Monthly Archives: October 2016

Simple ways effective UI design promotes

A user experience is something that every website offers to those who visit it. However, the experience will differ from website to website in a wide variety of ways. Some are easy to navigate, some are a joy to use, some are clunky but you can still plod your way to where you want to go, and some are so difficult to understand that you just hit the back arrow on your browser.

One of the biggest influences on user experience is the user interface—the actual design that users will interact with—there are several factors that make up an interface, such as how easy it is to navigate through a website or how easy it is to read content. Users will also form their opinions based on the website’s perceived value and usefulness. The better it helps them accomplish their goals, the more useful it will be perceived to be.

The emotions that users feel while using your website, will end up having an impact on the associated business. If users can easily find what they are looking for on the website and feel satisfied, they are more likely to purchase from it, meanwhile, if they feel frustrated or confused, it is quite likely they will move along and purchase from someone else that offers them a better user experience. Lackluster user experiences hold many businesses back from their full potential, leaving their websites underperforming, and wasting valuable advertising dollars when visitors are not converted into customers.
Below are 5 simple, but potent, ways in which clever user interface design promotes successful user experience:

1. IMPROVING PAGE LOAD SPEED
The page load speed of your website is an extremely important element of user experience. While designers often get caught up in trying to show off their visual design skills, the truth of the matter is that website visitors generally care more about page load speed than gaudy adornments.

According to a recent study by Kissmetrics, nearly half (47%) of all consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less; if your page takes longer than that to load, it is reducing the quality of the user experience. If your page takes more than three seconds to load, you will have, on average, 40% of visitors abandon your website; that will increase by 7% for each additional second it takes your website to load. A slow website translates into lost opportunities and lost sales.
Additionally, while slow load times cut down on the number of conversions your website generates, slow load times also work to reduce the number of opportunities your website will give rise to by having a negative impact on its search engine ranking. The effect is small, but you certainly want to do everything you can to improve your website’s search engine ranking.

To help keep your pages loading in under 3 seconds, try utilizing the following tips: first, opt for a simpler design style avoiding unnecessary items and flashy decorations (in A/B tests, simpler designs generally outperform ornate designs anyway); second, optimize your images in a graphics program, you don’t want to use html to resize them; third, avoid using too many plugins, they slow down the experience for site visitors; fourth, if your site is popular, consider utilizing a content delivery network to improve server response time.

2. LEVERAGING WHITE SPACE
White space is often overlooked but it is a very important part of effective user interface design. I am sure you have been in the same situation as most designers where clients view white space as empty space and rush to fill it, thinking white space is a waste. In fact, the opposite is the case; white space is one of the most important parts of a website.

If used properly, white space can dramatically improve the user experience of a website. White space helps make a user interface easy on the eye, which helps retain visitors and keeps them reading. It does this by making content more legible. The white space around website text and images helps people improve comprehension and creates a better user experience.

White space also helps improve the appearance of your website, giving it a nice, clean professional look. White space helps reduce confusion on the part of visitors as websites lacking in white space often look disorganized. You want to create a nice balanced look for your website using white space to separate different blocks of content.
White space is also effective to highlight something important such as your call to action. The proper use of white space in your design helps guide your visitors’ attention to key parts of your website and without it, visitors may overlook important items.
A wonderful example of this is the Chanel website. It is a beautiful, clean site that uses white space well to draw your attention to key areas of the site.
chanel

3. CUTTING DOWN THE AMOUNT OF TEXT
Website visitors will generally just skim your web pages looking for important keywords, significant headings, and scannable lists. Visitors are typically in a hurry to find the information they’re looking for and will skip over content that appears to be inconvenient or irrelevant. Because of this, you should understand that visitors will most likely not read your content if it is not formatted to this pattern of behavior. Avoid creating long blocks of text that appear uninviting to users wanting to quickly scan your website. When it comes to the modern web, less is definitely more.

You also want to avoid over-indulging in promotional writing, as customers will quickly see through fluff and stop reading. Having the correct tone is important. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, objective copywriting in a concise, scannable style results in 124% better usability.

When and where it is possible, utilize visuals as people tend to be better engaged by visual content. Utilize icons, attention grabbing images, video clips and infographics to help get your message across rather than relying on large blocks of text.
Bellroy illustrates this concept well on their website as they keep text down to a minimum amount and showcase their products with big, easy to view images.
bellroy

4. REDUCING VISUAL CLUTTER
Treat your website visitors’ attention as a precious resource. As visitors arrive at your website, remember that they will be quickly scanning for pertinent information and not paying full attention to everything on the page. If you clutter up your user interface, it will overload website visitors with too much information, make your website seem complicated and reduce the quality of the user experience.

Start by removing items that are not essential. By getting rid of anything that isn’t necessary to the user completing their intended actions, you will reduce the clutter and improve visitors’ ability to focus on and comprehend essential information.
ETQ’s website shows how by eliminating clutter you are able to focus on the products themselves.
etq

5. PROVIDING A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION
You should have a clear goal for visitors who arrive at your website. You want this to be obvious to visitors and easy for them to complete. Perhaps you want visitors to make a purchase, request a quote, or just to call you, let them know what to do to keep them moving forward after landing on your website.

Your call to action is how you tell visitors what action they should take while on your website. We regularly see websites with no clear call to action and it is no surprise when we find out they are not performing the way their owners’ hope. Your call to action should stand out and make it easy for the visitors to take the desired action.

