How many times have you visited a website and found the content to be a hot jumbled mess coupled with broken links and pages which don’t match what you were looking for?
What do you do?
Yes… that’s right. Chances are you’ve moved away to a different website.
If that’s your website that the user has just navigated away from, then you may have just lost a customer, potentially for life.
Having a website that has these problems also causes further issues regarding your ranking and standing on the search engines, who use factors such as page views, click through rate and the time spent on a page as part of their ranking algorithms.
Users want websites that are clear, simple to navigate and for the information that they are after to be provided to them in a way that is easy for them to understand.
But Why Have A Website At All?
It’s only a little over twenty years ago that websites, in their general form as we have now didn’t even exist. The speed of growth of the internet has been amazing, and the possibilities that it has opened up, not just for commercial use has been nothing short of astounding.
Yet even today, some businesses don’t have a website at all. And yet, having one opens up so many possibilities for a business, as it allows you to:
- Have a presence online, where 91% of all searches for products, services and information now start
- Allows your company to be found 24 hours per day, from anywhere in the world
- You can sell your products and services to companies and people looking for them online
- You can easily tell who customers who you are and what you do
- Easy portal to allow you to communicate with customers
- A way to find new customers at a low cost
- Easy to display your full range of products or services, which is sometimes difficult in a bricks and mortar location
- Low maintenance – you could (if you wanted to) set the website up and do no further work to it
- Is the primary way most businesses are found
As you can see from just these simple statistics above, having a website may be the most important thing to have when it comes to getting your business found and finding new potential customers.
But even if you do have a website, there are other important aspects to understand, including:
- Understanding the importance of how users search
- Understanding search intent – i.e. the reasons why users search and what the are looking for
- Where users are searching
- The design and structure of your website
The how, why, what and where are all covered on this website through other posts in my blog. But in this post, we’re focusing on the design and what elements are key when it comes to building your website, and providing the user the very best experience you can.
In modern websites, there are two key elements when it comes to design – User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). Here we’re going to look at each in turn and how they impact website usage, customer interaction and, ultimately, how they impact the success of your website.
It’s important to understand though that UX and UI are interconnected – if you’re thinking about your website at all then the chances are you are thinking about both aspects at the same time without realising it.
Still confused between UX and UI? This handy image should give you a clearer view!
UX (User Experience)
What does user experience mean?
When it comes to user experience, consider this to be similar to the plans of a house. When the architect begins to design the plans, they need to understand how people are going to move from room to room. It’s about understanding what each room is actually for, and how each room is constructed and designed.
In simple terms, it’s about creating great design. And this is exactly the same when we’re talking about website design.
UX is more focused on the design elements and more to do with the intangibles – having an understanding of the user experience will create a more fluid and easier to use site. So thinking about and understand how a customer who has come to your site will get from a to b, how they will interact within the site itself and the reasons they are there in the first place.
A good UX builder will put themselves in the shoes of the customer. They will ask what the customer is visiting your site for, and build a strategy for delivering that.
Key elements of UX include:
- Research – be asking questions, finding answers and getting opinions a UX specialist will get a better understand of what you are hoping to achieve. Knowing the business goals of the site from the owners is essential, as is delivering content to the visitors which will provide value and give them a better understanding of your product or service in a meaningful way.
- Structure and navigation – users want to get to information quickly and easily. They want to be clearly shown the way without any confusing directions. Keeping site structures simple, and the information they are looking within a couple of clicks is consider good design, with pages that are thought-out and consistent in their structure.
- Providing the right information – users will visit sites for a variety of reasons, and having a better understanding of the reasons why will help with design. If 5% of your customers are there to learn about a product (such as the in-depth ingredients) whilst the other 95% are there to purchase, then cater for the 95% first – shown quality images of the product with content around the reasons why they should be buying it.
User Interface (UI)
What does user interface mean?
User interface is more focused on the physical design elements you see on the screen. Having consistent layouts between pages for example, the use of fonts and colours, the way that headings are placed and the use of visual aids such as videos and images all make for great user interface.
With the introduction of mobile browsing, it also means that your sites have to be viewable across a range of platforms, screen sizes and designs.
Providing great user interface means that the customer is more likely to feel engaged with the content, especially if it’s a form where the content is easy to read and simple to understand. Disjointed colour palettes and page content that’s difficult to comprehend are factors which can turn customers away.
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid
When creating web design Southport, I like to keep all my sites as simple and easy as possible – it creates a better user experience and reduces those factors which can have a negative effect on your rankings such as bounce rate (i.e. the s peed that users navigate away from your site) and time spent on page.