Sure, designing an awesome website that impresses everyone from the hippest graphic designer to your grandma is a cool feat, but does it mean anything if it makes for a lousy user experience?
Web design encompasses much more than just words and fancy images on a screen. In today’s digital marketing world, effective web design requires a process that begins with meticulous research and ends with figuring out buggy code that is botching the functionality you want.
User experience lies at the center of all this. Knowing how a visitor will interact with your website should be the driving-factor behind just about every decision you make in the design process. The location of your call-to-action button, your color scheme, the design of your nav bar and how optimize your site across devices will all be decided based on user experience.
So how do you create a user experience that will lower bounce rates and increase conversions? Here are 3 web design tips to keep in mind when working on your website (or to pass on to your designer).
- Know your audience. Before you can create a positive user experience, you first have to know who will be visiting your site. This usually requires dedicating some time to researching your particular market.
- Determine your objectives
- Make a hypothesis based on assumptions
- FIll in the gaps with your own knowledge
- Gather data
- Synthesize, or answer the questions you’ve asked
Compile this research and repeat the process as you see fit. Once you’ve conducted some research, you can start focusing on user-centered design.
- Know what you want to accomplish. Before diving into the design, try coming up with what you want to achieve from your website. The best way to do this is to have a primary goal, followed by two or three secondary goals.
Your primary goal might be something like to sell merchandise directly from your site if you’re managing an e-commerce platform, or maybe it’s to simply to let your potential customers know where your business is located and how they can reach you by phone or social media. A secondary goal may be to get your visitors to sign up for an email newsletter or to go like your Facebook page.
The rest of your design will be centered around your primary and secondary goals, so make sure they’re well thought out and research based.
- Don’t put mobile design on the back burner. It’s 2016. A large portion – maybe even more than half – of your traffic will come from mobile devices. Designers are no longer stuck with working with desktop-friendly designs; it’s now an equal emphasis between desktop and mobile.
Not only is it important to have your site be mobile friendly for an enhanced user experience, but Google will actually penalize websites that aren’t deemed mobile friendly. Check out this blog post to know how you can check your site and make sure the folks at Google consider your site to be mobile friendly.
We highly suggest using responsive web design when creating your website. This means your site will change depending on the screen size used to display it. Responsive design has taken over the web design world and most designers wouldn’t consider any other way to make their sites mobile friendly. This can be accomplished by using grids, either by creating your own or using a framework like Bootstrap, and/or with CSS media queries.
Check the Kite Media Blog again soon for a more in-depth article on making your site mobile friendly.
Web design isn’t just about writing code and fiddling around in Photoshop (although don’t get us wrong, we do a fair amount of that too). When you’re able to design a visually appealing site that is also centered on your user, your hip designer friend, your grandma and your user will all be impressed.