Web designers are problem solvers; theyre use design to solve other people's problems. Put simply: they come up with effective and delightful solutions the user's wicked problems. In order to do that they need to make sure to know the people they are designing for and the way they behave both in and out of the digital world. Following are some tips that can help you do that.
1. Design Easy to use Navigation
Regardless of how small your website is, your navigation plays an important role when it comes to conversion, engagement, and the overall usability of your website. Most people come to your website to accomplish a goal. It could be benefiting from your services or buy a product that you sell. Your navigation plays is what helps them to find whatever they are looking for and accomplish their goal. If they feel like they can't, they will simply leave your website and go somewhere that's is easier to navigate.
Good navigation ensures users can find what they're looking for effortlessly.
Not everyone navigates the web the same way. So keep in mind your target users, the keywords and phrases they normally use when searching online for solutions to their problems. How many items should you include in your main navigation? Don't give your users lots of options, otherwise, you'll overwhelm them. Limit the number of choices because the more choices your users have, the less action they take - it's called the paradox of choice. Too many options make users think too much and most people don't like thinking too much.
Don't forget the Homepage link. According to the Nielsen & Norman group, many people still depend on the homepage link when they are disoriented, they've gone too deep into a site, or are ready to start a new task. Besides, since many access websites through search engines, they may enter your website through interior pages and bypass the homepage completely. So the homepage link can provide users a new starting point if they want to explore other parts of the website. Navigation design best practices include:
- Design it in a way that reduces the effort required to get where they want to;
- Top level navigation should comprise only the essentials;
- Use clear labels, names that your target users are familiar with.
2. Keep your Interface Consistent
Consistency in UI is about making sure that same elements on your website look and behave the same way. This helps the user predict the result of their actions and create a sense of control, familiarity, and reliability. Things that mean the same or do the same thing, should be represented the same way throughout the website. This includes UI elements such as icons, scrollbars, buttons, cards. Use your style of writing carefully and apply it well across all the touchpoints where users interact with your brand. The style of writing you use in your whole website must mean the same thing; same terminology, same thing.
Inconsistent website UI slows and frustrates users, causing them to lose interest and leave.
Apart from the usability benefits, a consistent website is easier to build and maintain since designers and developers will only need to build and use a small number of components that will be reused throughout the whole website. This makes it easier to maintain, even if you later decide to make changes or work with another designer or developer. Inconsistent design on the other hand can confuse users and frustrate them which can make them leave your website. So keep everything consistent, from the navigation to color schemes, typefaces to the type of writing. If your website is consistent, then users won't spend a lot of time learning how to use it; they'll instead spend it engaging with your content.
3. Make Content Easy to Scan
People on the internet don't read, they scan. This helps them to deal with the massive amount of information people are bombarded with in their daily. So scanability is one of the essential factors of your website's usability. People are not ready to invest time and effort into exploring a website if they're are not sure it corresponds to their needs. So if your content doesn't catch people's attention at the first minutes the risk is high that they will bounce away.
Visual hierarchy lets users understand the importance level of each piece of content on the page. So designing your website with a good visual hierarchy is a way to direct the users' eyes and attention and can help them scan your pages easily. To make your pages easy to scan you can:
- Use small chunks of information to make it easily digestible.
- Make important elements focal points so that users can see them right away. You can use color, size, or motion to emphasize elements.
- Design with a grid layout. It makes it easier for visitors to read and understand.
- Use natural scanning patterns. Some users read from left to right.
4. Take Content Seriously
Content includes images, videos, and the copy you use on your website. Content is just as important as the design of your website. Without great content, even a beautifully designed website is useless. Designers must make sure that the content complements the design. Businesses with clear writing styles are perceived as having greater transparency and credibility. Pain language removes barriers between you and our readers, setting you apart from competitors, and increasing brand loyalty.
No one has ever complained of easy-to-read text.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you should use jargon or showy words just to impress readers or look more intelligent. It's important that your content is plain and easy to understand, for it takes less effort to understand, gains higher rankings in search engine results since it uses the words people use when searching. And best of all, easy to understand information is welcomed by both pros and beginners readers. When it comes to content its important to:
- Make sure the information is relevant and brings value to your visitors.
- Avoid jargon. Make your information as easy to understand as possible for your target audience.
5. Make your Website responsive
Responsive design is basically a way to put together a website that can adapt to the size of any screen it is being viewed on. Your visitors will come to your website using different devices with different specs. Responsive design's ultimate goal is to avoid unnecessary resizing, scrolling, zooming, or panning when sites are not optimized for different devices. So making your website responsive makes it user-friendly, improves the aesthetics no matter the device and can increase the time spent on your website. On top of that, responsive websites rank higher on search engines.
More people are browsing using mobile. Responsive design is not a nice-to-have, it's a must.
However, ensuring that elements are responsive is not enough. Make sure that no matter how your users visit your website, all essential information will be displayed correctly on different screen sizes, that is, that your website is usable. Responsive design best practices include:
- Make essential information easy to find. Mobile browsers are normally looking for specific information such as contact info, address, or the cost of a product;
- Size elements according to the screen size. Make sure your buttons are big enough for users to easily.
- Design easy to use navigation;
- Keep your interface consistent';
- Take content seriously, and;
- Make your website responsive.