UX done right
05 Dec 2021ux/ui
When it comes to building and designing your website it is extremely relevant to think from the user’s perspective. Because ultimately we build the website for them. We optimize layout, design and navigation for them to find their way around easily and - best-case scenario - even enjoy going through our website. For that to happen we need to consider the concept of cognitive load, according to which the mental burden of using a website should be kept to minimum. Doing so prevents the so-called analysis paralysis, which has people unable to take decisions or direct their focus due to one of the following reasons:
- Users are overstimulated
- Users are presented with too many choices
- Users are overloaded with too much information to process
- Users have to think too hard to navigate the site
Hence, people should be presented with just enough information to avoid losing their attention or visit all together. It all comes down to creating such a website that allows people to just intuitively navigate around the website without giving it too much thought. And of course to present them with just the right amount of information needed. How to get there? Here are a couple of principles to stick to.
Limited Number of Options
As a general rule of thumb: be sensible about the amounts of options you offer on your website. And if you do have quite a handful of options, prioritize and structure them in a sensible way. And this can be quite easily done. Let’s say you have a couple of pricing plans for your services, which for obvious reasons you want to show transparently on your website. You could make it easier digestible for your users by either highlighting the most popular option or by adding a description to each plan. Also, try to not overwhelm users with too many CTAs or banners at once. Prioritize what you want to focus on and lead users through a journey on your site.
Arranging visual elements in a structured way that intuitively explains the level of importance is a massive game-changer to a successful user journey. Content should be skimmable - even though we don’t like to admit that our well-thought through content is hardly ever read. Ultimately, users shouldn’t need to read every single line of text, but know exactly where to put their focus on. You achieve that by making use of color patterns, size of an element and typography.
Familiar Design Patterns
You have eight seconds to win a user’s attention. So you better make sure to have an intuitive navigation, use visible buttons and give each element a purpose that is easy to understand. Use the right language to talk to your target audience and try to implement symbols where it makes sense and stick to common design patterns to avoid confusion - or worse, create irrelevancy. Which brings me to the next point.
Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel
When it comes to your website, which should be easy to navigate through, this is not the place to come up with a new language. For some things there is just a best-practice that we should stick to. What I’m trying to say is people know their way around when it comes to specific symbols. The hamburger navigation indicates a drop down menu. A gear symbol indicates the settings. Clicking the logo takes you back to the home page. If you mess with those essential navigation styles you simply end up confusing and frustrating your audience.
A user interface is like a joke - if you have to explain it, it’s not that good.
Consistency and Negative Space
You also want to be consistent in your design. This comes with a certain repetition of element designs and spacings between them. Meaning we don’t want to present the user with dozens of different styles for headings and buttons. And neither do we want our site to just blur into one big thing. That’s what we use negative space, background colors and borders for.
Clear Target Action
Surely every website owner has one target action that is prioritized for the user to carry out. To make this task as actionable as possible we want it to be easily accessible with respect to both, distance to travel and size. This can be achieved by making the main CTA sticky, use one dedicated design especially and place it prominently.