Are you still wondering why the feedback you received after your last website re-launch was less than overwhelming? Don’t dwell on it. A lot goes into creating a user-friendly web design that captures its audience with an engaging, responsive experience. So if you’re new to UI and UX, listen up! We are going to give you a rundown of the simple strategies and do’s and don’ts behind user-friendly websites.
Whether you’re passing on the responsibility or not, it is still essential for you to understand what web designers can do for your business and which web design principles they follow. So before we dive straight into it, let’s clarify what we’re talking about to ensure we’re all on board.
What Are UX And UI And Why Should You Care?
We tried cutting through the UI and UX BS before. But let’s take a step back and start at the very beginning. UX stands for User Experience Design (yes, we too have been wondering why it’s not UE) whereas UI is short for User Interface Design.
In a nutshell, User Experience Design is the process of developing and improving the quality of interaction between a user and the website. You could say that UX is the “human-first” approach to website building. According to Careerfoundry, UX can be defined as: “the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product.”
If you, for example, have an online shop with a very lengthy and complicated checkout process, your UX design fails to give the customer a satisfying experience, and they are unlikely to return and might, in all their frustration, abandon the checkout cart straight away.
A UX designer’s responsibilities are widespread; from competitor and customer analysis, product strategy, prototyping, testing and coordination with UI designers and developers, they are part-researchers, designers and project managers.
User Interface Design, on the other hand, is responsible for the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product, as to enhance the user’s experience. It is the process of visually guiding the user through a website’s interface via interactive elements, across all pages. UI designers work closely with developers or coders.
The UI designers’ responsibilities lie in the branding and graphic development of a website, in UI prototyping, and in the interactivity and animation of a site. They also make sure that a website adapts to all device screen sizes and what that actually looks like. Finally, they work closely with the developer team on the implementation of their ideas.
As you can see, UX and UI are closely related and work hand in hand, they are so to speak the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson of great website design. In the workspace, lines are often blurred. The term web designer is now used more frequently, referring to a UI designer who takes on the job of the coder. While UX has no need for coding, UI is a role that will rely on it as part of building websites. The team behind Careerfoundry has done a beautiful job explaining the differences and crossing points between the two in a short but comprehensive video. Watch it below:
Web Design Fails – Or How You Shouldn’t Do It
Have you ever opened a website and needed to desperately locate the source of blaring noise only to give up and just close the whole window? Or worse, have you ever accidentally posted something that you didn’t mean to? These are horrible examples of bad UX and UI design. They are, unfortunately, also pretty common. Here are some cringe-worthy errors you should avoid. Feel free to use these web design tips as a checklist when you’re evaluating or building your own site!
Why Is Good Web Design Crucial For Your Online Presence?
According to a worldwide study, when asked to choose between two pages of the same content, but in a very different presentation, 59% of people prefer a beautifully designed website over one that is plain and simplistic. As it takes a visitor only 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about the design of your site, so you really don’t get a second chance at making a great first impression. No matter what type of business you have, you need a visually pleasing website to win over your customers.
Once visitors decide to give your page a chance, 86% of them want information about your products or services. 64% expect to find your contact information and 52% seek to know more about your business. You should keep these figures in mind when designing your homepage.
There is a theory that states users will abandon a page if they can’t find what they’re looking for within three clicks. It is often referred to as the magic number of web design. Rest easy, this rule is a relict from the digital stone age. The number of clicks needed does not influence the success rate or user satisfaction. What does have a massive impact, is having a smooth, easy and understandable navigation.
Good web design should be self-explanatory and easy to understand for every user. We would like to underline that ease of use is the most important feature and it can be super frustrating for your website’s users when it is missing.
Web Design Tips To Keep In Mind When Creating A Website
Now that you understand how important usability is for your website and which mistakes you should avoid, let’s have a look at the characteristics of a well-designed website. Here are a few web design principles to follow:
1. Speedy loading time
We mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating: nothing is more annoying than slow page loading times. Making sure that a page loads within a four-second window will avoid a lot of frustration for users. If you’re unsure how to check this, head to our article on amping up your SEO strategy where we show you the steps to using Google Analytics to track and analyse your site speed. See below for a few examples of a website with pages that probably should work on their site speed and one example of a website with great site speed.
2. Intuitive navigation
Simple is good, but not easy. It does, however, work best in the case of website navigation. Make sure your site’s navigation is clutter-free and limited to as few menu items as possible.
Site navigation extends beyond the menu. It includes all the different ways to find content, including backlinks and informative headers and footers.
