How to make every visitor feel like your website has been built just for them.
From: User Experience for Web Designers by Chris Nodder. Past month I watched a very useful course in Lynda.com where I learned simple tips for implementing good user experience design principles in order to make the visitors stay in your site. Applying UX design principles make your site behave in a way that your visitors expect and want. So, if we keep in mind these tips we will have better results. Topics in the course include:
- Building a site visitors will like
- Using single, consistent, and standard design principles
- Creating good menus
- Adding search to a site
- Using media and interactive content
Let’s review briefly some of those UX tips I learned…
Build a site visitors will like
“You need to know who your audience is and how they behave before you can build a successful site.” “Tailor the content on your site to the group of users that you care most about.”
Spend some time thinking about who exactly you’re going to optimize the site design for. It’s worth the time to sketch out the attributes of the visitors you care about, what they value, what their goals are, and what concerns might stop them from using your site. Some people call this type of sketch, a persona.
Use single, consistent, and standard design principles
Simple design doesn’t mean boring. What I mean by this is that all elements of the page should be helping to tell the story, and if they don’t help, you should get rid of them. Think like your users, and go through your site asking whether each element is helping, or hindering your visitors.
The more time your visitors have to spend working at how your site behaves, the less time they’ll have for your content. Consistent design means having the same response whenever people perform an action.
Standard design doesn’t mean making things boring, it just means you have to innovate with your content, not with the container that the content is placed in. Standard design means using the same elements as the major sites do, and avoiding the elements that they avoid.
Create good menus
Search might be what brings people to your site, but navigation often has to step in to get them to the exact location they need. Research suggests that about 10% of all tasks fail because of issues with navigation. There are two things that navigation elements are used for. The most obvious is for moving around the site. The other thing is to help visitor understand where they are within the site, and what else the site offers.
Add search to a site
On most Internet sites, visitors are split about half and half between preferring to use the navigation menus and preferring to use a search box. The more content a site has, the more likely visitors are to use search. So, make sure that your search feature is easily accessible to people from every page on your site.
Have a Call to Action
If you’re trying to get visitors to do something,then make it clear what you want them to do: subscribe to your newsletter, comment to your blog post, hire you, or buy your product. For e-commerce sites, that’s pretty simple. Your product pages should have easy ways to buy the items on display. For blog sites, where your goal may be to spread your influence through social media, you’ll need to make it easy for visitors to like, retweet, subscribe, or e-mail your content, and it doesn’t hurt to ask in text as well as providing the buttons.
Use media to help tell your story
Taking away non-essential items leaves more space for visitors to see the important pieces. Every part of the page is valuable, so don’t waste it with useless graphics. Make sure you’re using graphics for explanation, not just for decoration. What you want to avoid using purely decorative content, is in the body area of your pages, where visitors are looking for information. To drive that point home, consider this: Jens Riegelsberger and his colleagues at University College London, looked at the impact of using stock photography on websites. What they found was that, although the perceived trustworthiness of poorly performing vendors was increased when they used stock photography, perceived trustworthiness of vendors with good reputations was decreased. Now, assuming that your site currently has a good reputation, what impact do you think stock photography is going to have on that reputation?
The most important message to take away from this course is that without your users, you have nothing. For that reason, it’s essential that you build the whole site with your users’ experience in mind. Every time you make a design decision, ask does this make the experience better for my users?