What makes a website successful? Besides the product or service it’s selling, it’s the site’s utility and usability that make it a winner versus an eye-catching visual design. Keeping this in mind, we’ll reveal several UX design principles to implement when creating a website so you can hook users and keep them coming back for more.
How many times have you visited a website with a poor user experience? Whether you were reading the news, trying to enjoy some entertainment, or trying to purchase a product, that poor user experience may have stopped you in your tracks. And it almost certainly kept you from ever returning, as there are plenty of competitors in today’s crowded online market.
It’s important to remember such experiences if you’re a developer or designer, as you need to create websites with the user in mind. The following tips will help you achieve that user-centric goal to ensure you and your client remain profitable.
Editor’s note: Be sure to check out our article on the best UX design tools for web developers and designers.
Effective UX Design Principles to Follow
What does a user want when they visit a website? What are they looking for? Answering those questions before you begin can make your job as a developer much easier.
Get Into the User’s Head
Here are some insights as to how users think and what they seek when surfing a site:
- Even if your site doesn’t offer an actual product they can buy, users tend to act like customers. They glance at the page, scan for a few seconds (or less), and click on the first thing that resembles what they came for.
- Users have no problem backing out of a site within seconds if it does not meet their expectations.
- High-quality content that builds instant credibility can make users more likely to “put up with” design flaws and even advertisements. In short, content is king.
- Users scan and look for points that help them quickly proceed through the entire page’s content without digesting all of the details.
- Users seek instant gratification. Their impatience will lead them to go to an alternative site if they feel cognitively overloaded or overwhelmed.
- The “how” is more important than the “why.” Keeping in tune with their desire for instant gratification, users are less likely to read through tons of information and seek something usable and straightforward instead.
- Control is essential to users, and they don’t like surprises. If your site is loaded with pop-ups or has links that open in new windows, the user will feel like they lack control.
Keep It Simple
The last thing your site should do is increase someone’s stress. They don’t want to use a ton of brainpower when browsing. In fact, they probably don’t want to use any brainpower at all, which is why keeping everything self-explanatory and obvious is a must.
As you create a site, make it a goal to erase any question marks. In other words, make sure your visitor does not have to weigh any alternatives or create a list of pros and cons in their head. If so, you’re more likely to lose them.
How can you put the “keep it simple” trip into practice? Ensure that the site architecture and navigation are intuitive. Make it easy to get from point A to point B. Also, make the links easy to distinguish and easily clickable.
Make the Site Scannable
As mentioned, users like to scan and not read. To make your site scannable, include content that catches the eye to the point that they’ll instantly want to dive deeper into it. Many sites achieve this goal by including visuals and infographics that convert more complex data into something easily digestible.
Focus Their Attention
What’s your goal? What do you want the user to do when visiting the site. Once you figure this out, focus their attention towards that goal, whether it’s clicking a specific link, entering an email address, etc.
You have to make it 100 percent obvious what the reader should do once they hit your site.
If you have a main action button, make it stand out from the rest. Don’t bombard them with a bunch of different options at once. Doing so will overwhelm, confuse, and irritate them to the point that they’ll hit the Back button and leave.
Keep Design Clear and Consistent
In keeping with other UX design tips in this list, uncomplicate things by staying consistent regarding your visuals, colors, site behaviors, and more. Your interface should be self-explanatory and not pull any punches, which makes it much easier to use.
Creativity Isn’t Always Ideal
Some UI patterns are used everywhere for a reason. If they work elsewhere, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Chances are, users are familiar with such patterns, so when they see them on your site, they’ll know precisely what must be done to get where they want to go.
Examples of implementing this tip on your site include putting any login access on the upper right of the page, making links stand out, etc.