Just like with content, make sure your users don’t have to fight their way through a maze of information before they can find a way to contact you or you’ll risk losing the trust of those who land on your page. Our designers love using sticky functions for website elements that are being used constantly – such as a “Contact us” button or a chat option, to avoid them from disappearing when the user scrolls. Do you have calls to action (CTA’s) on your site where it makes sense? Make sure they’re easy to locate by designing them in a way that makes them stand out from the rest of the site and placing them in obvious positions. The more options a user has to contact you, the better. Consider adding a live chat option to add credibility to your site.
We know they say don’t judge a book by its cover but in web design, the image does matter. The skill of using colours right is an art form in itself. Its importance for the look and feel of your website should never be ignored. Good contrast between the colour of the font and that of the background, for example, will ensure that your content is legible and capture the attention of the user. If your website’s design looks outdated and disorganized, your visitors will be put off and turn towards a competitor with more creative and innovative web design.
4. Mobile compatibility
In a time where most users are accessing websites through their smartphones, making your site mobile-friendly has become an absolute necessity. More so, if your site doesn’t comply with this rule, you might have to kiss your Google Search ranking goodbye. Google has been pushing more and more to ensure all pages are mobile-friendly, penalising those who are not, which is reflected in their rankings.
5. Content strategy
Everyone who lands on your page found their way there looking for specific information, maybe on a product, service or a topic that is of interest to them. Make sure they’ll find easily understandable, accessible and in-depth content, without having to hunt it down. If they can’t quickly find what they are looking for, they will find somewhere else to look.
6. Website inclusivity
Making a website accessible to everyone, including users with physical and mental disabilities, means designing a usable, functional and easy-to-use product with the goal of meeting the needs of as many individuals as possible.
Quote source: Medium
Web Design Trends To Take Into Account
Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to see what the future really holds. What we know for certain is that the future of web design will be shaped by technology. Digital aesthetics will meet technological innovation and change the web as we know it today.
Gartner reports that by 2030, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. How exactly this will work is still unclear, but businesses will certainly have to adapt their websites to facilitate direct dialogue with their customers. Augmented reality (AR) is expected to become an increasingly important component, especially, but not exclusively for E-commerce. AR software blurs the line between the real and digital worlds, allowing customers to better inspect products before they purchase them. How this is going to impact web design as we know and love it today, is still in the stars.
What You Should Do Next
It is time to step out of the digital stone age. Social media and websites are now at the forefront of marketing, consumerism and everyday life. Long gone are the times when we relied on billboards and radio advertisements alone to market a business. At Anchor Digital, a leading web design agency in Brisbane, we spend a lot of time determining which platforms provide the best value for each advertising campaign. With people fleeing from traditional media, the dinosaurs of marketing have long failed to win consumer attention and have been replaced by their digital opponents.
According to current Australian Internet and Social Media Statistics, as of January 2019, we counted 21.74 million internet users in Australia, constituting 87% of the Australian population. 93% of these internet users are on the internet every single day. The average Australian internet user spends 5.5 hours per day using internet services, and more than half of that time is being used to stream services and internet broadcasts. The widespread adoption of smartphones and the growing prevalence of affordable mobile data plans allow mobile devices to become an increasingly important factor in every Australians’ internet consumption. Which makes designing easy-to-use, responsive websites as crucial as ever. If you fail to do so, users will drop your site like a hot potato, affecting your bounce rate, SEO efforts and along with it, you will quite possibly jeopardize the future of your enterprise.
People hate being bombarded with ads, pop-up surveys, and email subscriptions. On the other hand, if you’re playing it safe and don’t have any of these features, your site may be confusing in other ways. A lot can go wrong in the web design world. Considering that you have about three seconds for a user to find what they want before they leave your website, there is a lot of stuff you need to think of. But no pressure. No, really. Should you decide that you as a business owner are already wearing enough many hats, there are professionals who can solve these issues for you.
Now that you have a few new tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to, step by step, improve your website usability and in doing so, provide a seamless experience for visitors. Creating impressive user experience and interface designs that convert, is a challenging task for any team.
Anchor Digital is a leading web design agency in Brisbane that can help you develop a website that supports you on your way to becoming an industry leader. Our experts are able to create a website that compliments your brand, works towards your business goals and exceed customer expectations, in the perfect blend of user experience and interface development.
We’re not going to let you embark on this journey alone. Get in touch with our web design experts today, to see how we can help you navigate UX and UI waters.