Website design has come a long way since the dawn of the internet. Instead of plain sitemaps with links, there are now graphics, colors, designs and other visual elements all intended to improve the user experience. However, designing a website with the user in mind is often more difficult than novice web builders anticipate.
Whether you’re building your first website or trying to update a current one, knowing the principles of UX design (user experience) can help you create a site people enjoy using. Let’s look at five ways you can make your website easy to navigate for your user.
1.) Stick with What They Know
Even though you’ll be tempted, you don’t have to go above and beyond to make something new on your website. You can (and should) differentiate your website in other ways. Instead, when it comes to UX design, it’s actually best to stick with the same layout and functionality as your competitors.
This is because users already expect this layout and know how to easily navigate it. If they have to learn new thought processes and workflows to use your website, they’ll likely just find another website that makes more sense to them.
2.) Understand the User’s Needs
This can be a tricky task for web developers and designers, who may never interact with the website’s ideal user. To close this gap, developers can use low code solutions to bring stakeholders to the project. This provides a means for collaboration and feedback throughout the design process.
Once you understand the user’s needs, you can prioritize the design of the website to suit them. For example, if users just need quick information, you can put quick links in the header of the website. Or if they want in-depth product information, use product pictures and links so they can easily find what they’re looking for.
3.) Ask Questions
Assuming you’ve made the right design choice is never a good idea when you’re designing for other users. Many UX design experts advise their fellow web designers to “question everything.” No decisions you make should be blindly accepted. You should always consider whether or not it will be helpful to the user.
Some questions you can ask yourself include:
- Is this easy for the user to find?
- Is this easy for the user to access?
- Is this easy for the user to utilize?
4.) Keep It Simple
There’s nothing more frustrating than entering a website that’s impossible to navigate. The menu is too long, the links are impossible to find, the homepage is cluttered and you have no idea how to get out of the mess aside from leaving the website altogether. Cluttering sites with unnecessary designs and information is the antithesis of UX design.
Instead, you want to keep your website as simple as possible. Only include what’s absolutely necessary for your user in your header and on the page copy. You can put all those extra links and resources at the bottom of the page, in what some call “the junk drawer.” This makes the site easier to navigate and thus improves the user experience.
5.) Embrace White Space
Part of simplicity in design is using white space wisely. Some designers want to ensure every inch of their canvas is covered when, in reality, users need white space to help them synthesize information. The breaks in design and space around images help them focus on one element at a time instead of feeling overwhelmed.
Use white space throughout your design to lighten the feel of your website and make it more inviting to users. The more balance you have between designs and empty space, the more people will enjoy exploring your website.
UX design is a niche field that’s growing in popularity as website customization becomes more and more complex. Use these tips to optimize your own site for the user experience and see the benefits of higher traffic and lower bounce rates.