You may have come across an argument of why businesses need to have a website. However, going online will not be enough if you want to succeed. Sometimes, great web design fails to achieve the desired targets because they haven’t followed UX principles. You will also need to provide a great user experience to site visitors.
In fact, the British Computer Society revealed that 75% of people form their judgment on a business’ credibility based on aesthetics. Hence, it is important to incorporate UX principles into your web design.
That said, we have listed 10 UX principles that you should keep in mind when designing a website:
1. User-First Web Design
Of course, the first UX design principle to keep in mind is to always think of your users first.
While it can be tempting to prioritize how you would like your website to look, keep in mind that you are not your client or customer. So, ask yourself: Why would someone visit your website?
If you have an online store, your website visitors would definitely want to purchase something 99% of the time. That said, create a web design layout that would make it easier and intuitive for them to complete a purchase.
If you own a blog, on the other hand, there is a high chance that your site visitors would want to be informed, educated, or entertained. Thus, make sure that your web design allows them to do so with ease.
PRO TIP: You want to apply the UX design principle of lean web design here. Basically, you will do a multi-variate test on your web design, and tweak it from there based on real feedback.
That way, you get to understand what your site visitors like and do not like, and then cater to their preferences.
2. Website Hierarchy
The second UX principle to keep in mind is to set up a website hierarchy which is a great way to be successful in terms of search engine optimization. Not to mention that this is where UX, web design, and SEO go hand-in-hand.
For one, website hierarchy makes it easy for your site visitors to navigate your website. Second, website hierarchy makes it easy for search engine bots to crawl every page on your website for indexing.
That said, it is important to keep the two main types of website hierarchy in mind:
- Content Hierarchy. This refers to how you organize your web pages and their content.
- Visual Hierarchy. This refers to how you arrange and present various design elements on a web page.
Although site structure differs based on industry and your objectives for every page, the key here is to ensure that you can immediately provide what your site visitors are looking for.
At Sytian Website Design Philippines, we always believe that adding attractive design elements are useless if they are not functioning. As mentioned earlier, you are not your client or customer. Hence, what you consider as “easy” or “clear” option may not look like it to your site visitors.
If you really want to create a customer-centric website, then you will need to do some decluttering. This is in order to remove any distractions that prevent your site visitors from achieving their goals, as well as enable you to optimize your website for conversions.
This is also where user testing could come in handy.
For example, you can launch a beta version of your website and then collect qualified user feedback.
There are also tools that allow you to conduct user testing, so you can easily close the gap between what you think your users like and what they really like.
4. User Context
Here’s the thing: Having 100 site visitors could mean 100 different user intent. Just because they share the same interest does not mean that they will use your website the same way. Hence, you should make the customer journey as part of a perfect UX design. The majority of your website visitors are more likely not yet ready to make a purchase after visiting just once. What you can do is (1) give them a reason to come back or (2) let them know why they should stick with you.
The first one is possible by making it easy for them to subscribe to your email newsletter, for example. As for option number two, you can choose to embed a video and pair it with compelling content.
Keep in mind that people from various stages of the customer journey will need different information. So make sure that your website can provide it.
You may have come across mobile responsiveness over and over, but what you do not know is that it is one aspect of design flexibility. Flexibility, as a design concept, does not simply make your website adjust based on devices and the width of the browser. It also makes your website adaptive.
Meaning, it has multiple fixed layouts, and then a site visitor’s browser will automatically select which layout to use.
This will not just make it easy for your site visitors to navigate your website when they are on their smartphones, for instance, but they will also have a better overall experience. Not to mention that websites with adaptive design are two to three times faster than responsive websites. While responsive web design may work well for you, putting flexibility into consideration allows you to provide a better user experience ‒ thanks to a faster page loading speed.
6. Calls to Action
Clear and bold calls to action are what compel your site visitors to take your desired action, whether it is to buy a product or subscribe to your newsletter. Without it, your site visitors will wonder what to do next.
Imagine this: A site visitor landed on one of your best blog posts and then read it. Now what? Would you just want him to just close the browser and forget about what he read? Probably not.
One of the smart things that you can do is capture their information so you can update them in case you have a
new blog post. You can also encourage them to share your posts via social media or leave a comment.
All of these are possible if you have clear and bold CTAs. And if you are still not convinced, know that HubSpot found a 121% increase in view-to-lead conversion rate by simply adding anchor text CTAs on their blog posts.
Humans tend to favor which they are familiar with for convenience’s sake. After all, we have the tendency to protect ourselves from things we do not know.
Nonetheless, you can leverage this and make this behavior part of your UX principles. The thing is, the more familiar a person is with your brand and product, the easier it is for them to use and adopt it. Keep in mind that people are often not ready or resistant to change ‒ although with few notable exceptions.
As such, you can use ready-made UX principles templates when designing your website. That’s because these templates are optimized based on pre-determined user behaviors. However, pick a template that is suitable for your industry
8. Simplicity and Clarity
Another UX principle to keep in mind is website is not just an online storefront. It is a tool that allows you to make complex things simple and easy to use.
For example, purchasing an item from a retail store could mean visiting a couple of shops, looking through aisles and aisles of items, and queueing to pay. One the other hand, an e-commerce website allows a person to just type in his preferred item on the search bar, click the ones he would like to buy, input his payment details, and that’s it!
This also explains why having an ample amount of white space on your web design is ideal.
That’s because it prevents you from cluttering your website with unnecessary design elements. Not to mention that it allows your site visitors to focus on their goals for visiting your website.
In this day and age, every business’s currency is speed. The same with your website. In fact, page load speed is an important ranking factor for Google. That’s because speed can have a huge impact on user experience i.e another UX principles. Here’s the thing: No matter how visually pleasing your website is, if it takes a while to load, a site visitor will hit the back button immediately.
And according to Google, if your website takes more than three seconds to load, there is a 90% chance that your bounce rate will increase. So, what can you do as a web designer?
Here are some quick tips:
- Host your fonts from a content delivery network
- Refrain from using unnecessary design elements
- Consider creating a single-page website
- Use a progressive web app instead of a mobile site
- Utilize Accelerate Mobile Pages
10. Scannable Content
In case you do not know, site visitors scan web content. They do not read them. Hence, another important UX principle to keep in mind is to design scannable content.
You can do this by using headers and subheaders on your content. It will also be helpful if you can incorporate multimedia content like high-quality images and videos.
That way, you can catch and retain their attention, while they can immediately get the information that they need from your website.
Are there other UX principles that we missed? Let us know in the comments!