Website Design – Functionality Versus User Experience

A usable website offers a stellar user experience. Whether you run a company blog or a personal website, providing an intuitive layout with content that is easy to read and understand should be a top priority. Improving usability increases the number of people who navigate to multiple pages of your website, lowering your bounce rate. While there is no exhaustive list of best website design practices, the following tips will get you on your way to creating a website with a high level of usability.

Responsive design

Thanks to the rapid growth in mobile internet use, responsive web design has skyrocketed. A responsive design adjusts the website format automatically for a given device. This means that your website will function the way it should whether a user is on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Responsive designs are both useful and versatile, allowing for minimalist designs with no distracting elements. In order to deliver a fantastic user experience, you must keep your load times lightning fast. Design your site with the responsive layout in mind, avoiding useless absolute positioning, needlessly complex divs, and showy Flash and Javascript components.

Intuitive navigation

When users can’t find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds, they leave the site. In many instances, they never come back. Develop a clear navigation structure with page elements arranged in a grid fashion. A random scattering of page elements may look artistic, but it’s often just more confusing. The hamburger menu, which is a button with three parallel horizontal lines, has gained widespread popularity in recent years. While somewhat controversial, its mainstream use has made the function easy to recognize. Hidden menus have also become quite popular, largely due to the fact that they are an ideal way to save screen space, which is critical for mobile friendly layouts.

Carefully selected photos and other visuals

A recent marketing test revealed that photos of real people out-performed their stock photo counterparts by 95 percent. Many companies opt to use stock photos because they’re inexpensive and readily available, saving time and money. Resist the temptation and use photos that are meaningful to your company. Selective use of charts and graphs can also be very effective. Consider replacing or reinforcing long blocks of text with charts or graphs to boost user engagement. The visuals that you use should always aid or support the text. If you don’t have a relevant image for a page, simply go without a visual to avoid distracting users from the content at hand with something meaningless.

Consistent text and colors

Using the same colors, fonts, text sizes, and element placements on each page creates a natural flow for your website. When users grow accustomed to seeing the same design elements for your company’s content, they’re more likely to recognize future content, such as Facebook advertisements, before they even see the name of the company. Most websites have three key page layouts: a homepage, a content page, and a form page. Using consistent elements within these layouts will help users navigate the site seamlessly.

As you structure your website design, keep the needs and desires of your intended audience at the forefront of your decisions. Many people get so caught up in their own needs and desires that they forget about the audience for their content. Balancing the user experience with the functionality of your website enables users to find the information that they need in a method that is straightforward and engaging for them.

PEL Web Design

Website Design, Website Development, population and launch are the foundation of every internet marketing strategy.  Successful accomplishment of these elements requires an understanding of a client’s targeted customer base personas, the website standards used by Google to evaluate and rank websites and how visitors interact with a given website experience.

PEL works with each client to achieve the client’s desired look and feel for their website.  The design phase is similar to an architectural design and drawing creation phase with no simultaneous construction.  Establishing the look and feel of a website is the critical first step in website design.  It ensures the client’s brand is adequately reflected and enhances the visitor’s experience after reaching the website.  The look and feel of a website is much more than color scheme, logos and tag-lines.  A successful look and feel includes these elements and the information layout on each web page that supports an organized representation of the structure of the client’s business.  This information layout, coupled with the client’s business structure, establishes the architectural structure of the website.  It establishes how the website will be evaluated by search engines (e.g., Google) and the viewer experience that best connects to the client’s goods and services.  The look and feel also captures the elements of the client’s business that are of special interest to the customer base being targeted by the website.  Identifying and capturing these special interest elements are key to encouraging visitor engagement with the website.  Every aspect of the client’s website, including the design, should reflect and connect with the persona(s) of the client’s targeted customer base.  As such, it is extremely important that the client identifies these personas and communicates them to PEL as early as possible in the website design phase.  All of the elements that go into designing the client’s website are unique to the client and the targeted audience.  This effort requires a great deal of input from the client that de-emphasizes their personal preferences and focuses more on the website user.

How good is your online presence?

Contact PEL TODAY!! We will gladly perform a free website and online marketing evaluation to let you know where you are and what we can do to improve your online presence and effectiveness. Get a Quote, Request Information or call (806) 680-2735.