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Principles of exceptional web design and user experience

By Nickson Ratemo

When it comes to web design or re-design, it can be pretty easier to get hung up on the aesthetics. “That blue region doesn’t look good for me…..Wouldn’t be great to have the picture slideshow on the left side of the screen...How about if we had the logo at the bottom of the page?”

The thing is, if you truly want to achieve a certain goal with your website, for example brand awareness, lead generation etc; you will simply need to focus on more than just how your website looks.

web design guidelines

In a world where folks have built millions of websites that means people have millions of options of websites to land on. Therefore your website needs to be user friendly in regards to aspects such us simplicity of user interface, ease of navigation etc.

You could actually spend years studying usability and UX, but for the sake of giving you a jumping off point, we’ve compiled the following list of helpful guidelines to assist you in your next web design project.

Web design guidelines for exceptional User Experience

Simplicity

The look and feel of your website is important, but people don’t come to your website to evaluate how efficient it is. Instead they are there in order to accomplish a certain task or to find a particular piece of information.

Adding unnecessary elements that have no functional purpose will only make it harder for visitors to accomplish their purpose on your website.

Here are a variety of ways you can simplify usability and UX aspects of your site

Color. Don’t use so many colors.

Graphics. Only use them if they are going to help a user accomplish a task on your website.

Typefaces. The typefaces you use should be legible at the very least.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy entails the general arrangement of your website. You website should be arranged in a way that makes a visitor navigate to the most important sections on your website. This principle is actually tied to the principle of simplicity highlighted above.

Remember the absolute purpose of usability and UX is to drive a visitor to perform a desired action all in a way that is natural and enjoyable. By simply adjusting certain aspects of the elements on your site e.g color, or size of certain elements, you can actually structure your website in such a way that visitors are drawn to those elements first.

Navigability

Having a clear navigation on your site is very critical because it makes it a lot easier for visitors to find what they are looking for. Ideally once a visitor gets into your website they should not extensively think on where to click next. Moving from point A to point B on your website should be as painless as possible.

Consistency

In addition to keeping your sites navigation consistent, the overall look and feel throughout your website pages should be consistent. These include elements such as background, color scheme and even the font type and size. These are the general areas where consistency can have a positive impact on your usability and UX.

Accessibility

This basically is how responsive your website is across different device screens. According to comScore statistics tablet consumption grew to about 30% between 2013 and 2015. Internet consumption through smart phones meanwhile was at 78% during the same period.

The idea is in order to improve your website’s user experience it simply needs to be responsive across all devices. Besides responsiveness is a critical ranking element in regards to seo.

Conventionality

These are web conventions people have gotten used to over the years. They play a crucial role in terms of usability or ease of use of your site. They include things like;

  • Having the main navigation at the top horizontally running across the page
  • Having the logo of your company at the top left
  • Having that logo clickable so it directs users to the homepage
  • Having links change color when you hover over them

Credibility

Ultimately, using web design conventions, with clear elements that visitors are familiar with improves your website credibility. Don’t make visitors hunt around for information to find out what they are looking for.

User-Centricity

Your website should be designed with the end user in mind (After all you are creating it for them to use…)

Bottom line;

While all the principles outlined above are a great starting point for a stunning web design, the best thing you can do to improve the usability of your website is by conducting a user test, gather feedback and make changes according to what you have learnt.