6 Tips for a Better Understanding of the User Experience

That have zero things to do with this puppy.

1.People don’t read online, they scan, and they scan in an F pattern. Eye tracking cameras can show us where the user is looking on the screen and generate heat maps they discovered that people tend to look at sites in an F-shaped pattern. They start at top left corner and move across the screen before moving down, and how far they’ll look from left to right shortens as they navigate down the page. Good visual design has the potential to change this pattern.

More on the F-pattern.

2. Readability and contrast is key. Short blocks of text are important on the web and even more important on mobile. Make it readable first, pretty second, and ensure that there is room for the text to breathe (e.g. lots of white space). It’s also important to play around with the brightness on your computer and phone to see how it looks in low and high brightness.

3. The user starts to dislike your brand every time they have to do any bit of extra work on your site, even if it’s a few extra seconds to find the “submit” button. They are more likely to leave the page and less likely to return.

Read more on how changing a button increased a site’s annual revenues by $300 million.

4. You don’t have to lose your users on 404 error pages.

404 pages are those error pages when the URL is not right. Don’t leave these 404 pages as the default error message. This is a chance to not only customize and show some humor, but to ensure that along with the error message, you are still helping the user find what they were looking for. The page can serve to educate, encourage visitor to re-search, or display popular links and contact information. You can minimize the damages by using a custom 404 page and have a second chance to re-engage the user.

There’s a whole blog dedicated to funny 404 pages.

5. Tablets and cell phones are a “lean back” experience, where as laptops are “lean in” experiences. When designing for mobile, think about the context, and where the user is likely to be when he/she is using your app. For instance, when a user is accessing your site via mobile, there are likely to be more distractions around so buttons will need to be bigger and the text will need to be clearer.

6. Assume the user won’t watch your video, and if they do, will only watch part. If the primary message on your website is communicated via video, you will fail. Make sure that all of the necessary information is communicated on the page, as if the video wasn’t there. Video is meant to enhance the user experience on your site, but should not serve as the main communication channel.

(Bonus: When it comes to image carousels, it’s important that the user can play and pause the carousel themselves as well as control cycling through faster.)

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Huge thanks to Julie Blitzer @zhuli for the inspiration, video, and general brilliant thoughts that led to this article! See her videos here.