Creating a new website is a balancing act. It needs to function well, score highly on SEO (search engine optimisation) and drive those crucial conversions. And let’s not forget aesthetics – your site needs to look beautiful, compete with its rivals and showcase who you are as a brand.
With all this to bear in mind, it’s no wonder that some brands and designers forget about the most important factor – user experience. Your site is all about the user, how they navigate the customer journey, find the info they need and make crucial decisions.
To help you provide a brilliant user experience, and avoid putting anyone off, here are the 5 critical dos and don’ts of web design…
1. Do: test your website speed regularly. A whopping 47% of web users expect a website to load within 2 seconds or less, and 39% will leave if images take too long to load (or don’t load at all). You can’t rely on the initial loading speed at launch, as you’ll be adding content to your site all the time. Set up a schedule to test regularly, on different devices and browsers.
2. Don’t: forget the call to action. Research in 2017 found that 70% of small business websites didn’t have a clear call to action. This is what encourages users to sign up for a newsletter, watch demo videos, buy products or take advantage of special offers. CTAs are what turn visitors into customers, but they’re beneficial for users too – as they provide quick, highly visible ways to access info and interact.
3. Do: make your content scannable. Too much or too little content on your home page can be a problem, but how easy is to read what’s actually there? Scannability is crucial, helping users to understand your website structure, find info and achieve their goals quickly. You need to get under the skin of your target visitor, to discover what they’re looking for when they visit your site. Keep content snappy, use lots of sub-headings, make keywords highly visible and think carefully about your colour scheme, font and text size.
4. Don’t: hide essential information. Users expect to find certain things on a website – for example, an ‘About Us’ page, contact info and social media links. Don’t make it hard to find these things, as your visitors won’t stick around to work out where you’ve hidden them.
5. Do: Make your site mobile-friendly. This one’s obvious, as over 52% of all internet traffic now comes from users on mobile devices. But it’s amazing how many sites still don’t display properly on a mobile screen. This is hugely off-putting to visitors, especially when they’re trying to click a link or pinch zoom into a stretched or condensed chunk of content during their morning commute.