People who have websites want traffic. They want traffic coming in and they want traffic that stays long enough to make some conversions – ideally purchases, if they are offering products or services. Much of this “staying power” has to do with the experience that visitor has when s/he arrives at a site, and even before that arrival.
We all know that UX is critical. We may not remember, however, all of the elements that must go into that experience to make it enjoyable and seamless. We may not remember there are specific design elements that are unique to mobile and even wearable devices. Here, we will take a look at all of the factors in creating an exceptional UX as a site is designed. All of those factors must fit together – a total package.
If a landing page, or any page, for that matter, is crowded with lots of images and text, the visitor will be confused and irritated. A “busy” page requires too much for the eye and the brain to absorb. While a lot of designers and business owners have viewed empty space as lost opportunity in the past, they know differently today. When there is empty space around text and images, studies show that a visitor will stay longer.
For PC users, the important information should be above the fold with enough white space to separate out that information. For mobile users, white space is still important, but there is the advantage of scrolling, so, even with a smaller screen, there won’t be irritation. For this reason, the single page website is becoming more and more common. Above all, keep in mind that design for mobile screens should be sleek and must eliminate all but the essentials.
While this design could almost be a bit busy, the color coding simplifies things for the visitor.
2. Speed/Load Time
2 seconds. That’s the ideal. Anything over 3 is too much load time. And this doesn’t just go or the landing page load time. It goes for every page within the site. Again, there are studies. These show that you can experience as much as an 80% abandonment rate by 4 seconds.
The demand for speed has increased over time and is especially important now that so many users are on mobile devices. Mobile means just that – they are on the move and they need what they want instantly. Make sure images are compressed and do not use such things as “Flash.”
Once the site design has a great load time, it must be tested frequently and most certainly any time any modification is made, no matter how minor.
3. CTA Buttons – More Important Than You Might Think
Size, shape, color, and wording all are important pieces of UX.
Size: When just a cursor is clicking on a button, the size factor is really a matter of the eye being drawn to it; for mobile users, however, designers need to assume that everyone has fat fingers, and buttons should be sized accordingly.
Color: Research shows that green and orange actually do better in attracting a viewer, although other factors can offset this.
Shape: Buttons that have curved edges seem to do better. The curves force the eyes inward onto the button; sharp edges move the eyes out and away.
Wording: Wording around and on the button itself should not be boring. Often phrases like, “Get Your Free Trial Here” can be placed right on the button. Sometimes, on mobile devices, however, a phrase may be unreadable if placed directly on a button.
It’s a smart idea to do some A/B testing on buttons and to check out the large amount of research out there that has done a lot of this testing for you.
Some of navigation ease has to do with load time – clean and fast. The other critical factor is placement of links. For PC’s, this is not as much an issue as it is for mobile devices. Links across the top or along the side have been the most common placements for PC use, along with drop down menus within those links. Designers are also moving to the hamburger icon, because they want a sleeker cleaner home page. Much of this, especially drop-down menus, is not fitting for small screens, so lose as many links as possible. Here is the difference between the PC home page for Geek Squad and its mobile page.
Links with drop down menus; other links throughout based upon information and tips and tricks.
Large orange buttons; no drop downs, large gray buttons to push for an explanation of the services offered in each category. That’s it.
The verdict has long been in on this one – visuals trump words every time. Several considerations relate visuals and user experience.
First, visuals can portray credibility, and credibility enhances trust.
Second, visuals can cause a visitor to stay on a page longer
Third, stock photos are a bad idea. A study of a moving company in New England demonstrated that when they changed out their stock photos for photos of actual employees, their conversion rates increased rapidly. Everyone recognizes stock photos and they do nothing to establish a connection between the visitor and the organization.
Visuals should be selected and placed with care. And they need to reflect the culture of the organization. They should also be compressed, so that they do not slow down load times, especially on mobile designs.
Other visuals – infographics, memes, and animations are great for PC designs but may need to be limited somewhat for mobile devices.
Visual design is a craft that takes considerable expertise. Most designers who are use visuals well have taken a course or two to master the necessary skills.
Videos have become widely popular because they can replace so much text. Explained videos, lasting 30-90 seconds, some say, can replace thousands of words and that is always a good thing. Especially on mobile, the less text there is the better. And if they are done well, they will engage a visitor immediately.
The other great trend in video is to have it silently playing on a home or landing page without a visitor having to click a link to get to it. More and more, video is being used as background, and the effects can be stunning. Be careful if you incorporate video into mobile designs, however, as they can create slow-downs. You will need to know how to compress them, but there are ample tools available now.
While wearables are the newest “kids on the block,” they cannot be overlooked in terms of UX. Before designing anything for wearables or IOT, it is the designer’s responsibility to determine the experience that the user will want. These types of designs are not crafted to engage users and encourage them to make conversions. Theses designs are for the user to complete a task very quickly through a streamlined process. Information about road conditions or weather conditions that are now available on car dashboards, for example, must allow for a quick glance and eyes back on the road immediately. Fitness wearables must provide the user with quick information too, especially when in the middle of a workout. There will be a lot of design work related to wearables and IOT for some time to come.
8. Text Content
Whether you are designing a home page or a blog, there will be text. If you are having troubles with content you might consider an option of using essay writing service. It will help you with creation of outstanding blog posts. From a design standpoint, a good user experience will include the following:
- Simple Language Always – about the 6th grade reading level
- Bulleted points and short chunks of content that can be scanned
- Titles and sub-headings to divide up text for easy digestion
- Typography that is easy to read. Fancy scripts may look pretty, but they are irritating to a user whose reading speed is slowed because of them.
UX is the entire purpose of crafting a website design. And that is the most important concept – you are designing a site for you or for you client. You are designing the site for the user only.
Creating a great UX requires 8 considerations:
- Keep it simple, sleek and easy to absorb.
- Ensure that the site and every page loads seamlessly and quickly
- Make CTA buttons prominent and test different colors shapes and sizes
- Seamless navigation is a must. Navigation on a sight for a PC will be very different than that for a mobile device
- Use original images for a better connection with and engagement of the visitor
- Videos will continue to play an increasingly important role in providing exceptional UX
- The future of wearables and IOT is here and designs will have a fully different user purpose.
- Text should be minimal, simple, and laid out for easy scanning. More and more text will be replaced by visuals and video moving forward.
Creating exceptional UX is an evolving craft, as technology and devices continue to develop. Designers will have to spend some of their time in research and additional training if they expect to stay current.