By Kenneth Sytian
When you’re on the process of designing and redesigning your website, it’s easy to be caught up with the entire process especially when it comes to the aesthetics.
But keep in mind that if you want to accomplish something, if you’re going to boost your brand awareness or you want to generate more leads, your focus should be on how your website should look.
Think about it ‒ there are billions of websites a user can potentially come across and to stand out, you need to ensure that your site is well-optimized, giving your users fantastic UX.
In this post, we’ve put on together some practical guidelines that you should follow on your next website design project:
1. Design Process and Evaluation
When it comes to the entire design process and evaluation, you should curate useful content in your site.
Creating unnecessary material may hinder it from performing optimally when users visit your site. During the entire design process, take into consideration what your users want by gathering information between conversations with actual site users. Listen carefully to whatever suggestions they might have, and meet these expectations so that you can better support their needs.
Half the battle is won if you already know what your users want the moment they step into your website. That’s why you need to engage them during the entire time, making it a gratifying process for you and your audience.
Set appropriate goals when it comes to usability and clearly define how you can reach those goals. That’s why it’s more advisable to work with multiple developers because you’re able to look at your website design in various angles, and potentially reaching multiple audiences.
2. Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is all about organizing and arranging different website elements, giving way for visitors to gravitate on the most vital aspects first.
So, when you’re optimizing your site for UX and usability, you must guide your audience to complete the desired action. Make sure that it’s a natural and enjoyable process for them.
When you adjust the color, position, and size of these particular elements, structure it in a way where visitors will be drawn to these elements first.
3. Navigational Ease
Do you know that approximately 47 percent of site visitors check a company’s services and products page first before looking at other sections in your site? A website that’s easily navigatable sees to it that visitors are more drawn in and find what they’re looking for. Otherwise, they might as well leave.
Here are a few helpful tips on how you can make your site more navigatable:
- Make the entire structure of your navigation simple (put it close to the top of your page.)
- Add navigation on the footer of your website.
- Utilize breadcrumbs on every page of your site (except for the homepage) to ensure that people are more aware of their navigation trail.
- Use a search box on top of your site so that users can easily search for keywords.
- Don’t add too many navigation options on a single page.
- It’s always optimal to keep your navigation not more than three levels deep.
- Add links in your page copy, making it clear where those links will lead to.
Once you’ve singled out what will your site’s main navigation will be, keep it consistent. The location and labels of your navigation should stay on every page of your site.
For you to provide an excellent user experience, your website should be compatible with various devices, browsers and operating systems that most of your visitors are utilizing.
In other words, you need to invest in a website that has a flexible and responsive design. That way, it’s easier for your content to be resized automatically, to fit whatever dimensions of the device a particular user is using.
Aside from that, you can also improve accessibility to as simple as adding alt-text to your image so that visitors who can’t see your images on their respective browsers can still understand what’s on the page.
It’s crucial that your site gives an ultimate user experience on various platforms as opposed to having it appear to be identical in those platforms. It means that you have to stick to platform-specific design conventions rather than trying to squeeze different elements that most of your users are not familiar with.
5. Remain Consistent
Aside from keeping your site navigation uniform, you should also be consistent with the overall look and feel of your site. Think about specific elements such as backgrounds, color schemes, the tone of your writing, typefaces, and so on. Being consistent in these aspects creates a positive impact when it comes to usability and user experience.
But that doesn’t mean that every page of your website should have the same layout. Instead, you should develop various layouts fit for particular types of pages. Ideally, you need to have a layout for landing pages, informational pages, and so on.
When you use these types of layouts on a consistent basis, it’s easier for your audience to understand what specific type of information you’ve like them to find on a given page.
6. Hardware and Software
Another aspect that you need to take into consideration is the hardware and software of your site. While there are many types of browsers out there, ensure that you pick something that’s popular and compatible with different devices such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Find out what most users prefer when it comes to text size, fonts, and other browser settings. When you’re designing your site, strive to make a significant amount of your users happy.
Make your website compatible with different browsers, and also consider other operating systems some of your audience use (Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Mac.)
Ideally, try to design your site with the page load speed in mind. Chances are, your audience doesn’t want to stick around too long and wait for your entire site to load. Another element that’s vital for usability is to monitor screen resolution design. 1024×768 pixels is what most people use when it comes to resolution.
7. User Centric
The website that you build should be built specifically for the needs of the user. Try to get as much feedback as possible, and continuously update various elements to keep up with the preferences of your users, ensuring that your site remains user-centric.
Think about it this way, usability and user experience largely depends on the preferences of your users. After all, if you’re not designing your site for your target audience, then who are you designing it for?
So, an excellent starting point when you want to improve the design of your site is to develop user testing, collect relevant feedback, and make changes accordingly, based on what you’ve learned.
Wrapping It Up
Coming up with a landing page that’s aesthetically pleasing isn’t the end all and be all of your website design. You also need to take full consideration of various elements in your sites like usability, user experience, and the overall design of your site.
Remember that the primary purpose of your site is to represent your brand and communicate with your target audience effectively.
By applying these guidelines to your business website, you can create the best user experience as much as possible to your customers and increase your conversions in the long run.
About the Author
Kenneth Sytian is the CEO of Sytian Productions a web design company in the Philippines. He has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade. He is regarded as one of the top influencers in web design and development in the Philippines. You can connect with Kenneth on LinkedIn and Follow his Company page on Facebook & Twitter.