When it comes to determining what will help your website succeed, the usability and utility of the design will be more important than the visual design. Many designs these days are becoming increasingly user-focused because it is the website visitors who ultimately determine where mouses will be clicked.
Understanding good web design principles involve knowing how people will interact with websites and what the patterns of behavior will be. The bottom line in many cases is that people often act the same way they would in a traditional store, with website visitors looking at webpages, reading some text, and possibly clicking a link on the webpage.
Clicks can happen as soon as people see anything relating to their interest in viewing the webpage. When a webpage does not contain anything useful to a visitor, then they are more likely to click the back button to navigate away from the page.
When we are thinking about webpages, we will have to place great emphasis on quality and credibility. This goes back to the content that appears on a website because people will be willing to put up with advertisements or other interference on a website when there is information that is valuable to the visitor.
It is important for web designers to remember that many website visitors do not actually read the full pages but instead scan them for certain keywords or phrases important to them. There may be certain aspects of some pages that appeal to these people.
There can also be an emphasis on webpage speed because most website visitors are not very patient and will navigate away from websites that take too long to load. Companies have to stress instantly gratifying their website visitors to ensure they will remain on their pages.
It is also important to remember that many people are going to visit several websites when they are seeking answers to their questions, and so people can quickly go through pages searching for something only to leave and look on another website when they cannot find what they are searching for. Companies will want to be sure their websites best answer the questions their visitors might have.
Companies also need to remember that most people want to be able to exercise control over their browsing activities. For this reason, having links open in new browser windows could be disruptive.
Avoiding Making Your Visitors Think
All websites need to be basic enough for the average person to understand. Website visitors should have a clearly outlined flow of information.
When website navigation and architecture are not clearly defined, then it can lead to a website visitor being confused about where they are supposed to go and what they are supposed to click on. Websites can be best served by having clear listings of services or products offered, an about us page, and a home page link.
Understanding Visitor Patience
Companies are going to want to try to keep the number of requirements for their website visitors to a minimum. Visitors will be more likely to try out actions they are not required to perform.
This can mean avoiding having people complete long forms on websites that can take significant time to complete. You should instead focus on letting people play more with the features of your website.
You also want visitors to explore a website and discover services without forcing them to share their private data. This means that you should not require a person to enter an email address until after they have gotten a better idea of what services or products a company offers.
Understand the Attention of Website Visitors
Because a website could offer static and dynamic content, it is possible that certain aspects of a user interface could end up drawing more attention from a website visitor than others. Photographs and other images always catch a person’s eye, but the bold or italicized text will also be more eye-catching.
We need to remember that the eye is generally non-linear, meaning that people instantly recognize certain edges, patterns, and motions. It is also why some video-based advertisements can be annoying and distracting to people even though the marketing perspective will be that such ads do the job of capturing a person’s attention.
Companies will want to keep in mind that using certain visual elements can allow a website to direct attention to a specific area without thinking about how to get there. All website operators will want to keep the amount of thought visitors have to invest to a minimum.
Showcase Your Features
While several web designs are now facing criticism because of an approach that can involve bigger buttons and a sort of 1-2-3 design, the truth is that more basic outlines often prove to be effective because of their simplicity. We again need to remember how important it is to simplify everything for website visitors.
The idea will ultimately be to provide website visitors with a list of possible functions. As long as this content is simple and easy to understand, it should be effective.
Do Not Ignore Your Writing
People need to be aware of what kinds of text people read and what they will skip. Writing that is considered promotional will be likely to be skipped, and long blocks of text that are not broken up with pictures or other keyword markings can also be ignored.
The bottom line for most companies will be getting down to business and describing products or services. In most cases, the wording of certain intended actions can be incredibly important.
A good example might be Eleven2.com, which gets right to the point. There is a limited-time offer and an immediate price quote.
In general, effective writing will involve using short and concise phrases, a scannable layout, and plain and objective language.
Keep It Simple
Most website visitors do not want to be overwhelmed with options as a simple and straightforward design is generally preferable. There is usually an emphasis more on information than design.
This can make print versions of webpages incredibly valuable for most websites because people can view text without advertisements. Such features allow people to see their options without exposing them to unnecessary content.
Value Your White Space
White space is negative space but is not a blank space because it will have a purpose. The purpose of white space on a website is to give some relief to website visitors so they are not overwhelmed by the content of a webpage.
When there are too many elements on a webpage, it can make the page harder for a person to read or scan. When a designer has the option of using a visible line or white space, the white space may be preferable in most cases because hierarchical structures can reduce complexity and make content easier to perceive.
Know What Visible Language Is
Suzanne Martin states in “Effective Visual Communication for Graphical User Interfaces,” that visible language is all of the graphical techniques used to communicate a message or context. Examples include layout, typography, color and texture, imagery, animation, sequencing, sound, and visual identity.
Organization will be important so website visitors can be provided with a clear and consistent website structure. Organization may involve such concepts as consistency, screen layout, relationships, and navigability.
Websites will also have to take into account simplicity, clarity, distinctiveness, and emphasis. Simplicity will refer to the elements that are most important for communication, clarity relates to components that are designed so the meaning is not ambiguous, distinctiveness makes the important properties of the necessary elements distinguishable, and emphasis makes the most important elements easily perceived.
Nothing Wrong With Being Conventional
While there is a belief that a conventional website will be boring website, it does not mean it will be an ineffective website. In many cases, conventional websites end up being far more welcoming to website visitors and allow for easier navigation.
Following certain conventions can allow companies to better earn the trust of their website visitors. It can also help companies better satisfy user expectations.
Every web design project is going to involve some kind of web testing, and it will always be better to have at least one user perform a test than have no users perform any tests. Testing will be important for helping designers understand which layouts are most effective for a company’s purposes.
Website errors are most common during the design process, and they can become more costly to correct later on. Companies need to test their websites, fix any problems, and then test again.
You will want to consider the value of usability tests that can help pinpoint major problems. Most web developers will not be best suited to test their own code because of their familiarity with the code, so a fresh perspective is often necessary.
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