So, you’ve got a solid concept of what you want your website to be: Your vision is clear, you’ve got a clear goal and mission statement, and a general idea of your target audience. That’s perfect! You are more than halfway there! Knowing the purpose of your website and the needs it will be fulfilling is essential to the foundation of building a website. Once those elements are in line, you need to iron out the details of how you want your website to look and the experience you want to create.
When it comes to web design, the user experience is strongly influenced by how aesthetics and ease-of-use interact with an individual’s psychological state. The top ten most important factors affecting the user experience of your future website include (in no particular order):
- Mobile compatibility
- Alignment of text, images, and advertisements
- Congestion of advertisements
- Ease of use/functionality
- Theme colors
- White space
- Storytelling and audience engagement
- Call to action
- Contact information
When all these elements are balanced well, your audience will feel more welcome and at ease when exploring your site, leading to increased activity as well as growth in incoming web traffic. Here we’ll walk through how and why each of these elements is so important to web design.
- Mobile Compatibility
It is rare to find someone that surfs the internet either exclusively or by a majority on a device other than a tablet or cell phone. Websites need to be able to rapidly adapt to mobile versus desktop viewers in terms of graphics, text, and site responsiveness. Too many times I’ve personally experienced a website that is hopelessly incompatible with my smartphone. User interface issues such as a text layout that doesn’t resize for a mobile screen, leaving me unable to read half of the website’s content, can make some so displeased that they never want to visit your website again.
Consider what you would want if you were to visit your website as a reader or shopper. Would you be happy with the ease of use or end up wanting to throw your phone against the wall? Ensuring a dynamic, responsive mobile experience will improve your site’s performance with your audience and contribute to positive rapport.
- Alignment of Text and Other Web Content
As I touched on when discussing mobile compatibility, text alignment is one of those subtle factors in web design that, on first thought, doesn’t seem to matter much. Once you experience a poor layout on one of your favorite websites, however, you’ll know how silently aggravating it can be.
For example, a website that I run aligns all my text in the center of the page. When it comes to HTML codes for affiliate ads, however, those are left-justified, leaving an unexpected blank space after text content with a strangely distracting banner of a product that I see in the corner of my eye. It may not be a big deal at the start, but once you see it enough on one or more pages, it is something that begins to gnaw at your digital experience.
- Congestion of Advertisements
That’s the perfect segue into knowing just how many ads you should integrate into your content. If there are too many – especially in the form of pop-ups! – it can be overwhelming and highly distracting, pulling your audience away from your content and leading their eyes all over the page. Again, think of what you would want to see in a website and determine whether it is appropriate to place the number of ads you may be considering.
- Ease of Use/Functionality
This function acts as an extension of site responsiveness. Make sure that visitors to your site can easily interact with it. Do you have commenting options, social media sharing buttons, or personalized experiences based on user input? Help your audience to have the best experience by streamlining any process of entering information or otherwise interacting with your content.
This is a big one. If your site users can’t find their way outside of the homepage to your blog or shop, then what are they going to do? Leave. They’re going to leave. Don’t force your audience to engage their Sherlock senses just so they can read an article or two from you. Make site navigation abundantly clear by laying out a Menu:
These are the essentials, so feel free to add to the navigation menu as you please. The point is not only to generate traffic to your website but to keep users there for as long as possible to consume the content you worked so hard to produce!
- Theme Colors
put, the simpler the better. While you may feel your Easter Egg colored site is perfectly pleasing to the eye, most website developers would agree that not using colors on each end of the spectrum makes the most sense. Keep the theme attractive but not too bright or too dark. Some research into colors and what effect they have on those who view them can help you make your choice. For instance, some colors evoke a sense of warmth, others friendliness, and still others may incite people to purchase…it’s worth some investigation, but in general, stay away from drastic choices.
- White Space
This is a very difficult one because you don’t want to leave too much white space, or it becomes the web equivalent to “dead air” on the radio. Leave enough gaps in between blocks of text, ads, widgets, or photos and video to give your readers time to breathe, per se. Too much content stuffed too closely together can leave someone feeling either overwhelmed or unable to comfortably experience your content.
- Storytelling and Audience Engagement
Whether you are selling products and services or providing web content alone (in the form of video, audio, photos or text), having a good story is what draws people in and gets them coming back for more. If it means getting testimonials of your product from customers or providing tutorials with some anecdotes worked into it, by all means, do it! You need to keep your audience engaged and anticipating what they will experience next on your platform.
- Call to Action
Now that you’ve got everyone comfortable with using your site, familiar with your web page navigation and hooked on your killer storytelling and writing skills, what next?
The best way to get your audience to stick around and visit again after leaving your site is to provide a call to action. This way, not only will they come back, but your content will likely pop up in their minds even when they’re not visiting your site. A great example of this is the Humane Society of the United States. They post heart-wrenching stories all the time, but their base does not stay lost in sadness. Rather, they come back and support even more because HSUS called them to action in the form of donations, supporting local shelters, etc.
What can your audience do in or apply to their personal lives that will help them to incorporate your content into their routine?
- Contact Information
There is nothing more annoying than being fully invested in the content and purpose of a company or individual only to find that there is no way to reach out to them. Providing your contact information to your readers will significantly boost rapport and help to build a relationship of trust and open communication between yourself and those who use your site.
Now that you know a little more about what to include and how to include it on your site, it’s time to get to work! Good luck on building a site that includes at least a few of the tips above and we wish you much success!
How does your website stack up when it comes to generating sales?
Leave us a comment below with your top tips!
(NOTE: Want to know how to do it? Need a step-by-step system to transform your website from a simple brochure to a lead generating machine? See BCP Digital Marketing’s free 47-Point Homepage Checklist and get a BONUS homepage design template by clicking here.)
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