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August 11, 2016

Website Design Guidelines to Achieve an Exceptional User Experience

There is a lot more to designing a website than just how your website looks. Besides aesthetics, you should optimize your website for usability and user experience – make it simple and enjoyable for people to visit your website. Websites with an exceptional user experience typically perform very well. If your customer can reach their destination with ease, they are more likely to stay on your site for longer and re-visit in the future.

 

What Makes an Exceptional User Experience?

A fantastic user experience is made up of several factors. Here are just some of them:

  • Minimal distractions
  • Logical hierarchy
  • Optimal navigation
  • Conventional layout

Your website has an exceptional user experience when users can easily and quickly find the information they need. If customers or readers feel confused or frustrated by using your website, there’s a high chance they will leave.

How to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

There is no formula to create the perfect user experience. However, there are helpful guidelines you can use to improve your website:

1. Keep it Simple

Cluttered webpages can confuse customers. Instead, keep your website as simple and straightforward as possible.

  • Use five colours or fewer on all pages.
  • Choose a simple, easy-to-read typeface and font for your content.
  • Use graphics and media to inform your customers, not to fill up white space on your website.
  • Include plenty of white space to make content readable.

2. Implement a Visual Hierarchy

Structure elements of your website should be ordered logically, according to their function and importance – this is known as a “visual hierarchy.” You can establish a visual hierarchy by positioning important elements near the top of the page. Important elements should feature bold colours or fonts in order to stand out against the rest of the page.

3. Improve Navigation

Orderly and intuitive navigation is key to an exceptional user experience. Optimize your site’s navigation using the following tips:

  • Minimize the number of navigation options on each screen to seven or fewer.
  • Add major navigation options to the footer of your website.
  • For websites that are content-heavy, include a search box.
  • For websites with more than three levels, implement “breadcrumbs” to show users which pages lead them to their current location.

Finally, ensure your website’s navigation is consistent across all pages. The location of your navigation links and the labels for each link should remain the same throughout your website.

4. Use Responsive Design

The number of mobile users is overtaking desktop users at an ever-increasing rate. As such, it’s important to enhance your website for both desktop and mobile experiences. By implementing responsive design, you website will work smoothly on almost any device, including:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Desktops
  • Netbooks
  • eBooks

Webpages can adjust to the size of a user’s device when a responsive design is used. This makes it easy for users to view and navigate your webpage, no matter what device they are on.

5. Follow User Interface Conventions

Most webpages follow a basic design formula which online visitors have come to expect. For example, the logo is usually located at the top of the page, followed by major navigation links, then important content. Contact information can usually be found in the footer.

Follow common design conventions, even if you have more exciting ideas in mind. This will give your website a solid foundation to deliver an exceptional user experience.

When a user visits your website, they will decide to stay or leave within several seconds. Improve your conversion rate by delivering an exceptional user experience – think about what you’d like to see as a customer, and implement your ideas into your own user interface.

Talk to a web design expert today

Book a free consultation and learn how Graphically Speaking can help optimize your website to deliver an exceptional user experience to your visitors.

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