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When unsure, ask yourself these questions: “Does this element or page add value to the website?” If your answer is no...remove it! 👎🏽 “By deleting this, does it change, distort, or mislead the message?” If you say yes…include it! 👍🏽
Have you ever entered a large department store knowing exactly what you needed, but the products and shelves are organized so poorly that you can’t locate the item? You end up leaving the store, and worse, not even getting what you came for! That’s what poor UX feels like; navigating through a website and not being able to find the info you need, which leads you to closing the window and looking for solutions elsewhere.
Oftentimes, it’s easier to point out the flaws than to notice the good—and that’s what we’ll talk about. We’ll cover the basic things to avoid when designing a frictionless user experience, and then talk about best practices to observe. By the way, friction is anything that adds unnecessary layers and clicks that disrupt a smooth website experience. We’ll take this slowly (and in layman’s terms) so beginners can also follow along with ease.
What makes a bad website experience?
Unnecessary information, elements, pages, or animations. When unsure, ask yourself these questions: “Does this element or page add value to the website?” If your answer is no...remove it! 👎🏽
“By deleting this, does it change, distort, or mislead the message?” If you say yes…include it! 👍🏽
The key is minimalism; the less noise surrounding the website, the easier it is to navigate.
Content on the right side and farther down the page. When you read, you scan from left to right, then top to bottom. The same applies to a website wherein the left and top portions of the page are the most viewed areas. It’s called an “F-shaped” reading pattern. It’s very seldom for visitors to scroll far right or far down to see more information. As a result, the most important details must be located within range of the normal scrolling view to leave the visitor looking for more.
Unhighlighted, essential details. The attention span of an average adult is around eight seconds before they move on. People don’t normally stumble upon your website without purpose. They’re looking for something relevant, so it is important to highlight the messages that you want to get across. Otherwise, you’ll lose them before they are even a customer.
Just like a poorly organized department store, a poorly designed website can lead to missed opportunities for you as well. On the flip side, you should also know what makes a good website experience.
What makes a good website experience?
A potential customer’s journey on your website should go something like this:
Remember, you only have eight seconds to achieve these things, so here’s how to do it well:
Label interactive user interface (UI) elements. Buttons, navigation links, and arrows are crucial in helping customers navigate your website with ease. Make these ever-present on your website and you can never go wrong! These should set the direction and lead customers to where YOU want them to go; is it to your services page, products, cart, or contact form? Be clear!
Minimize typing interactions. Smartphone screens are prone to errors when typing. Optimize your surveys, forms, or questions to limit typing and increase user-friendliness. Free customizable tools like Google Sheets are perfect extensions to your websites if you need them. Other paid tools, like Typeform, are creative additions that maximize white space to put focus on the question.
Use the progress bar and provide feedback. It feels weird to be left hanging……………………….... right? That’s why you have to assure your customers with every action they take on your website. If they’re downloading a free ebook, tool, or template, use a progress bar to keep them updated. Nobody wants to be waiting without uncertainties. If they’re adding items to a cart, changing payment methods, etc., always provide a confirmation for two reasons; 1) To confirm if they’re clicking the correct buttons and 2) to assure they’re not mistakenly changing their settings or purchasing something.
While design and user experience are objective, you can’t deny that BOTH lead to whether a potential customer will engage or be frustrated with your website. The better the UX, the more visitors you will retain for longer periods of time, and the more sales you may close in the long run. If you need some help determining how to improve your website’s user experience, hire a design studio to help you create a responsive website that engages your audience.
We’re Acton Circle, a boutique design agency helping purpose-driven organizations increase their impact. Led by Founder and CEO, Olivia Wheeler, Acton Circle has helped countless change-makers leverage the power of design for social good.Learn more