User experience, or usability, is the most critical aspect of a good website. A brilliant design is the one that enhances usability. In this article, we will explore user experience principles that are aided by a thoughtful design.
Elements of a Good Web Design
There are five factors that one needs to pay attention to when designing a good web experience. These five factors are;
- Placement of information and elements
- Content, Readability, Understanding, and Clarity
- Focus on action
This list is not in any order, and you should keep in mind that all these factors work together. You cannot choose one over the other. All the factors need to be balanced to achieve a brilliant design.
Placement of Information and Elements
The Rule of Thirds
There is a well-known principle that guides how you should place the information on the website. This guidance comes from the world of photography. If you divide the frame into three equal parts horizontally and vertically, you get nine different boxes. The rule of thirds says that the four points that intersect, along with four lines (two vertical and two horizontal), are crucial. Your viewers will naturally focus on these parts. When you place your most essential elements at these places, they will quickly draw your visitors’ focus.
For example, the most important message we want to convey is roughly at the left-top intersection. It immediately draws your attention when you visit our website.
“F” Shaped Movement
Another guideline is to remember the “F” shape. The visitors don’t read or browse your website in a linear fashion. Instead, they follow the “F” pattern, going from the left corner to the right at the top, then going down, then again going right, and then again down. If your elements and message placement follow this pattern, visitors will notice the most critical aspects quickly.
The third element for the placement is navigation. How easy it is for the visitors to move from one piece of information to another related part? How is the flow of information? The navigation design has a significant impact on user experience. Sticking to the tried and tested is an advisable approach when it comes to navigation.
Content, Readability, Understanding, and Clarity
Even if you can grab the visitors’ attention, how clear is your message? Can the visitors understand who you are and what you do without having to overthink? In finding clever titles and tags and bylines, we often forget that simplicity works best when you want to convey an important message.
The readability aspect has many dimensions. Typography, character, and line spacing, line height, and contrast are all crucial elements when it comes to readability. What is also critical is to understand that the visitors usually scan the webpage rather than read it. Only when they find some useful content or the content that they like, they would read further. This aspect is where the titles become vital when writing the content, rather than having a substantial chunk of text, no matter how well-written it is.
Colors and creativity are the primary dimensions when it comes to aesthetics. Of course, there are many other design elements, the balance, symmetry or asymmetry, and animations and a few examples. When done right, the aesthetic and creative details accentuate the website design and overall user experience.
However, being overly creative can have an adverse effect, both on usability and performance. You should consider the website’s needs and context to decide how creative you want to be. When in doubt, err of the safer side.
The attention span of humans is decreasing. Your visitors will not wait too much for your site to load before they turn their attention to something else, even your competitor’s site.
Your site should load fast, both on desktops and mobile devices. A superior design will keep in mind the performance factors while designing the aesthetics and content types. While the website’s technical implementation influences the performance to a great extent, the design makes most of the difference.
Focus on Action
Every website has a purpose. It can make a visitor buy a service or product or inspire them to participate in a charity organization. The websites are a means to an end. They do it by educating the visitors about various facets of the business. But ultimately, you must inspire them to take appropriate action.
Hence, the Call-to-Action (CTA) becomes crucial to your design. A good design is the one that fulfills its purpose. If you can’t inspire the action, your design is not right, no matter how good-looking and creative it might be.
The action is usually a result of the proper implementation of the four factors we described above. When you implement the four elements correctly, it is much easier to convert a visitor to your customer.
Remember that the design is also an evolving phenomenon—the manifestation of the design changes with time, sensitivities, and context. So, you must keep an eye on the changes in external environments. There is also technological evolution that you can leverage to provide even a better design experience to your visitors. And do not forget the inherent scope of improvement that is always there.
If you nurture your design, it will result in ever-increasing usability. Increased usability will result in better conversion. When you have a conversion, the design serves its purpose.