Imagine you get a piece of white paper on one hand and on the other you get all the rainbow colors in a pallet. Now you can start playing… This is how I feel when I am designing a website from scratch, when I can play with layouts and colors in the website builder to create my website masterpiece.
But, at the same time, I remind myself that the creative part of the process needs to include my customers. The way it should be done is by thinking about their experiences in the buying process of a product or service, or just when reading my blog.
In this blog post, I will help you understand what matters the most in UX (User Experience). And at the end, the answer to all the following questions will be yes!
- Anyone who comes to my website understands what my business is about (especially if it’s their first time)?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- My customers find everything they need?
- Design for the users – Know your target audience
- Why are you making this site? Skip the temptation to dive into the website builder tools without first thinking about your main objective for the website. Remember why you are making it and what must be included.
- Who is your audience? This is the second natural question that comes into play and one of the most important. Define your audience (age range, locations, preferences, etc.) and adjust all your website content to satisfy them.
- What do you want visitors to do / take away when they land on your site? Is it an impression? Is it a feeling? Is it something more tangible such as e-book? You should consider passing something onto them as a way to establish a relationship and turn them into recurring visitors.
- Are you creating the site for a client? If so, what are the client’s goals? If the website on the table is for a client, put yourself on their shoes and make it just as you would make yours. Think and plan all the little aspects and ask them any questions in order to take into consideration all their goals.
- Say more with less – simple design elements. How many seconds users have to pay attention? Make sure they do not have to stay 100% focused to be able to understand your website. If it’s too messy or too hard to get the message, they will just leave. With all the entertaining messages we constantly get through ads, signs, sounds, emails, and so on, we tend to have shorter attention span. Do not fall into the fallacy of building a messy website and you will have better chances of succeeding.
- Consistency – very important. Start with a nice introduction but remember to follow-up with content that matches the initial message. Build up on the tone smoothly and you will be able to present everything you want in the right time and with the right words. Stick to this strategy even if you like to be aggressive with content. It is better to go one step at a time not to sounds confusing or messy. It is human nature to avoid messy things, places and guess what? Websites too. We will avoid incomprehensive, inconsistent websites. Period.
- Color scheme – we have all visited websites that looked like a carnival of colors. There are web designers (or con artists) out there that are really masters at throwing around all sorts of red, yellow, blue and green. Do they really think it’s cool? I guess so…Let’s admit: at least they exist to make us laugh. Those kinds of websites are so funny! However, getting back to business, it’s hard to really see companies with funky websites as reliable. I have certainly never seen reliable companies with funky color schemes on their websites.
- Fonts – same thing applies here. There are thousands of fonts out there nowadays, we know. There are some that are very impressive, cool, fancy, elaborate… We know that too. It’s very tempting to browse through all the varieties of fonts you can find. And it’s even more tempting to try them out. But save yourself some time to play with them later. A website is not a place for that. Avoid using many types of fonts. Think about your logo, general appearance of your website and try to maintain your fonts consistent with your color schemes, brand identity and content.
- Images and videos – this part can really make it or break it. To make it, use high quality images and videos only. There are countless smartphones out there that shoot very good pictures and videos. You certainly have one you can use. If you have a camera, even better. Make sure all the visual content you put into your website is good in terms of brightness, focus and angle. The visuals will play a major role in reinforcing your messages throughout the website. Ultimately, they will prevail with the impression you are passing onto your visitors. I have a golden rule that I use to determine if the files are ok to upload to my websites: if I would see it on YouTube or on the TV and think it’s bad quality, beyond acceptable, I don’t use it.
- White space – a good musician knows a pause is just like any other musical note and should be used wisely within the harmony of a song. However, a musician usually is not silent for a long period of time, otherwise that’s not actually playing music. It is basically the same thing when it comes to websites. Avoid leaving blank spaces around your website but know when to use it to give users a break and to make the website better, aesthetically speaking.
- Navigation bar – where do you click when you want to go to the “beginning” of a website? The homepage button. Where is it? On the navigation bar. Where do look when you want to find a contact page? On the navigation bar. You get the point… The go-to place when looking for pages on any given website is the navigation bar. So keep it simple and organized. This ensures users will find everything they are looking for. The better the navigation bar, the better experience, the better impression, the better revenues…
- Cover the basics – mobile usability, site speed, security, reliability. Everything has a start. And these four key elements are the solid basis for a good user experience. Starting from mobile, users want to be able to see the full content of a website when navigating on their phones and tablets. They want to be able to click on every link, image and video with the tip of their fingers. Secondly, people want pages to open at the very moment they click a link, so site speed is very important for their experience. Last but not least, security and reliability are indispensible. You can pass on a trustworthy image by following the branding aspects discussed above. Needless to say, the easiest way to have all the above accomplished without moving a finger is by making your websites here on SITE123.
- Call to Action or short CTA – and before they leave your website, get them to take some kind of action. Yes, take advantage of them already being on your website and get them to do something that establishes or strengthens the connection between you and them. That can be by asking them to share something, to download something, or even by selling them something. There are many possibilities and you can use your imagination and knowledge of your visitors to choose what the best for your website is.
How to keep improving?
- Collect data about your users. Science has been doing it forever and all the other areas of life have been mimicking it since the beginning of the modern age. The use of data is simply amazing to better understand your users and to foresee how you can improve your website/business in order to enhance user experience. There are plenty of tools you can use to collect and analyze data about your users. On our plugin manager and app market you can find tools that allow you to see all sorts of data. Everything from how many visitors you get to what kinds of things they search for on the internet. Enjoy!
- Respond to live chat or to your customers’ emails – this will give you first-hand experience when customers are confused. It is like a direct source of feedback in this sense. If visitors get confused with something on your website, they can instantly reach you to ask a question. Now you understand more about their experience and also have the chance of developing the conversation with them.
After sharing all these UX tips with you, here is something to keep in mind as a conclusion. When you start by thinking about your main objective for the website, you are on the right path. Then, it’s just a matter of putting your customers in the center of everything and build the website around them. In the end, they are the ones giving you the money, visibility or whatever you are getting from your website/business.
The key to succeeding is in considering all the key aspects. Think about your logo, general appearance and try to maintain your fonts consistent with your color schemes. Step by step you can build and represent your brand identity. With the attention to use blank spaces wisely, and providing a solid navigation bar and contact channel, it will be easy to excel in user experience.
Now that you master the magic of user experience, it’s time to create a website!