Did you know there are more than 1.5 billion websites in the world?
If this means anything, it means that every single piece of the website must be built with the customer in mind. Every line of text, every piece of graphics, and every element of the UI should answer to how it will help customers have a better experience.
Luckily, many trials and A/B testing have led us to better understand what customers want, need, or prefer. So, to stand out, you need to use tried and true web design principles to help your visitors stay on your site longer.
In this article, we’ll outline 6 unique, and proven design principles that you should incorporate in your site’s design.
Focus on User Experience in Every Stage
First and foremost, it’s important to think about user experience throughout every stage of your website’s development.
Keep in mind that after people leave your site, they will remember less about the exact words you wrote and will instead remember how they felt while on your site.
Too many websites focus only on the design or the copy. Or perhaps they’re narrowed in on another aspect of web design.
At the end of the day, however, the most effective web designers focus on UX from start to finish. How can you present your visitors with an experience rather than just presenting information?
Images, layout, font, and animation all come together to create an entire experience. Think about how they integrate to improve your users’ visits to your site.
Believe it or not, people will tie the quality of your products or services to the quality of the visuals on your site.
We’ve all been to sites with blurry pictures or cheesy stock photos. And when sites are filled with these types of images, it negatively affects people’s perception of your brand.
Whenever possible, try to use originals. Take your own photos. If that’s not a plausible option for your business right now, look for stock photos that you haven’t seen before. Find ones that feel natural and consistent with your brand.
And while you should make sure your images aren’t so big that they slow down your site, they should also not be so condensed that they look pixelated.
Consider the 8-Second Rule
The average human attention span is now only 8 seconds2, which is shorter than a goldfish’s. Yep, you read that right–people pay attention to things for a shorter time than goldfish do.
Because of this, you should consider this fact in your website design. With such a short window to capture people’s attention, you need to catch people’s eyes as quickly as possible.
Here are a few ideas to make it happen:
- Make your buttons large, simple, and in a contrasting color
- Use bright images that draw people’s attention
- Make your headline short, clear, and large so people know exactly who you are and what you do
- Use hover effects on your buttons so they’re more enticing to click
There are lots of other ideas out there. Just remember that the hero section of your page needs to engage your audience as fast as possible.
Implement a Visual Hierarchy
Next, consider the visual hierarchy of your site. Think about it. If every element of your site is the same size, how will anything stand out?
The truth is that you need to implement a visual hierarchy. H1 tags, or the main headlines, should be a specific size on every page.
H2, H3, and H4 tags should then follow a similar structure that’s consistent throughout the website.
Doing this will help guide your users, leading them to your end goal.
Make Your Site Scannable
Webpages are full of content. But the average site visitor will scan your site, not read the entire thing.
When they get to a page, they’re looking for main points. They want to catch the vision and find the most valuable information. They’re simply not interested in reading extended paragraphs about your various products or services.
Sure, maybe some visitors will read every word, but the large majority won’t.
To accommodate this trend, you should shorten your sentences and paragraphs. This isn’t a college essay, so you don’t need complex compound sentences. Instead, keep them short and sweet.
Also, utilize bullet points. These help people quickly digest your site’s content without having to get through entire paragraphs.
Use Faces in Your Imagery
No matter your industry, you should include faces in your pictures. human faces trigger your visitors emotionally and make a strong connection with your brand.
So on your home page, landing pages, ebooks, and other downloadable content, see how can you include people in your pictures.
If you’re having a custom photoshoot done, make sure you ask for lots of horizontal shots that include a good amount of dead space. These make for perfect hero images.
It’s also a good idea to include a variety of different people in your shots. Think about the different ages, races, and genders you want to include in your imagery as you’re planning your photo shoot. This way, you’ll be completely satisfied with the results.
UX Web Design Principles: What’s Next?
Now that you’ve read about these 6 UX web design principles, what’s next for your brand? The first step is to look for and find a common ground between the vision you have for your brand and your customers’ expectation. This common ground will help you build a stronger brand that captures the attention of your audience. And on the web, UX design helps you navigate through the competition easily.
The second step is to keep experimenting. Getting to the perfect UX is an ongoing process that requires patience, A/B testing, and strong analytics. Now, if you already have a site up and running, think about the changes you could make to better convert your traffic. If you don’t have a site, make a list of the principles that are most important to you as you’re building your webpages.