Every element of a website affects a user’s experience, including the web design itself. This makes it imperative for web designers and companies to keep users in mind every step of the way when refreshing their websites or creating new ones.
As you can imagine, this can culminate in a challenging, ongoing struggle between the desire to be creative and the need to be practical. To help you understand how to approach web design from a user’s standpoint, thereby improving your websites overall, it’s important to know the myriad of ways websites affect visitors.
3 Key Ways Users Are Affected by a Website
As soon as someone lands on your website, they have several key experiences that fall under categories of the:
- The visual experience goes beyond whether or not the site is aesthetically appealing, even though that’s absolutely critical. Users are also reacting to the ease of the site in terms of being able to understand its layout. Without intuitive navigation, it can be frustrating for users to know if they are in the right place, and, if so, how to get the information they desire.
- Let no one tell you that people aren’t experiencing emotions when they visit a site. Good websites capitalize on the psychology of colors, layouts and visual cues to make sure users feel at home. Without an emotional connection, users are more likely to abandon a website or avoid taking call-to-action hints.
- Every person should leave your website more informed than when they arrived. The only way to make that happen is with engaging, trustworthy, immediate content and imagery. Most users are going to skim through the landing page, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take away a host of information from their short visit.
With these elements in mind (visual, emotional and educational connections), you can set out to make a website that’s not only attractive, but also pragmatic.
How to Boost the User Experience With Web Design
It’s possible to boost a user’s overall experience with your website by focusing on a few key design areas:
- The Navigation. Navigating a site should be so simple that it takes very little effort. The moment you make your user feel confused or irritated, you have lost a touch point — and possibly a return visitor or buyer. Think about your website as a map with easy routes from A to Z. It shouldn’t be a mission for a sleuth to solve, but rather a natural progression that leads the user deeper into the site.
- The Photos. Professional imagery can play a powerful role on websites. Most professional web designers are moving away from the era of stock photography and investing in high-quality images of their team members, products, services, clients, and more. Users tend to respond to seeing people like themselves in photos, so keep your target audience in mind when organizing photo shoots for web images.
- The Content Organization. No one reads websites the way they read books. They’re looking for snippets of info that can be gleaned quickly with an eye scan that goes up and down, rather than left and right. Make the most of your content by breaking it up periodically with headlines, and try to be concise without giving too little.
- The Mobile Version. Responsive websites are needed for exceptional user experiences. If you are creating a website design, be sure it looks good on all mobile device screens. Test it first before making it live. That way, you can clean up any bugs.
- The Satisfaction. How will users feel when they explore your website? Satisfied that they are getting what they wanted? Your aim should be for users to leave feeling like the website was designed and written by experts in their fields. This creates a better brand experience and will also likely increase social sharing, bookmarking, and return visits.
Without users, a website is little more than a series of frames, text, and pictures in a virtual setting. Your users are absolutely essential for your survival among the jungle of millions of other websites. Make coming to your webpages a pleasant experience, and you’ll gain the rewards and advantages.