Although the word “design” in conjunction with a website might make you think about all of the visuals and how they all work to draw in an audience, most of the success a website has comes from the actual usability and utility of the site – this is what helps keep a frustrated audience from quickly exiting your website, after all. Usability is the difference between a user spending a few minutes browsing a variety of pages on your site and abandoning their cart in a matter of moments, which is why this journey must be made as streamlined as possible for them. What is usability, though? In this article, we take a look at what usability means for business owners and their website.
Where to get started with your website design
Although there are quite a few elements that go into professional web page design, one of the most complex to truly understand is what makes a customer tick. There are a few primary principles that go into high quality website usability design, but most of these stem back to developing a fundamental understanding of how users actually think and their related patterns of behavior. Generally, users will react similarly online to how they react in the real world – generally, they will quickly scan pages (as they would scan objects at a store) until they stumble across the thing they’re looking for. If the link they want is found, they will quickly click on it – if not, they’ll leave the page very quickly. Fortunately, there are a few things that can keep a user on a page for a little bit longer. If the website offers content that is obviously high quality, they will be able to forgive any glaring issues with content (if for only for a few moments). Generally, though, users will follow their intuition, regardless of how good or bad it might be, and website designers have to model their designs around this notion.
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A few design tips to get you started
When you’re arranging information on your website, the less is more mantra applies in most situations. Rather than using a crazy design that you find aesthetically pleasing, users coming to your website expect to find the information presented there to be easily digestible. This means that information shouldn’t be hard to find, dense or sparse in the name of visually pleasing design. It’s important to remember that simplicity should always be your priority. To demonstrate this point, pairing neat text with enough white space between paragraphs to separate points will ensure that readers can absorb all of the information you present with ease. While on the topic of writing, it should be noted that what you present should never be fluff. Getting straight to business (its why people are on your website, after all), is what users want, so you should deliver it to them. To this effect, ensure that you use short and concise sentences that utilize plain language and arranged in a highly scannable layout for maximum approachability.
Users don’t make obvious choices
It should be clear that when users visit website, they don’t necessarily make optimal decisions. Using information in clear, digestible ways is often the only way to maximize the chance that users will not just scan over important information and miss important details. If you implement a few of the above website design tips, you’ll be well on your way to enticing people to stay!