Before deciding on your website’s call to action it is best to understand your visitors’ reasons for coming to your website. Having a call to action that runs counter to visitors’ intentions will reduce its effectiveness. If visitors just want to make a purchase but you push them to ask for a quote it can cut down on the effectiveness of your call to action.

Dollar Shave Club’s buttons just beg to be pushed. Their website illustrates how clear calls to action can draw your attention and promote forward movement.

Design Killing Your Creativity

When we talk about web design in 2017, we’re really talking about responsive web design. In just over six years, the term ‘responsive’ has become an all pervasive industry standard.

Responsive web design is the process of designing a site, or a web app, so that its content adjusts appropriately according to the device it’s viewed on. A few years ago I saw an excellent conference talk by Ethan Marcotte—who coined the term ‘responsive web design’—in which he likened responsive sites to Utah’s Pando tree; a single organism with a connected root structure, that emerges from the ground in different places, different contexts, at different sizes, but all bearing the same base genetics.
It’s arguably the adoption of responsive design that has enabled the growth of the mobile web; without it the cost of developing a mobile site in parallel with a desktop version would have meant many companies sticking with the latter.

relationships designed for mobile are frequently transposed onto much larger viewports
But responsive design is not without its problems. By definition, responsive designs ‘respond’ to viewport size, not content. Container-based variations on CSS media queries have been mooted as a solution, but so far are just a post-it on someone’s whiteboard.
Design is broadly about relationships between elements, and those relationships are restricted on a small screen. Furthermore because our markup is semantically structured, relationships designed for mobile are frequently transposed onto much larger viewports.

One of the most commonly criticised UI decisions of the past year has been the increasing number of hamburger menus being used on desktop. However, little attention has been paid to mobile layouts—horizontal bands of content divided into a 12 column grid—being scaled up to desktop.
The question of whether responsive web design is killing creativity is probably unfair; it assumes that diversity and innovation are the lifeblood of a design process. It also lays blame on a concept, if there is blame to apportion, it surely lies with implementation. In fact, design often flourishes under the tightest of restrictions—I know a designer who adds his own constraints to client briefs, because he feels his work is stronger when he is challenged.
if there is blame to apportion, it surely lies with implementation

Responsive design works incredibly well with branding, but it’s less than ideal for layout. It may be that the best way to implement responsive design is to create distinct designs for different classes of viewport, and rely on responsive techniques only for similar screens. We may not know the exact dimensions of every screen, but we know a phone has to fit in a pocket, we know a notebook can’t be narrower than its keyboard.

Responsive design may simply be an idea that’s further ahead of its time that we realise, and once tools like CSS variables, and container-queries are implemented, design on the web will become diverse once again.

Should You Know When Planning A Website Redesign

Like any good investment, your website needs to be proactively managed. It’s not just about keeping the content up to date, but it is also about bringing the technology and design up to date to meet the needs of your business and your customers.
When is a website redesign needed? In general most companies redesign their website every 2 years, and rebuild their website every 5 years.

KEY DRIVERS FOR A WEBSITE REDESIGN:
The website looks old and dated
It doesn’t reflect the business direction
It looks terrible on mobile devices
It doesn’t convert any sales or leads
It is hard to navigate and find information quickly
It takes too long to load
It is not easy to update the content
It is not user friendly
Check your Google Analytics data for signs that your website needs help. If you have low repeat visits, high bounce rates and low average time of site – then something isn’t working. Check the technology data to see how your website is performing on different browsers and mobile types. It is also advisable to ask a professional to perform a website analysis and propose recommendations on how to make your website work better for you.

PROS OF WEBSITE REDESIGNS
A fresh design gives the impression that your business is dynamic and growing
You move with the times, and your website is attractive and easy to use on mobile devices
Your website works harder for you with new functionality such as social media integration, a blog, forums, e-commerce, contact forms and more
Your users are happier when they can find what they want quickly and easily
You save money, because you can easily maintain and update the website content yourself
Your website will be more search engine friendly
You can gain a competitive advantage over your competitors by captivating the online market

NEGATIVES OF WEBSITE REDESIGNS & HOW TO OVERCOME THEM
Regular users of your website will be see a different looking site, and may take a while to get used to it. To overcome this, it is important to consider the user experience in the design – what information do they need? What action do they need to take? Make it easy for people to find what they want in 3 clicks or less. You can also work with your designer to find a new design that is implemented over time so as not to confuse your users so much.

When you redesign a website, your website page URL’s will often change, and this will have an impact on your SEO power. To combat this, a SEO expert can inform the search engines where your old URLs have moved to, and minimise loss in ranking and traffic by preserving your highest performing pages. Make it easy for search engines to find your new pages by submitting a site map to the major search engines.

Website rebuilds will require resources such as time and money. It is important to factor in website maintenance and redesigns every 2 – 5 years and treat your website as a growing part of your business. To keep costs feasible, it’s important to choose the right developer that understands your business vision and has the skills and expertise to make the website redesign happen without unforeseen costs and delays.

Overall, keeping on top of how your website design is performing is an important part of making sure it meets your business goals online. There are powerful advantages to be gained in terms happier customers, better functionality, and a competitive advantage over your competitors. There are some major areas to look out for, but with proper planning and the right web design team in place, these negatives can be turned into positives.