Quick Tips for Creating the Best User Experience on your Website
Designing your web application is one of the most important steps in the entire website build process. This is the step where you use details about your target user to form an engaging and welcoming experience, keeping them from getting frustrated or leaving quickly. Follow along below for some tips on how to integrate interactivity and responsiveness in an effective way.
Remember the Target User
The most important baseline for your design is to think about who your target users are and what they will be using your app to do. The elements that are most important to them should be front and center in your design.
Take a look at some of the websites you use most often —Google? The first thing you see and the focal point of the site is a search bar to enter whatever you want to look up. Amazon? The main page highlights recommendations for you and top selling items based on the time of year or latest trends. Twitter? A feed of tweets from users you follow and a place to post your own tweet sits front and center.
There needs to be a hierarchy formed around what your app does and why users will be coming to your app. Creating a wireframe is a great way to get a plan in place before actually building your app. Make sure the most important feature or concept of your app is the focal point, then you can build the rest around it. Check out some additional pre-work steps (such as creating a wireframe) before building your app here.
The experience of your site starts and ends with your users, so remember to make their needs your top priority.
Elements placed on your website and the interaction they attract should always be purposeful. It is not good practice to include elements that are simply there to fill space or to add a gimmick.
For every element you include, make sure to think about how the user will interact with it. If it’s just text a user will read and scroll past, a static section of text is okay. If it’s a button you want the user to click to guide them to a different section of the site, hover states or animated effects should be used to make it stand out and ensure the user knows they can interact with it.
It’s much easier to determine how to promote user interaction for each element when they have a specific purpose.
Keep it Clean and Simple
Building off of being purposeful, keeping your webpage clean and simple is the most effective way of guiding a user to navigate your site correctly or as intended. Some of the most used and loved sites have the simplest design. Take Google again as an example — the simplicity of the concept and design helps users know exactly how to use it. Any other side functionality or add-ons are in a separate menu to access, but are not at the forefront.
This is a great guideline to follow for any application. Your main functionality should be the highlight. If there are several sub-pages or additional features that may be used, having a dropdown menu or sidebar is helpful to keep everything organized and still accessible, but not cluttering the main page. Also, fonts and colors are very important. Using fonts that are easily readable and colors that are easy on the eyes adds to the overall experience. Try to avoid gimmicks and highly detailed fonts, because they only add confusion and take away from the experience. One exception to this is if it’s important to your concept to separate a specific element visually. In this case, it’s okay to use a different style, but remember to use it sparingly.
If you eliminate all distractions and focus on your main functionality, your users will know what to do without even thinking. They will follow along through your site feeling comfortable and even enjoy the experience. When you keep it clean and simple, it makes it easy for your users, and that’s what brings them back again and again.
When planning the design of your site, it is best to select a solid design direction to follow. Consistency is important when extending your branding throughout every touchpoint. Using a cool effect just because it’s cool is not enough of a reason to implement it.
This ties into keeping it simple and being purposeful. The entire experience should feel the same. Your site should have a specific color scheme that is followed all throughout, a select set of fonts that you use for all text, and each interactive element should have one main style. For example, there should be one main way to style a button or link to another page.
Maintaining a consistent design is critical so users can keep track of what each element does as they navigate through the site.
Consider All Formats
Last but definitely not least, remember to consider that users come to your app from countless different devices. Each device has a different format and aspect ratio, which effects how your elements are viewed and interacted with.
Learning how to make your app responsive is extremely important. One great resource for HTML and CSS styling is this W3 Schools writeup. Make sure to do some research and figure out how to make your app responsive based on the tech stack you are using.
Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s critical to ensure your app works no matter where it’s accessed from.
The design you implement for your app is critical for creating the user experience — it’s the first thing users see and draws them in for further interaction. Keeping these important tips in mind for interactivity and responsiveness will help to promote a positive user experience and ultimately bring users back.