic. For example, if you market to the older generation doesn’t make the website difficult to navigate or include new fad features. Remember to incorporate your audience’s feedback into your design, considering the end user’s key points is significantly valuable for building the right user experience.
Designing a User Experience
All brands have their own unique style and features that help them stand out from the competition – starting from the brand logo, colours palette, typography etc. However what really makes a brand stand out is their value and goal. This is what business owners and designers should think about before they start building a successful user experience on their website. Creating a unique design aesthetic will help you increase brand recognition/loyalty and grow your business gradually. Focusing on maintaining a consistent design style across all your channels and website will make your brand more memorable and recognisable. Check out below our Maven Monday on Brand Loyalty for more information.
Nowadays, modern websites contain more visual and interactive features to evoke a stronger emotional response that will attract attention amongst the competition. It is more important to make the experience of your website memorable. Users often forget the content information but they will remember how it made them feel. Layout, infographics, text and interactive design elements work together to create a user experience that is not only based on information e.g Dropbox uses infographics and vectors to break down their content information and make it more interactive.
Layout best practices
A visitor’s first impression of your website is important, specifically when it comes to layout and design. The website layout influences a big portion of the user experience. For example, people face a particular problem (they need to sell their house) and need a quick solution, which your website can provide (services that meet customer expectations), however the way the solution is presented is more important than the actual content itself. As a result, your website visitors will more likely reward you by purchasing your product and increasing a higher chance to convert. Before website designers start building a website, they consider the URLs, buttons and navigation placement, which focuses on usability before design.
In only a half of a second, users evaluate the design of a website, having that in mind business owners and web designers should choose what actions must be the most apparent to their target audience. Try to visually focus the attention on the main buttons by making them stand out more e.g “Learn More” is very a generic content button, why not try something more personal- “Get to know us”.
Less is more – try to put the most valuable features that your brand has on the homepage plus the most relevant information about your services – do not try to fit everything. In addition, most people do not fully read a website, what they do is they scan it. Infographics and visual content is a way to attract the eye and give the key points of your services to stimulate action.
Screenshot of Stripe website
Consider providing a consistent and clean design that is simpler for users. By doing this your target audience will be already aware of what to expect when you are reusing your brand colours, aesthetics and behaviours, which makes it easier for your customers to figure out the interface.
Clear navigation is an essential feature that every website should have. It is more important to make the navigation of your site easier than to try a unique flashy design. Zubtitle uses a simple gradient that makes their website stand out while at the same time still manages to offer a simple and clean navigation bar. Using contrast to make important elements stand out is also a great way of making the navigation menu user-friendly.
F – Layout
76% of people want a website that makes the information easier to find, website designers can do that by making the layout predictable. For example, most websites such as Dovico have their logo on the top-left corner, phone number and contacts tend to be on the right top corner and the information above the fold is typically designed in an “F” pattern, which follows the natural direction of the human eye.
As a rule of thumb websites should always take under two seconds to load, otherwise, there will be a lack of interest and no potential conversions. Surprisingly, websites such as Steam load quickly despite containing dozens of elements on their homepage. You can design your website to be fast and efficient if you choose a web host that takes performance seriously. It is good to know that Google takes into account how fast a website responds if that is not considered then the organic exposure of your website gains will drop massively.
Creating the right user experience of your website is more important than the website’s overall content. Making the most important elements on the interface a focal point by enlarging the font heading for examples, is how several websites such as Camden town brewery & Elje-Group achieve interest and visit stays.
Other ways to enhance your user experience is by incorporating graphics and interactive elements to your website. Use the power of design elements to represent your brand in a way that is consistent and easier to understand. There should be a balance between creativity and usability on your website, with that said it is best if you stick to a familiar looking interface with standard objects such as – login access is located on the upper right corner.
Additionally, when adding infographics and visual elements on your website pages try to match those with your brand aesthetics and try to position them in a way that is consistent with your information. Adding too many images and infographics only may overcrowd your website. For that matter, it is best that you balance enough text and visual cues. Get some inspiration by checking out the latest web designs to see what exactly is your target audience looking for in a website.
Design for all devices
Creating a website with a responsive layout is crucial when you consider that search volumes of mobile devices have increased. Offering a seamless mobile experience is a priority for any business owner and web designer. An important fact to highlight – 67% of people are more likely to purchase from a website optimised for mobile.
Screenshot Blue – zoo website on desktop and mobile
Start by choosing a theme that has a responsive design, that will react to the screen size of the device that people are using to view your website. Why is this important? If users are unable to perform the needed actions to convert on your website, they will move on to your competitors. Not only that but if your website fails to adapts itself to the mobile environment, 66% of your audience will bounce.
To avoid that web designers need to create a website that gives users an emotional connection to the experience of using the brand product or service. If you are building an interface and not an experience, you will have limited chances of gaining the following you need to make your business successful.
Based on these tactics business owners and website designers can achieve a memorable user experience that will help them increase conversions.
Getting the right user experience can be quite difficult at first but hopefully, these tips will help you create an aesthetically pleasing and usable website. It is important to highlight that offering a seamless user experience that brings you conversions do not happen overnight and it should be carefully planned in advance.
Are you still trying to figure out how to get the right user experience on your website? Download our free Buyer Persona guide today for more information.