Last week I summarized the factors you should be considering when designing a website (in priority order) and talked about how your website should support your businesses goals (the highest priority). If you missed that, why not take a look now?
Today I am going to be talking about UX (user experience), which is extremely important when it comes to designing websites. I am going to go through some of the major considerations that need to be addressed when it comes to UX and give some advice on each, so here goes:
Goals & CTA’s
It is important that the user experience supports the goals you have outlined, or successfully communicates a message you are trying to get across. The single most important thing when it comes to your website is that it achieves the results you are looking for, period. It is also important to keep things simple, which I will go on to talk about now:
KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
It should be immediately clear to your visitors what you want them to do when they visit a page on your website. Keep the clutter to a minimum and try to only focus on one goal per page.
Navigation is really important. You don’t want things to be cluttered, but as a rule of thumb any single page on your website should be accessible within 3 clicks. Sitemaps are a really good tool for humans and search engines that ensure people can easily find the pages on your site. It can also improve conversion rate if you omit navigation elements on landing pages (by limiting choice, you are increasing the chance your users will take the desired action).
Typography is also extremely important. For the main body of text it is vital you choose a font that is really clean and easy to read. This is another area you really want to make sure design doesn’t get in the way of functionality. It’s okay to pick something fancy for titles etc. if it fits with the theme, but readability has to be your main concern here. I tend to lean towards sans-serif fonts for web design (I think the readability is usually much better).
I’m going to talk about this in more detail next time when I talk about design, because it’s quite common for websites not to comply with standards due to design decisions, If you are interested in looking into the specifications more, take a look here.
Design for Mobile Devices
It is becoming increasingly more important to consider mobile devices when designing websites. You really have 3 options here:
- Do Nothing: We can disqualify this one for obvious reasons.
- Design a Separate Mobile Site: Usually, this isn’t going to be your best option. This has the potential to cause some SEO related problems, and also theres a huge variety of screen resolutions in mobile devices (even if we ignore retina displays). Designing a generic website for all mobile devices is missing the point in my opinion.
- Create a Responsive Design: This is our best option. Responsive designs adapt based on the device which is viewing them, so we can account for computers, tablets, mobiles and even larger screens when designing our website.
If you already have a website designed and don’t want to redesign the whole thing, it can be a good idea to have a mobile site designed to avoid that, but usually I would steer clear of them. If you did decide to go for that, do include a link that allows you to view the website normally, so users with larger devices have that choice.
Test everything when it comes to the web. Make sure you have some kind of analytics software on the go (check out Google Analytics if you are not sure what I mean). Look at metrics like bounce, exit and time spent on page and see where you can make improvements. Also check the pages are actually doing what you want them to (if you are using Google Analytics, you can do this by setting up goals). I’m not going to go into analytics and testing in too much detail (it warrants a separate series) suffice to say it is incredibly important to test.
Most importantly, design should never get in the way of function. That’s really important. I’ll be going on to talk a little about design next week, so make sure you come back for that!