For a lot of business owners – or anyone who wants or needs a website for professional purposes – a crisp, clean, eye-catching design is only necessary to reflect nicely on their brand or personal image: if the site looks good, we look good. Hey, we get it – it’s 2013, the days of amateur design are all but done, and an eye-catching, well-functioning website has become a basic expectation of everyone who has a reason to own some online real estate.
But there’s another layer to good design that’s just as important as the aesthetic angle, although it’s taken into consideration much less often: a positive user experience.
Those who take user experience into account when commissioning a website will have a distinct advantage over those who focus solely on making their brand look good. Professional design will only impress people for so long; the second they get an indication that browsing is complicated and confusing, or that there’s no simple way to search for something specific, or that they have to jump through hoops just to find your contact information – the list goes on – you’ve lost them.
If you’re working with a designer or developer, you need to make it clear that you want to be as straightforward as possible for people to navigate your site and find what they’re looking for without any hassle. Here are some factors to look for in order to make user experience much more positive:
- Easy Navigation / Proper Organization: Have your products and services organized in a menu on your home page that’s easy to spot right away. One of the best ways to ensure this is made as simple as possible is to have a “drop-down menu” at the top of your page.
- Contact Information Easily Visible: Some users may visit your website and want to get in touch with you right away. To make this as easy as possible, make sure your phone number, email address and/or link to fill out a contact form are noticeable and easy to spot right away.
- Focus On Your Prime Product/Services/Offers: If you offer a wide range of different products and services, you may be tempted to try and display as many of them as possible on your home page. This is more likely to overwhelm and confuse users than get them interested. Instead, try to focus on 2 – 3 aspects of what you offer, whether it’s your best-sellers, something for which you may want to generate more interest, or a special offer you have going on.
- Got a Blog? Make Sure You Showcase It: If you have a regularly updated blog on your website, have a widget installed that automatically updates your home page with a link to the latest 2 – 3 posts. This will make it much easier for users to find posts that can offer them free value and help you build your brand as an online authority in your industry.
Good design means much more than having a website that’s visually appealing. If the layout doesn’t allow users to find what they came there for within the first minute or two, they’re going to move on. Take user experience into account the next time you commission a professional website and you’ll save yourself a lot of troublesome re-designing in the future.
What do you think? Did you keep user experience in mind when you had your website designed? Are there any other factors you can think of that are just as important? Your thoughts are welcome, so let us know!