There is more to web design than just aesthetics and fancy features. Often, when you don’t get the results out of your website your primary response registers like this,” Maybe the color theme is too shabby” or “We should change the banners and replace them with larger ones”.
While all such notions are valid to some end, there are other cardinal factors that often get overlooked when designing or redesigning a website. The Internet is abundant with websites catering to all sorts of users and customers, but what makes your website stand out? How does it invite the user to your pages? what does it offer that others don’t?
Usability Vs UX
A web designer who appreciates quality will know that Usability and UX play a leading role in determining if the website will sell or not. Usability and UX are two separate entities that cannot be mixed together. Both carry a large contribution to the success of a web design if they are deployed correctly. Before we discuss the 5 tips to enhance these two, it is imperative to understand what Usability and UX stand for in web design.
Usability in terms of web design is simply defined as the ability to do task-based interactions intuitively and easily on a web-based platform such as a website. User experience or UX, is the potential experience a user will acquire after interacting with a website, product, application or business. The major difference between the two can be summarized like this.
- Usability is focused on simplifying a task and making it intuitive while UX is all about making a task meaningful and valuable.
- UX generates an emotional connection with the user while Usability is aimed at minimizing steps and removing obstructions.
- Usability is derived from data on ‘what users do’ and ‘how they do it’ while UX is based on the behavioral analysis of users.
1. Invite, Engage and Convert
Web designs can speak a lot about what a company represents, what are its ideals and how well it plans to treat its customers. But focusing on one aspect without making room for the other can spell disaster. Similarly, putting all effort just to exhibit elegance in a web design can often sideline the more compelling issues that really matter in it. Beauty can invite the user but cannot engage them. The four basic stages of closing a lead is invitation, engagement, conversion, and sale. If there is no engagement the customer will not convert. This is where usability comes into play. Usability is your arsenal of user engagement features and tools to keep the customer busy long enough to convert.
2. Learn About the User Behavior
Many web designers are prone to misunderstand the fragile emotional connection of content with their personal preferences. Exhibiting HD images and other forms of visual content cannot fill the vacuum of emotional perspective an average user demands. If you aim to hit the mark in the online industry, your web design has to do a little more than just images, videos, and animations. To make your user tick, you need to learn about them. Do your research on what they like and what annoys them the most, find behavioral triggers that instigate engagement and introduce feedback/testimonials on your website. If there is anything a customer will listen to, it is the word of mouth of another customer. For instance, a recent survey revealed that 44% of website visitors are prone to abandon a website if there is no information shown on the Contact Us page. This clearly shows that without keeping tabs on current user preferences, you become liable to a hefty loss in traffic and conversion percentage.
Talking about usability in a web design is meaningless without mentioning navigation. Navigation is the roadmap to a website that directs them to their desired location. It allows your website users to find what they are looking for without hitting the rocks. You can start by introducing a proper and structural hierarchy that segments your content and pages with categories and tabs.
You can also integrate breadcrumbs to your pages to enhance navigation on another level. Breadcrumbs are control buttons/links that help users track their way back or leap to another page without using back or forward function of the browser. This makes their path more convenient and reduces customer abandonments on your web pages. However, breadcrumb navigation should always be treated as secondary navigation to your website to make it as a fail-safe for those customers who need more assistance while browsing on web pages.
4. Interact with People
UX is the entirety of all the layers gauged by a person’s emotional response towards your website. That is why the motivations and rationale of your users should influence the aspects of your content and products from time to time. To keep this experience alive, you need to know what people say and expect from a web design in the real world. It’s true that internet is the fastest means to interact with users and customer alike, however, it also has certain limitations that prevent it from giving full in-depth closure about the customer’s liking and preferences. You need to get out of your workplace and conduct surveys and questionnaires to discover the emotional appeal attached to online user interaction. This will work as double-edged sword allowing you to tap the mobile users who rarely use their laptops or desktops at home and collect valuable feedback on it.
5. Get it Mobile Ready
Last but not the least, get your web design mobile-ready. According to latest statistics, 85% of website visitors naturally come into thinking that the mobile version of a website they have just visited will be better looking and much faster than the desktop version. Converting your web design into responsive not only makes it fast and scalable on mobile devices, but your web design usability and UX heavily depends on it. Without integrating era-appropriate technology with your design strategy, your website is doomed. Since handheld devices such as iPhones, smartphones and tablets are on the boom, everything from making calls to people next door to buying real estate properties is now done on mobile devices. If you plan to lure traffic from the mobile sector, converting your design into a mobile friendly should be the first move in your plan of action. A responsive design delivers the usability and accessibility of every mobile user demands without compromising the UX.