If done well, user experience (UX) design often isn’t noticed.
Good UX seamlessly moves visitors between web elements. It gives your website clarity and intuitiveness and encourages conversions.
But, if done poorly, visitors become frustrated and confused, and business can suffer.
So, what is UX?
UX design is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the accessibility, usability, and efficiency of user interactions on your website.
Visitors make split-second decisions about your site based on a variety of design elements. Since the website is the hub of your marketing and online sales efforts, it’s critical that these pieces cohere into a valuable and rewarding experience.
According to new research from B2B research firm Clutch, enhancing website UX is the top priority for 16% of small businesses.
When John Kosner, Head of Digital Media at ESPN.com, incorporated a series of user suggestions into the brand’s website, the company saw a 35% revenue increase from the improved user experience.
Here are 7 web design tips for improving your website’s UX:
- Allow white space
- Improve page speed
- Create appealing calls to action
- Use bullets
- Choose original images
- Write targeted headlines
- Stay consistent
1. Allow White Space
White space is a key element of good website design.
Creating a margin — also called negative space — around content helps text blocks and images stand out on the page.
According to the conversion tool Crazy Egg, padding text and titles with white space increases user attention by 20%.
Spacing is what makes your website feel open and easy to use. This “breathing room” enhances how attractive and readable your content is.
However, you’ll want to balance the need for valuable content against white space, especially above the fold (the area immediately visible before scrolling).
The key is to identify what’s most important and allocate it adequate website real estate — while avoiding page clutter.
For example, Buffer’s home screen is mostly white space with a value proposition, an explanatory subheader, and a call to action. The clarity and openness welcome visitors to explore further.
2. Improve Page Speed
Website visitors expect a fast and frictionless online experience.
According to Econsultancy, 40% of people will leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load. Pages that load in 1–2 seconds will see the greatest conversions.
Mobile usage enables users to access content from anywhere, which increases the expectation for fast-loading web pages. Users will typically bounce if your site is slow, as it interrupts their otherwise fluid browsing experience.
What can you do?
3. Create Appealing Calls to Action
Customers navigate your website by following visual cues that move them between important pieces of content. Calls to action (CTA) use active words and bold buttons to help users navigate your site and encourage the next step.
When creating your CTA buttons, consider the impact of the color on user psychology. Also known as color psychology, applying different hues will evoke different feelings and results from web visitors.
The color of CTAs can result in either a disjointed UX or an uptick in conversions.
For example, when Sitepoint switched from a green to a red CTA button, they saw a 35% increase in conversions.
You should also consider the words on your CTA buttons. Using active verbs drives action and illustrates the benefits your visitors will receive from converting.
The more actionable, emotive, and time-sensitive your CTA, the greater your conversions.
4. Use Bullets
Great website UX makes it easy to gather information.
Bullets help people find the benefits, solutions, and key features of your offering more quickly. Presenting your propositions in bullet-form will also make them more appealing and easier to remember.
You can bypass the simple circles and get creative with your bullets. Try using icons that represent the text to add value and image recognition to the UX. Users will appreciate the variety and you’ll benefit by reinforcing your messaging with a visual aid.
For example, Dollar Shave Club makes use of both illustrated graphic bullets and lists of product pictures to speed website browsing.
This simple UX design tactic lets you highlight key information and create white space to improve your website’s readability.
5. Choose Original Images
Today’s internet users are savvy judges of company websites, so it’s best to avoid stock photography.
Generic photos are easily identified by customers, quickly ignored, and less trustworthy.
Visual content is increasingly important to consumers. According to MDG Advertising, 67% of consumer rate high-quality photos as being very important to an online purchase decision — even higher than ratings and reviews.
In fact, replacing stock photos with genuine images of a product or service increased conversions by a minimum of 45%, according to a study by the conversion optimization platform VWO.
Whether they are photos of employees or your product, authentic images will help create the unique and satisfying web experience your customers want.
6. Write Targeted Headlines
Your headings (and content) should align with what potential customers are looking for. Using keywords in your titles will help you attract the right audience, facilitate browsing, and entice further content consumption.
The web developer Anadea greets visitors with a headline that speaks directly to their most common keyword search query.
Aside from improving UX, using the correct headlines also impacts search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Google gives headings more weight than regular content, so targeting the right words will improve both your searchability and site experience.
7. Stay Consistent
Visual consistency is essential to a coherent website experience.
As users navigate your website, it’s important that they know they’re still on your website. Any drastic changes or inconsistencies will confuse visitors and make them less likely to proceed.
Ensure that visual and text elements complement one another, including:
- Button sizes
- Design elements
- Illustration styles
If you create a unified and seamless UX, users will happily spend time on your pages, return for more, and finally convert.
Improving Your Website’s UX Provides Value to Customers
Effective UX design is a cohesive effort that simplifies the web experience and provides value to your website visitors.
It should make your site functional, contemporary, and relevant to the potential customer — and leave nothing in the way.
This article originally appeared on The Manifest on February 23, 2018 and was written by Ian Heinig.