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 sitewww.useit.com 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.

5 Crowdsourcing Web Design Sites

are crowdsourcing web design sites what you need for your next web project? here are five popular sites.

Crowdsourcing web design sites are based on a business model where creative agencies can call on the collective talents of the design community to pitch for jobs that a company would normally outsource to a third-party provider. It gives design studios access to a bigger pool of talent at affordable prices but companies are not always privy to a wider range of experience and knowledge. Here are five crowdsourcing sites you can try out.



CrowdSPRING

CrowdSPRING is one of the most popular crowdsourcing web design sites for logos and graphic design with an average of 110 entries per project and a community of 114,217 designers. You can choose from 43 design and writing categories. Over 28,500 small businesses trust crowdSPRING with custom logo design, web design and writing services. These include household names Amazon, Starbucks Coffee, LG and Air Zealand.



Design Crowd

DesignCrowd is an online marketplace that brings freelance graphic designers and design studios around the world together. The website specialises in providing logo, website, print and graphic design services. It gives agencies access to a ‘virtual team’ of 71,533 designers represented from 165 countries. According to their website, studios that post jobs get an average of 106 designs to choose from.



99 Designs

With 99 Designs, you can turn your logo/design project into a contest – it is another of the popular crowdsourcing web design sites. All you need to do is submit a concise brief and determine a fee for the contest winner – this will depend on the complexity of the project. The average entries per competition are 108. If you don’t like any of the designs, then simply contact 99 Designs within 99 days to get a complete refund.



MycroBurst

MycroBurst is an online platform which introduces designers to design studios. Each project that is posted gets an average of 108 entries from the 30,000-strong community of graphic and logo designers. Design agencies name the price they want to pay for their design project. Services include complete web designs, blog templates, logo, stationary and business card designs, marketing collateral and print advertising.



Logomyway

Logomyway was designed (pardon the pun) to act as a bridge between clients needing design work like logo designs, graphic designs, business card designs and T-shirts designs and creative agencies. There are over 15,000 logo designers in over 100 countries waiting to create your company logo and if your project doesn’t receive at least 50 entries, you get your money back, no questions asked.

Using crowdsourcing web design sites may be a good option for smaller businesses but like the business adage, you get what you pay for – the design quality may be hit or miss. At Web Design Works, we specialise in customised and tailored design solutions and have proven experience in creating unique and beautiful eye-catching designs for our high-profile clients each and every time.

As an alternative, crowd source your web design and let us build your site to ensure that your site is built in the most easy-to-use and Search Engine-friendly manner. Contact us to find out more about our professional web design packages and services.

Web Design Vs Web Development

web design and web development work hand-in-hand in creating websites – here showing the difference between the two roles.


The terms ‘web design’ and ‘web development’ are sometimes used interchangeably but they have separate roles with distinct responsibilities. With smaller design studios or companies, there may be some overlap. Design involves the overall layout, look and feel for websites (front end) and development oversees the site’s functionality (back end). Here’s an overview of both roles to help you decide what you will need for your website project.


What does a web designer do?

As aforementioned, a web designer looks after the front end of a website which may include wireframes and usability design, motion and interaction design, graphic and user interface design, animation (Flash and HTML5), video, sound etc. A web designer’s role is also to look after the usability of a website – their role is focused on how a site looks and how well customers interact with it based on the principles of best practice design.


What does a web developer do?

A web developer’s role may involve web programming, database design, and information architecting and development environment design. This area of the site isn’t seen by visitors, but it is the technical ‘bones’ of the site required to present the right information in the correct format to visitors to the site. Web development is used to describe any database-driven web designs using dynamic scripting languages such as CSS, HTML, PHP, ASP and ASP.NET.
A web designer and a web developer may perceive a project from two different perspectives but they need to work together to create websites that are a celebration of form and function. It is helpful if each department has an understanding of each other’s role – developers want a website to work right, designers want it to look right. At Web Design Works, we are a full-service web design and web development agency – contact us today.

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