Simply put, User Experience (UX) is an amalgamation of web design, web engineering and customer service. Therefore, the best UX principles focus on website branding and design usability and function in order to create a user-friendly website.
As a web designer, providing the best user experience should be your priority. Here are some tips to make a website relevant, simple and easy to navigate for online users:
1. Clarity and Simplicity
Users usually judge a website in half of a second by analysing its design. Make it simple for users to find navigation buttons on the website.
Don’t clutter a web page with buttons and instead make buttons visible as and when needed by users. To make it easier for them to use the website, keep the website design consistent. This way, they will know what to expect when they see certain colours, behaviours and aesthetics on the website.
The user interface should be simple and effective, with consistent fonts and colours. An overload of information that involves excessive scrolling does not make for a user-friendly design. Instead, keep information that is relevant and concise.
2. Website Hierarchy
To ensure smooth navigation, design a clear hierarchy for your website. It involves improving the functionality of your website by mapping.
A map involves a flowchart where each aspect of the website follows the last naturally. It enables you to make the pages of your website flow naturally from one to another.
This allows the users to navigate the website easily and find what they are looking for. It also enables you, as a web designer, to see precisely how your website functions. It will reduce the need to add new plug-ins and themes to your site from time to time, as you will already have a logical design approach.
First, develop an information hierarchy and then proceed towards a site map. The map includes everything that you want from your website and should facilitate the formation of an elegant menu system. Through this, you should be able to construct a hierarchy to effectively interlink your web pages.
3. Smooth Navigation
Navigation is one of the most important UX principles to consider and implement when designing a website. If your website is difficult to navigate in the first place, then the user is less likely to have an overall satisfying experience.
Here are some useful tips regarding navigation:
- Keep the navigation bar simple with useful yet minimum options.
- Do not include too many options in the dropdown menu.
- Use layman terms and avoid jargon.
- Limit the number of clicks on the website.
- Always have an easy way to access the navigation bar.
4. Responsive Design
A responsive design is one factor that makes a website suitable for all devices, such as laptops, computers and smartphones.
The height and width of the display device is its aspect ratio. A good website design is one that is able to fit devices having various aspect ratios.
As a web designer, you should take into account the increasing trend of people accessing websites from their mobile devices. When it comes to smaller screens, make sure that the website is compatible with all smartphone models.
If the content of your website is such that most users tend to access it from their mobile phones, then consider a mobile-first approach to web designing. Keep the content minimised and the text size appropriate. Make sure that buttons can be easily clicked on smaller screens and optimise the images. You can create several prototypes to evaluate your design and select the right one.
5. Good Content
Content should be useful and specific to user demand. The writing style must be in accordance with user preferences and browsing habits.
Use concise phrases to make the content more specific. The language should be plain and objective to make users stay longer on your website or sign up for your services.
Some basic writing tips include:
- Avoid promotional writing.
- Emphasise keywords in bold or italic.
- Do not use exaggerated language.
- Do not use technical names or marketing-induced names.
Users do not read websites; they ‘scan’ them. Organise the content in a visually appealing and comprehensive manner to retain users’ interest. Use different heading levels and bulleted lists to break long blocks of text and make the content easy to read. Adding visual elements, such as infographics, also improves user experience substantially.
6. User in Control
UX research suggests that giving users more control of your website results in a better experience. However, this does not mean giving them complete control.
Remember that your website should be easy to use and too much information can confuse users. Your website should be easy to navigate for a layman as well as a power user. You can hide the advanced options so they are not on the forefront but remains accessible to those who would like to use them.
While providing control to the users, make sure that you keep ‘emergency’ options available. There should be confirmation boxes so that users don’t accidentally damage their session. Also, consider adding a ‘reset’ button so that users can revert to default options.
7. User-First Design
User research and constant testing and refining will result in good usability. A website should be accessible, credible and relevant in order to excel in usability.
Ask yourself why someone would visit your website. Make it easier for the user to achieve their goal when using the website. For example, if your website is an online store, the web interface should facilitate users in completing a purchase.
In order to conduct a usability test, you can conduct a multivariate test on your web design and tweak it based on real feedback. This would allow you to understand what the likes and dislikes of the user and adjust your design according to their preferences.
These core UX principles will enable a smooth user experience. The navigational structure, content and theme should be optimised to enhance your website’s reputation and attract more organic traffic. Remember to cover the major as well as minor aspects to design a great website that attracts traffic.