The importance of considering user experience in website design cannot be overestimated. The expectations of a website’s functionality, look and feel and navigation have reached an all time high as most users/consumers are comparing the performance of all the sites to the best retail websites they use (think Amazon). This comparison means that if their experience was bad, for example, they could not perform the task they set out to do, negative feelings are easily created and this can mean a loss of trust and confidence from the user. By embracing the importance of user interface and a good user experience we can create a site that people will find easy to use and that looks good too.

A common question we get is:

What can i do to improve user experience (UX) on my website?

User Interface

Intuitive, user-focused website design usually goes unnoticed by the people who use it. One reason for this is that if the website design is successful, the user can focus on their own goals and not the interface. This current trend of keeping things simple and easy to use is especially relevant in mobile design where the user is often looking for info on the go.

Upon landing on a website visitors are going to scan the site quickly at first, this means that the site needs to use colors, fonts, imagery and key messaging effectively to set up the brand and allow them to get what they need as easily as possible.

  • Does the site look good/contemporary/on brand?
  • Are the images high quality?
  • Is the website copy easy to read?
  • Is there contact information?

Usability

Does the website actually work the way it should and can everyone interact with the website to get the information they need?

When it comes to making a website accessible we need to recognize that there are people with different communication modalities. For example, if the objective of the site is to get the user to schedule an appointment or contact the organization, the most effective method would be to cover the communication bases, this means including a clickable contact number so that people can just click and dial directly from their mobile device, and to also include an online form for those who wish to type out their enquiry or schedule online – without both of these options, an organization may be excluding users that have disabilities that make one of these options impossible for them to perform.

User Expectation

If something on your site doesn’t have the functionality or behavior the user is expecting, it can impact their opinion of the site and in turn, the brand.

A trending component of user expectation is that the site will be mobile friendly. The site should work on both desktop and laptop computers as well as cell phones and mobile tablets. The current stats this year for people in the US viewing websites on a mobile device is around 57%, so that is a lot of users viewing websites on something as small as their cell phone. This means that it is essential to create sites using responsive or adaptive coding so that it looks good and functions well on a mobile device.

Content Delivery

As the old saying goes, a photo can say a thousands words. Using imagery to represent the mission of your organization in your website can go a long way in setting up a positive and informative picture for the user. Website user experience includes helping customers understand your product or service through the right visual content – images, videos and infographics.  

With the recent improvements to cell phone camera’s the photography market is being flooded with affordable, good quality photos for web site designers to utilize. Photos play a huge part in making a connection with an audience.

Personal photos of staff and teams, as well as the office or facility can make messaging more genuine and easier to connect with, transparently showing visitors the people they will interact with, or the place they will be visiting sets the stage for building trust and also starts that personal connection.

Using video also plays a big part in making a connection with the end-user. Video is a great tool to employ when trying to explain complex ideas and/or processes, and adds interactivity to get your viewer engaged.

Website Speed and Timing

Ever visited a website that takes minutes to fully load, did you stay long enough to see it all or did you leave the site in search of another site that you could get the information you needed faster?  Good user experience includes being able to access a website’s content quickly. 

Timing plays a huge part in how well a site connects with the user. This can be positively impacted by having anything from a fast loading home page slider to keeping the clicks to minimum when presenting the path to the information the user is looking for.

Keep Things Simple and Organized

We are not referring to sweeping up a website mess here, in- act it should be the exact opposite. The quick takeaway from this brief UI/UX overview is to always consider your end-user, creating a website interface that helps them find what they need as fast and easily as possible.

About the Author:

I’m Jannah Lyon, the creative director and graphic designer for Placemaking Group with a focus on Website and Interactive Design.  I keep my pulse on all things design that relates to small business marketing.

For more design ideas and a sample of projects I’ve completed visit our portfolio page, or connect with me on LinkedIn.