Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Web Design Tips To Improve Usability

increase your conversion rates by improving the usability on your website with these web design tips.

Distinguished usability expert Jacob Nielsen who provides web design tips on his defines usability as ‘a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use.’ There are certain design practices that promote ease of use and memorability, an excellent retention rate and high end-user satisfaction. Here are five of those common elements designed to increase usability on websites.

Web design tips 1: Intuitive navigation

There are certain design principles that every designer will follow irrespective of what company or industry their client is from. One of these is navigation which is a learned behaviour – users want to move from website to website seamlessly and find the information they require very quickly and easily. It is best that users only have to navigate three levels to find the information they require.

Web design tips 2: Easy to read content

Writing for the web is different to print publications. In general, people have more time to read a magazine or a book than view websites. An eyetracking study conducted by usability expert Jakob Nielsen found that people tend to scan a website in an ‘F shaped pattern’. Website copy needs to be concise, use plain English and the active voice. Writing for the web principles to increase readability on a website includes:
  • Breaking up the text with headings.
  • Using small paragraphs (ideally one idea per paragraph).
  • Adding bullet points (where appropriate).
  • Writing text in the inverted pyramid style (from most important copy to least important).
  • Good use of white space and visuals to break up text and make it easier to read.
  • Adding internal links to direct visitors to other pages for more information.
  • Using visual information strategy to break up text or explain text in a visual format such as a flowchart.

Web design tips 3: Better quality images

Another way to facilitate usability on your website is the use of clear and large images of your products and services. For example a hotel website may display images of the hotel rooms, the facilities, the foyer and the location. A large part of booking a hotel room is the use of visual imagery to tell a story about a hotel in images as well as words. You can always add a separate page for anonline image gallery to showcase your product offerings.

Web design tips 4: Good use of white space

When it comes to white space (the negative space is the space between design elements), less is definitely more. The use of whitespace gives your website harmony and allows your visitors to absorb the contents on the page. Depending on the design aesthetic you are trying to achieve and the market you are trying to target, the use of white space can also add a certain sophistication and elegance to your website.

Web design tips 5: Faster loader times

Google has long recognised that a faster loading time promotes usability on a website, so much so, that they have introduced page speed (how quickly a website responds to web requests) as a new signal in their search ranking algorithms. The Search Engine has done numerous studies on page speed and their findings show that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. There are plenty of ways to increase your site speed such as optimising image sizes and minimising redirects from your website.

Improving the usability for your website is key to retaining visitors and increasing your web conversion rates. At Web Design Works, we are a full-service agency with a team of talented web designers as well as SEO experts, SEO copywriters, link building analysts and social media experts. Visit our site to find out more web design tips or contact us to learn more about our professional web design packages and services.

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