Design is an important factor in almost everything, and more so on the web. Your web design creates a user experience which may or may not be good. Providing a user with a good user experience would help the user easily get to the relevant piece of content that you want your user to see, and can keep them coming back.
We at our digital marketing agency, here in Singapore always make sure to provide the best possible user experience and design for our clients. And we are going to share with you some helpful tips to elevate your website’s user experience and design, whether you’re a freelance web designer, developer, or just seeking to improve your website’s design.
Call To Actions
Call to actions drive conversions, whether you are selling a product or service. When creating a call to action, it’s important to be extremely clear in your messaging. Users should never be confused about what they may be getting. It is also important to maintain a proper design hierarchy throughout the website. If your call to action is the most important thing on the page(which it should be), then it should be obvious to the user.
Make use of big bold copy, and try to not clutter your call to action with unrelated information that may make the user lose focus of what is important, that way, your user can see exactly what you want them to see. Another helpful tip is to try to simplify the steps necessary for your user to engage in the call to action.
Your users would not be confused about where to find anything on your website. Users are already conditioned to expect certain behaviours from websites, and if you stray away from those behaviours just for the sake of doing something different, you might run the risk of confusing your users. You can be unique, but do not be unique at the expense of your user’s experience.
Your navigation should contain simple clear language that is descriptive of the content they are going to see. If you have lots of content, consider grouping related pieces of content together with a few navigation links, and descriptive mega menus for more detailed navigation. You may also consider using breadcrumbs for complex navigation. These help track and display where the user is on your website, allowing them to easily retrace their steps.
This would clear up your navigation bar, allowing for a clean design that makes the user feel comfortable. This brings us to our next tip.
Clean Design and Consistent Branding
Gone are the days, when websites looked like newspapers. Nowadays, it’s important to maintain a clean design, with a proper hierarchy. Hierarchy is a design technique that sorts out your content in order of importance so that your user can get the most relevant information first, just by glancing.
You don’t want to overwhelm your users with excessive copy, images or colours, but rather include only what is necessary. Proper hierarchy draws the user’s focus to what you want them to see. Using techniques such as big bold copy for important pieces of copy, with a highly contrasting background can easily draw the user’s attention to what you want.
Another tip for maintaining a clean design is to make proper use of whitespace or ‘negative space.’ White space is the space that is not occupied by anything, and it’s just as important as the content itself. You can use whitespace to visually distinguish between unrelated pieces of content. For example, related pieces of content would be closer together, while unrated groups of content would have more whitespace between them. This is what is known as Proximity in design.
Your website is an extension of your brand, and even more so as it is the primary way new users first come in contact with your brand. Therefore, a strong brand identity across your brand and website is very important.
Have your designer develop a strong brand identity, and Style Guide for you. Style Guides provide instructions on how to maintain a consistent brand identity across all mediums of your brand.
Your logo, colour palette, iconography, illustration, imagery, and typography should remain consistent throughout your brand and website. Make use of a consistent typeface throughout the website. A good rule of thumb is to use two typefaces, or three maximum, one for headings, and another for body copy. Having a consistent brand identity across all mediums will help reinforce your value proposition, and tone and build trust among your users.
Having a text-heavy website is not a great idea. Users on the web have short attention spans, and easily get bored when looking at text consistently. Users want to feel engaged with the sites they visit, and we can do just that with great visuals. Having nice visual elements such as imagery, illustrations, videos, etc can help keep the user engaged, and cause them to not lose attention.
You can even go a step further by including interactive animations that react with the user as they browse through your site. This can make your website feel more responsive and alive, and not just static.
You can use visuals to tell the complete story, without the need for much text, they can help the user understand your product or service. You can never go wrong with including a bit of visual interest in your website.
Design for Mobile
I’m sure you’ve probably heard this for like the billionth time, but it’s important to keep in mind that most of your users will see your site through the small screens of their mobile devices. Providing a good experience for those users should be a priority. Although designing for mobile brings its own set of challenges, and restrictions, such as small screens, the way they interact with content on mobile is different from the desktop. Mobile doesn’t give us the freedom that desktop does, but that is the platform most users will see your content through. And we have to ensure those users have a good experience.
It is best to implement Search Engine Optimisation practices on your website.
You can implement targeted keywords throughout your site and add relevant header tags (H1)s for titles, since search engines use these tags for indexing. Proper title tags, meta descriptions, keyword-containing URLs, etc, can go a long way for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
But be careful not to overdo it with the keyword placements. Remember, our site is for people, and not machines. We want to find the right balance between optimising for SEO and keeping your content natural.
Other Helpful Tips
Consider your site’s accessibility for individuals with visual, speech, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities. Use contrasting colours, text labels, attribute tags, and keyboard navigation for those who have trouble, and make your site work with assistive technologies, which can make your site more accessible to these individuals etc.
You can also use analytic techniques as A/B Testing, to determine which version of your site works best for users. Heatmaps to know where users spend their time on your site, etc. These can help you optimise your site for the best user experience.
With all this, you should be on your way to providing a great user experience to your users. Some of these techniques mentioned above can elevate your user’s experience with your site.