Positive user experience is an essential component of successful website design. However, designing for end-users can be challenging because of the multiple methods that people use to consume online media. In today's mobile driven world, people expect UX designs to be fast, responsive, and intuitive. Meanwhile, business objectives demand that users successfully engage and convert regardless of actual design elements.
Meeting these (sometimes seemingly divergent) expectations requires diligent planning and execution based not only on best design practices, but on a thorough knowledge of the platform that will be used to present your information.
Design Challenge 1: Ensuring People Remember InformationAt their most basic, websites are designed to convey information that people can act upon in some way. Therefore, the biggest goal of successful UX design is ensuring that people get the information they need to take an informed action.
For business websites, the informed action is often a conversion – filling out a contact form, completing an order, signing up for newsletter, etc. – and how the information is presented directly affects conversion rates.
There are several ways that design can positively impact conversion, and help people to remember vital information:
- Relevant images/media – rather than using standard stock images, well-crafted UX design includes images of the actual product being offered, or demonstration videos.
- Charts and graphs – for numerical data, visual representation can help people remember the most important aspects, and focus on the areas that your company wants them to remember.
- Font and color choice – highlighting your call to action or other key information makes it easier for users to zero in on the content that is most valuable and take the appropriate next step.
- Menus and sub menus – the organization of the website itself will help users to find what they need. Consider how to best present information within your main navigation and sitemap.
There are multiple situations where users are expected to engage in a process flow on a website. Some pertinent examples include surveys and order forms. Many businesses have drop-offs in conversion rates that can be directly traced to poor UX design in the process flow. When designing a process with multiple steps, keep these things in mind:
Design Challenge 2: Keeping Users Engaged Throughout Process Flow
- Set expectations early – this is important for processes such as surveys and sign up forms. Users should know how much time they will need to invest to complete the task at the start. This will reduce abandonment in the middle of multiple-step processes.
- Provide visual cues – tooltips, icons, and other visual indicators help users to understand what type of information they are expected to provide. Additionally, visual cues can be used to clarify instructions provided elsewhere.
- Indicate progress consistently – this can be done with a 'step x of y' approach or a '% complete' approach. Whichever method you choose should be prominent enough for users to be able to tell at a glance how far along in the process they are. For some instances, brief instructions can be incorporated in this indicator.
Example: Step 1: Shipping Information; Step 2: Billing Information; Step 3: Order Review
- Provide visual confirmation of completion – after submission of the form, make the confirmation prominent in order to avoid duplicate submissions and user confusion. This is especially important when the confirmation is for product orders and sales.
Mobile UX design provides its own challenges in that there is a limited amount of screen real estate available for all of the information that needs to be communicated to the user. Users expect a certain level of functionality when it comes to mobile websites, and often expect features that are mobile-only in design (for example, tap to call).
Design Challenge 3: Meeting Mobile Expectations
When creating a mobile version of your website, or building a mobile application from the ground up there are several areas of UX design to consider:
Great website design is about more than just great content, or an attractive look. You must design the individual elements of your website to provide the best user experience for website visitors on both desktop and mobile. Proper UX design is important if you want your users to successfully engage with your website and complete the multiple conversions that lead to sales.
- Buttons and layout – when designing for mobile, buttons need to be large enough that they are easily tapped with a single finger without causing mis-clicks and user frustration. This means that layouts will need to be simplified and only essential menu items included.
- Font and color choices – because of the smaller screens on many mobile devices, the font you choose must be highly legible and the colors must provide adequate contrast. Avoid light colored text as well as pastel backgrounds.
- Mobile functionality – when designing certain elements such as maps, keep in mind the additional functionality available to mobile users. For example, instead of a static map, link to Google maps in order to provide immediate directions and navigation instructions. Account information should update across mobile devices and web applications seamlessly and simultaneously.
Understanding the details of UX development can be complicated even for seasoned business owners. If you need help in optimizing UX design on your website, we're here to help. Get in contact with one of our experts to discuss how we update the design of your site to meet user expectations and increase conversions and sales.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013
UX Design Tips – 3 Tips for Designing Websites for Real People
When designing a website many businesses forget the most important part: The visitor. Here is an in-depth post from our seattle web design blog on how to avoid skipping this key ingredient to your web presence: