We spend a lot of time online reading news, navigating websites and using web apps. In some cases, our experience online is not the best we could have.
And it may be due to poor design that didn’t take user experience (UX) into consideration. It’s easy to look from afar and notice these errors, but it’s trickier when you are the one handling a request.
Here are some best practices to consider for UX in website design projects.
- Design should concentrate on user experience
The first and most important ‘commandment’ for website development should be to foreground user experience.
Making the experience of the website memorable is more important than what the website says. Users often forget the data and salient points of content, but they will remember how it made them feel. It works in advertisements, why not use it on web content?
Graphics, layout, text, and interactive elements work in synergy to present the user with an experience, not just present them with information. UX design is a consequential piece of application and web work.
Making your page stand out from the sheer quantity of websites and information on the Internet is essential. Modern websites contain more visual and interactive qualities to strike at more emotional responses to help them stand out in the highly competitive world.
- Websites are scanned, not read
It is a must that your website is scannable because people do not read the details on websites these days, they scan them. Infographics and visuals have become the way for anyone trying to convey instructions or data.
Making your page scannable will appeal to your audience. Most will scan the content for something that strikes them and then they switch to reading when they want to find out more.
- Users want clarity and simplicity
In just half of a minute or less, users evaluate the design of a website, so you need to decide what you want users to do and make it clear and apparent. Don’t make it difficult to find action buttons. Visually focus attention on the main button versus a bunch of buttons on the home page.
Constantly reconsider what your website can do to make it easier to use. Part of the design is making it highly usable for the majority of users and allowing for extra functionality to be hidden and made discoverable as it is needed, not shown all at once.
Also, providing a clear, consistent design is simpler for users. They know what to expect when you use certain established colours and aesthetics in your design, thus reducing the need for them to decipher your intentions. When users are familiar with some aspects of a design, it makes the navigation process clearer and easier to use.
- Common design elements versus creativity
When website design elements are common elsewhere, don’t reinvent them for the sake of reinventing. Getting creative with new UI (user interface) patterns isn’t the smartest thing to do.
Making users think too hard to figure out your UI is not what you want. Like how most e-commerce website design follows the same patterns. You want to have a familiar-looking interface where standard objects like links stand out as links, and log in access is located in the upper right. There is no need to relocate such standardised components.
Creativity with standardised patterns can make your interface hard to work with and does not promote usability. Although you may think non-traditional is cool, it may make it harder for users to navigate and thus it falls into a problem area. Creativity and usability need to have a balance.
URLs, buttons, and navigation placement need to focus on usability before design. It’s best to focus on the layout of these first without the website design in mind, then add the creative elements.
- Know the audience
You must have a good idea of who your audience is for the intended website or app before you begin creating it. How to best design the interface will then come through for it.
Once you have a clear idea of the audience for your website, you can then find out their needs and wants, and design accordingly to meet their desires.
Do ample research on similar websites and know your competitors. The competition can show you some ideas of how this was done. Note the competitor’s colours, layout, style and features.
When you use styles and designs that your audience is already familiar and comfortable with, they will easily navigate through and follow the same usage pattern on your site. You can then differentiate yourself and your site with other ideas to make it stand out, all befitting the user’s needs.
When you’ve identified your audience, remember to incorporate their feedback into your design. Considering the end user’s actionable feedback is especially valuable.
- Design hierarchy
When putting the most important elements on the interface, highlight them so that users focus on them. In website design, there are a lot of ways in which to highlight things, but the most effective is to make it larger than anything else on the screen.
Making something a focal point by making it larger, is how several websites achieve the impossible-to-ignore highlighting of sales or ‘click here’ (a.k.a. call-to-action) buttons.
- User experience qualities
According to user experience design expert Peter Morville, the core of UX design is the value that you are providing to the client. His idea of the key factors of UX is presented in the User Experience Honeycomb. A good, clear and meaningful user experience and user interface design should be:
- Useful – Content should be original and fulfil a need
- Usable – Site must be easy to find
- Desirable – Design elements bring about emotion and appreciation
- Findable – Content needs to be locatable and navigable offsite and onsite
- Accessible – Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities (especially the visually-impaired)
- Credible – Users must believe and trust what you tell them
There are also other schools of thought regarding UX qualities. Here are more things related to building and designing a good user experience:
- Be contextual – Be sure to mark where users are in their path through the interface
- Be human – Be trustworthy, transparent, and approachable with human interaction preferred over machine interaction
- Be discoverable – Be sure users can accomplish their tasks the first time they visit
- Be learnable – Be sure that interaction is easy and moving through the product is seamless. Be sure that users can accomplish their goals on subsequent visits
- Be efficient – Allow users to accomplish repetitive tasks quickly and easily on repeat visits
- Be delightful – Be sure that product delights users so that they have an emotional connection to it and champion your product
- Be a performer – Be sure that the system performs well when users are interacting with it
Users need to have an emotional connection to the experience of using your product. If you are merely creating an interface and not an experience, you have a limited chance of gaining the following you need to make your product a success.
UIs need to be simple, easy to use, and created with the proper colours and fonts representing your brand, for your audience. Don’t forget to integrate end-user feedback while remaining consistent throughout the design.
Design your website’s UX right with I Concept
Looking to create a new website for your business, or seeking to refresh your brand’s webpage? Not too sure how to create the best user experience for your users? I Concept is here to assist you!.
As a leading creative design agency Singapore, we offer a range of digital solutions, from website and e-commerce store design, and comprehensive digital marketing strategy advice. Our team of professional UX designers and programmers are ready to help in your website development. Speak with us today!