Aug 03, 20164m read
Improving the User Experience Design Process: 3 Hacks to Nail It the First Time Around
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your best foot forward when designing your website for an optimal user experience. Great UX and great design go hand in hand, creating a winning team that’ll boost your business if you play your cards right. Read on for three important hacks that’ll take your website from average to awesome:
1) Be Easy on the Eyes
It’s elemental to develop not only a cohesive theme with carefully selected colors, fonts, and graphics, but also to take note of size, scale, and other similar elements that can often be overlooked. Changing the ratio of text to white space, for example, may make a significant difference in the overall look and feel of your site. Too much white space may make your website look barren, yet too little of it may project cramped quarters. Conversely, however, simple, short texts with significant white space surrounding it may allow you to emphasize certain messages and/or evoke simplicity and modernity; similarly, a lower ratio of white space may suggest richness, wholeness, and the like.
Whatever the case, consistency is key to successfully evoking your brand identity in the best light. Know exactly what your brand’s about and what feelings and associations you’d like to project via your online presence. Keep these insights at the fore when designing and testing your site’s UX.
2) Keep it Simple
While graphics, videos, and interactive features may amplify your website’s appeal, it’ll be all for naught if the load time skyrockets as a result. Webpage loading times can be either your best friend or worst enemy: about half of all consumers expect to wait a maximum of two seconds for a webpage to load, and 40% completely abandon the site if it hasn’t loaded after three seconds. Time, as the saying goes, is of the essence.
If you’d like to enrich your webpages with complex multimedia, it may be best to link to such resources rather than placing them on the same page. Additionally, do some homework to find out the costs and benefits of including certain items. PageSpeed by Google can help you identify your website’s weak spots and can suggest ways to make your site more user-friendly. Meaningful interaction doesn’t necessarily have to take a dip as a result of simplifying your site; adding an on-site live chatting feature, for instance, is a forward-thinking, data-light way to connect your community and offer something valuable in terms of both design and UX.
Simplicity should also be at work when composing text. Be sure that there’s a logical flow of information from headings to subtitles to explanatory text. It’s especially vital to follow the “less is more” adage on your home and landing pages: today’s online visitors value their time just as much as they appreciate appealing media. It’s a delicate balance, but one that can be easily achieved with careful planning and standard A/B testing.
3) Be Original
Make your mark by showing your visitors something they haven’t seen before. Do research on your competitors, analyze what works and what doesn’t, and put a new spin on the insights you’ve gained. Allow your site to stand apart from the crowd by knowing what others are doing, especially so that you can take it a notch or two higher. Great design on your website can amplify your business’s reach and set your business apart from competitors. Offering compelling visuals and a pleasant UX is a surefire way to get brownie points from onlookers, helping convert random visitors into repeat customers.
Assert your individuality by choosing original images over stock photography. Visitors who recognize stock images are more likely to have a funky feeling in their gut about your business, so choosing one-of-a-kind visuals (or at the very least, high quality, niche images for purchase) is a small investment that’ll warrant a significant payout. In addition, don’t hesitate to include personal touches such as a look into your office space, staff photos, and other things that’ll show that your brand has personality. Small decisions such as these can facilitate a lasting connection with and elevate faith in your brand.
Follow these tips to create a perfect marriage between design and user experience, and your website will live happily ever after — at least until the next round of design.