The Importance of UX Design
Many people make the mistake of not paying enough attention to UX (or user experience). They spend weeks and months curating what they perceive to be excellent content, create pages and pages of information without ever really thinking about the experience of the website user.
There are many different aspects that determine whether a user’s experience is a good one, but there are a few generic principles that anybody setting up a website should be aware of:
#1 Page loading
Users hate slow loading pages and if your website is taking longer than 3 seconds to load up then you are probably losing huge sections of your visitors at the very first hurdle. You can test your page loading speed through various tools like Pingdom.com and they will even highlight some improvements that you can make.
Sometimes it can be as simple as your choice of image and not having optimised it for web use. Or it might be that your web host isn’t providing a high enough level of performance and you need to review some other hosting options.
#2 Keep it simple
Sometimes people go that far with trying to impress users that they over complicate the website. Over-cluttering pages with content is not helpful and can be confusing for users. Having clear titles and navigation menus are important aspects of the UX and also bears a lot of influence on the search engine results.
#3 Call to Action
Having a strong, well-placed Call to Action not only helps boost your conversion rates, it also makes it really easy for your visitors to contact you in the best way available. It gives them the quick option of getting straight to your contact methods rather than needing to search around your website to find them.
People are accessing websites from a wide range of devices and screen sizes. What a desktop user sees does not always reflect the same experience as mobile users. Having a responsive website will ensure that mobile users will not be faced with an unfriendly looking version that is impossible to navigate around. Most new websites are built to be responsive and the fact that 55% of internet traffic is through mobile users makes this even more important.
Large blocks of text are a user’s worst nightmare. It is no fun scrolling through unformatted text and your users will soon get bored of reading in this format. Try to reduce the amount of pages that are predominantly text – could a video be used instead to covey information?
Also, having short sentences will help to make the text easier to read and using formatting such as bullets and headings will also make the content more readable. Good use of paragraphs also makes it easier for the reader to take in the information.
#6 Carefully plan your ‘above the fold’ area
What sits within the above the fold section is really important for the UX. This is the first content that users will see and it will generally determine their opinions of the quality of your website straight away. They say first impressions count and with website design, this is definitely the case. So think about what you are putting into this area to ensure that it is going to impress the user.
You should use the space to give users a good idea of what your website is all about and what your key products and services are. The navigation menu should be clearly displayed in this area so that the user can easily move from page to page. Most developers would also recommend that your CTA goes into this area, as well as your business logo and any strapline that you have.