Over the past decade, we’ve experienced first-hand how building a website has become more complicated. This has been a journey for all designers and developers because it seems like something new happens every year to change the course of development. Yet, wireframes are still used to show the general layout of a site and user flow still describes where traffic tends to go. It’s good to know that some things are still the same, even though mobile apps and smartphone navigation have changed the way we create a positive user experience.
User Experience is Key
We have to do some homework before we can get started on those wireframes, because we need to see how potential clients will interact with your site. What is their goal when they get there? Are they searching for information or do they need help right away? Answering these questions can help us enhance their experience.
The site needs to be accessible and easy to use. Is it ADA compliant? How long will it take to load on-screen? It needs to connect immediately with users and their motivations for being there. They should be able to quickly locate and navigate to areas of the site that are relevant to their needs. All of these aspects of website design also impact search engine optimization (SEO). If a user has a bad experience and leaves the website quickly, this counts against you. If the page load time is too long because of too many large images, this counts against you. So, if you have a website that is designed well for the user, you can count on some good SEO points.
From PC to Mobile
Smartphones are the gateway to the internet. Consumers access media and shop online from their phones more than ever. Thus, a company’s website has to be mobile responsive, or else it will lose potential business. Plus, Google lowers search results if a website is not optimized for mobile.
The best way to engage potential clients is through visual design. It communicates faster than words and solidifies the company’s brand through logos, icons, colors and texture. If this is their first impression of the company, it needs to consistently represent the brand while providing information.
Visual design should improve navigation, not hinder it. When a site is overtaken by too many visuals and motion graphics it gets bulky, especially on a smartphone. As a result users struggle to ignore the constant stream of images. The best thing to do is to strike a balance between recurring brand images and visuals for ease of navigation. Having a solid and detailed brand guide is a great way to consistently utilize graphics, images and colors to create a meaningful, coherent experience for website visitors.
Be Intuitive – Be Engaging
A website needs to do more than just capture attention. It has to define the brand. The best way to do this is through intuitive design, engaging visuals, and content that motivates. Website content needs to talk about solving problems. In some way, the site has to make visitors’ lives better, which means clearly identifying common challenges and how they get solved. Having a list of features and benefits doesn’t sell unless the “Why?” is there. Same goes for awards. These need to be explained in a way that makes people want to learn more or call.
To design a site from the user’s perspective takes time and some research, but it will increase engagement and funnel in more business. Connect with us if you have an upcoming web project and we’ll see how we can help!