5 rules for creating a user-friendly website

User experience in website design is more important today then it has ever been. A website is not only the first contact with potential customers, one that they will assess for signs of quality and reliability, but also a key component in boosting conversion rates. It’s no longer simply enough to look at what the website delivers for the business, or at its technical specifications, the key factor today is the kind of experience it delivers and how user friendly it is.

1. Simple, clean design

Your website function should be obvious to the user and the aesthetics should send a message of trust and reliability. Well laid out pages with clear information make it simple for a user to navigate the space. The best UI/UX online will provide clear and simple guidance to a user who has come to the website with a purpose. Web design that is consistent with your branding and uses imagery and aesthetics that fit with your brand values will help to establish trust and a feeling of familiarity.

2. Smart use of colour and images

Colour can be a very powerful tool to engage users – big social media companies, for example, spend hours agonising over the perfect blue to encourage users to “like.” In particular, consistent use of a proactive colour (such as red) can be effective when applied to calls to action throughout the website. The value of imagery should not be forgotten. Images are incredibly engaging and the quality and style you choose will not only enhance user experience but also tell your visitors a lot about your brand.

3. Strategic menu choices

Constantly visible menus can be very distracting for users and may take them off the soft paths that have been designed to deliver them further into the website. The result may be that users end up bouncing from page to page and ultimately leave the website before they can take any action. So, menu placement should be carefully thought through – menus are key to navigation but shouldn’t dominate the experience or feel ever-present.

4. Heatmap insights

Heatmaps show user behaviour on specific web pages and can be useful when it comes to identifying how the website is being used. Key insights that can be gathered from heatmaps include which links are the most often clicked on, how far users scroll down a page and where bottlenecks are being created. With this data it’s possible to integrate subtle signals into website design that help to lead users along the desired path.

5. Link efficiency

Multiple links can be incredibly distracting and may result in confusion and frustration that cause users to go elsewhere. Keep your calls to action focused as either driving users down the sales funnel, reengaging them if they drop off or providing relevant information to the customer journey. Be careful to be clear when you’re using them, and not to overwhelm the user, so that the signs as to how they can progress along your soft path are obvious.

We have a wealth of experience when it comes to ensuring that websites meet expectations for user experience. To find out more, contact a member of our team on 0207 100 0726.

Author: Steve Pailthorpe - Follow us on Google+