Top 8 UX secrets we think about when creating websites
User experience (UX) is important because it focuses on people's needs.
Well thought out UX makes a website easy to use and sometimes gives people a delightful experience. As a result, it is more likely to keep people loyal to the product or brand.
A meaningful experience allows you to define customer journeys on your website. These pathways are most conducive to helping people navigate the site easily but at the same time can contribute to business success, and ultimately boost your bookings. For example, a painless and easy-to-use website booking process converts to more sales. Simple.
As a website marketing company, UX is extremely important to us. Here’s our top eight tips on how to delight people using your website and even make them smile.
1. Know your customer
As a designer, it’s important to design how people are likely to interact with your website. Not everybody searches for information in the same way, and it’s not just about statistics. We humans behave on impulse and emotion.
It’s essential to explore customer profiles and stories and take time to observe or listen to how guests navigate around your website. It’s also necessary to test on the move, away from the office, as people search and book as they travel.
2. White space and flow
White space is so valuable for website design and designing for mobile. It allows users to process the information concisely, guiding them through the journey.
We like to say, ‘allow the eyes to breath’, the human brain can only digest so much at any one time.
With web design you have less than three seconds to capture your people's attention and for them to decide whether the site is for them.
3. Never put emotion before logic
People often mistake an attractive looking website as being easy to use. The function should also be considered when building a new website.
Never distract people from their final goal or task as this can leave users frustrated. People will always notice items near the top of the page (above the fold in UX-speak), so it’s vital that your main call to actions are prominent.
4. Extra effects for the sake of it
It’s great to see animation, visual effects and image carousels on a website, but beware, overdoing it can distract and slow down your web speed. Don’t overload your design with flashy buttons or video content. Simple touches are much more engaging and will help support your brand personality.
Fact: more than three seconds of loading time can result in a 55% bounce rate.
Tips: Allow people to skip or don’t show video if they are returning guests and keep carousels to a minimum if at all – most people stop viewing slides after the fourth image.
5. Content is king
People might visit your site because it looks pretty, but they’ll return because of the quality of the content. Focus on who you’re writing for.
You can’t design a printed brochure without content; this is the same for websites. Make sure you are spending quality time on your website content by using an experienced copywriter – they will help you understand content hierarchy, think about search engine optimisation and create content for mobile-friendly viewing.
Excellent website copy includes clear heading and sub-headings, smaller paragraphs and short sentences, Call-to-actions and graphics. Be concise with what you want to say. Users will take time to read content as long as the content is relevant.
Call-to-action (CTA) should work to draw the reader’s eye, on the copy side, the CTAs should be clear and concise, and on the design side; they should be bold and vibrant.
It’s essential for designers to be working with real content rather than dummy/ Latin text. This enables them to create a design around the content hierarchy and important marketing messages. It helps to see and understand how the content people are engaging with will be represented. Words and design are fundamentally intertwined, and to work effectively, should always be considered at the same time as part of the planning process.
6. Hicks law - less is more
If you don’t know who Hicks is – it’s time you do. Hick's law, or the Hick–Hyman law, named after British and American psychologists’ William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman. The law describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision, as a result of the possible choices he or she has available. Increasing the number of options, increases the decision time logarithmically – leading to choice procrastination.
This law comes is particularly pertinent for website design and hotel marketing. Think about the choices your customers are deciding – from offers, packages, room types and menus. The more choice, the less likely they will make a final decision.
Less is more. Think about choice within your website navigation, the calls to action you are asking. Each page should have one primary purpose to complete the website journey. Too many calls to action and navigation choices can cause visitors to become confused and ultimately leave your website.
7. Don’t interrupt!
Never stop a website visitor from carrying out a goal they have set out to do. For example, opening up a dialogue box without a visitor request is not a good idea and is just plain annoying.
We are seeing more and more pop up and pop out functionality appear on websites. These are great as a marketing tool but must be used sparingly. You can set time limits and visual limits on how often a visitor will need to interact with such technology. Your design and development team will be able to advise on what is possible.
8. Make your website accessible
The fun part has started, you’re picking out colours, fonts and images for your new website, but have you considered people that are hard of sight or may have colour blindness?
Fact: in the UK it’s estimated that 3 million people suffer with color blindness.
Making your website accessible for all is extremely important if you want to boost those online bookings.
Pick fonts that are easy to read and have good leading and line spacing. Make sure the colours you choose have contrast next to each other and that your calls to action are a different colour altogether. Remember cool colours will sit in the background, whereas warm tones will come to the front. It’s about finding the right balance. Try squinting at the design to get an idea of what is genuinely standing out on the page.
With all these tips in mind, it’s worth recapping on the main purpose of UX, to make your website easy-to-use or even delightful or entertaining for people. If you get this right then then business success is sure to follow.