When it comes to navigating a website, there are specific expectations that must be met in order for you to have a positive user experience.
User experience essentially means having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. User experience takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project. Thus, you can describe user experience as the place where a consumer’s wants and a brand’s goals meet.
When it comes to user experience best practices, the objective is to promote and improve a visitor’s interaction with your brand through your website. If a visitor does not find value in your website, in terms of content and the services or products you are providing, he will not return to your homepage.
A website is the first point of connection between your brand and potential customers. Your website must establish your brand’s credibility. Thus, a visitor will correlate your website’s user experience with your brand.
Do you know why you like some websites but hate others? It’s because of your own personal user experience with the site.
The best sites or app designs give visitors an awesome user experience. That means the information is straightforward, the navigation is easy and simple, and the content is high-quality and informative. Visually speaking, your website must be pleasing to the eye.
What Are The Five Planes Of User Experience?
Thus, user experience is made up of many components. You can read this guide on the elements of the user experience development process courtesy of Jesse James Garrett. Garrett says there are five planes of user experience that you must be aware of. They are:
The Surface Plane: Refers to visual aspect of your website including Web pages, images and content.
The Skeleton Plane: Refers to items used to optimize the arrangement of your website such as buttons, tabs, photos and blocks of text.
The Structure Plane: Refers to the concrete expression of the more abstract structure of the site.
The Scope Plane: Refers to the structure or scope in which the various features and functions of the site fit together.
The Strategy Plane: Refers to what the people running the site want to get out of it but what the users want to get out of the site, as well.
What Is The User Experience Honeycomb?
Peter Morville of Usability.Gov says user experience must focus on 7 elements in order for a visitor to have a positive user experience. Morville’s belief is represented through the User Experience Honeycomb:
–Useful: Your content should be original and fulfill a need
–Desirable: Image, identity, brand, and other design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation
–Accessible: Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities
–Credible: Users must trust and believe what you tell them
–Findable: Content needs to be navigable and locatable onsite and offsite
–Usable: Site must be easy to use
–Valuable: Site provides a solution to visitor’s issue
Below is a list of web design faux pas all web designers must avoid, unless you want your visitor to have an awful user experience.
Faux Pas #1: Cluttered Fonts
Do not overwhelm your visitor with a large quantity of text in distracting fonts. Too much words in a small amount of space is off putting for visitors to your website.
Recommendation: Use eye-catching fonts sparingly in titles or subtitles. Use bullets to summarize main points and improve the readability of your content.
Faux Pas #2: Image Source
Large chunks of text create a phenomenon called “TL; DR” or “Too Long; Didn’t Read.” In general, people do not want to read a large amount of text, especially when they are accessing your website through a mobile device.
Recommendation: Instead of crowding all possible information on your front page categorize your content by landing pages. When possible, use bulleted lists instead of paragraphs to create an easily scanned page.
Faux Pas #3: Poor Photos
A photo can damage your website’s credibility if its:
-Not a high resolution image
-Arranged in a manner that does not follow the natural order of reading left to right
Recommendation: Always use photos that are beautiful with high resolution. A photo is an effective tool in story-telling.
Faux Pas #4: Not Optimized For Mobile Device
Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird, uses the web version of your website to determine your website’s ranking. The reason behind this move is simple. People access websites from their mobile devices such as phones and tablets instead of a desktop computer. Thus, your website must be optimized for mobile use. It must meet the criteria of being mobile-friendly or your site will not appear in a search engine results page.
Recommendation: Use a website platform such as WordPress or Squarespace to fix this.
Faux Pas #5: Confusing Layout
Again, a good website follows the practices of web design mentioned above. If a visitor has to search through 10 landing pages to find what she’s looking for, she will not return to your site. Your content should be as easy to reach as possible.
Recommendation: Add menus to your website so your visitor can navigate it with ease. A great website has three menus, one across the top, one down the side, and another that users can open by tapping open. Use a menu to organize the content on your website.
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