7 Simple Principles of Website Design That Impact User Experience
Can you remember the last time you visited a website and got frustrated because it was difficult to use? Maybe the text was too small, there were too many menu options, or you had to pinch the screen to use the navigation buttons on your smartphone.
All of those annoying memories are down to poor user experience (UX). If your website is confusing or hard to use, your visitors will get frustrated and bounce. That’s why user experience is so important in website design.
In this post, we’ll walk you through 7 key principles of UX. Make sure your website sticks to these fundamentals and provides an intuitive experience for your website visitors.
Let’s dive in.
Navigation – Don’t Make Users Think
One of the most important considerations for website designers is eliminating as many question marks as possible – the decisions that users actively need to make.
Nowhere is this more important than your website’s navigation. If it’s hard for users to work out how to find their way around your website, it raises a big question mark. Instead of focusing on your offer or content, users are forced to think about getting from point A to point B. They’ll get frustrated, and they’ll leave.
You can improve your website navigation by:
- Using descriptive labels in your menu
- Limiting the number of menu options
- Putting your navigation menu in a standard location
- Making hyperlinks stand out from the surrounding text
- Enabling internal search functionality
The goal of your website navigation is to help users find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. Don’t make your visitors think. The more they have to think about using your site, the less they will engage with your offers and your content.
Keep It Simple – Limit the Number of Choices
The more options that you provide, the more you risk confusing or frustrating your users.
Hick’s Law is a psychological principle that is vital to website design. The law states that the more choices you provide, the longer it will take for a person to reach a decision.
If you give your visitors dozens of options to choose from, you force them to think about each one and decide what to click on.
For example, if you include every product you sell in your navigation menu, you’ll overload visitors with information.
One of the simplest ways to limit the number of choices is to group content and products into relevant categories. This limits the number of decisions users need to make and reduces the time it takes for users to find what they are looking for, improving the usability of your website.
According to Magicdust, highly experienced in website design Sydney wide, being conventional with your website design doesn’t make your site boring. On the contrary, it makes it easier to use and improves the user experience. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if every website had a unique navigation system?
There’s always a learning curve when a user lands on a website. However, when your site looks and responds like websites the visitor has used before, it flattens the learning curve.
There’s plenty of ways you can make your website unique, but you should stick to the main conventions of website design. For example, think about the huge range of different car designs. A Lamborghini and a Ford look different and feel very different to use, but they both adhere to the main conventions of car design – four wheels, steering wheel, etc.
Accessibility is an integral part of user experience. Your website needs to be easy for people with disabilities to use.
For example, your choice of website design colours can significantly impact readability and usability for people with colour blindness. According to Colour Blind Awareness, 1 in 12 males and 4.5% of the total global population are affected by colour vision deficiency. That’s a big chunk of your audience.
Use high contrast between your text and background colours, add captions to your video content, and include descriptive alt text for your images to improve accessibility.
You can find out more about website accessibility by visiting W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Your website is designed for people to use, so it’s vital that it is accessible to as many people as possible.
Less Is More
Less is more is a website design principle that can be an effective way to improve the user experience of your website.
One of the most important ways to use this principle is white space.
White space is the blank area between different website design elements on a page. Leaving white space provides a natural flow that helps users navigate the content and focus on the most important elements.
Google’s homepage is an excellent example of a minimalist website design that utilizes a less is more approach to improve the user experience. The search function is the most important element on the page. Everything else, apart from the Google logo, is eliminated or placed in the menu options in the corners of the screen.
Visual hierarchy is a website design principle that involves changing the visual characteristics of different elements to indicate their order of importance.
For example, your CTA button is usually the most important element on the page. You want to ensure that it gets more attention than the less important elements.
Amazon uses a strong visual hierarchy on its product pages. The “Buy Now” and “Add to Cart” buttons are two of the most prominent elements. This increases the chances of conversion, but it also improves the user experience by helping users accomplish their goals faster.
Strategically altering the appearance and layout of elements can make your website easier to use and help visitors quickly find what they are looking for.
Internet users rarely read every word when viewing a web page. According to a study by Nielsen Norman Group, 79% of people scan every new page they visit, with only 16% reading text word-by-word.
To improve the UX of your website, you need to make your content easy for users to scan. You can make your content scannable by:
- Using descriptive subheadings
- Keeping sentences and paragraphs short
- Using lists and bullet points
- Breaking up text with images and multimedia
- Incorporating plenty of white space
Making your content scannable helps your users to read your content and find the information they need.
Incorporating the above UX principles will improve your website design and make it more enjoyable for your visitors to use. However, once your site is optimized and live, you need to see how your real-world visitors use your site and if they engage with your page elements the way you intended. You can use heatmaps and other tools to gain insight into on-site user behaviour.
UX is a key consideration of website design. By making your website easier to use, you increase the chances of your visitors engaging with your content, converting on your offers, and purchasing your products and services.
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