Best Practices: Website Design User Experience
August 16, 2016 by Brasco ///
Everyone associates the “L word” with “love”, but what about the “R word”?
In marketing, the “R word” is important. What is that “R word,” exactly?
Cultivating customer relationships is essential to the success of most companies. Not all interactions can occur in-person though. When you can’t meet face-to-face with a client, a website is critical for replicating the desired brand experience in an online format.
Consequently, a custom branded, web experience can serve as an important link in developing customer engagement and connecting with customers. Even though we are familiar with using a website these days, there is much more that goes in to an effective design than you might have thought.
Your custom branded web experience should be “sticky”—meaning the degree to which user interest is captured by the website. To help with this, think about how you want your customers to feel, what you want them to do, and what you want them to leave with.
With that said, this piece seeks to explain 4 of our most important drivers for website design, along with a few trends. If executed properly, these practices will make your website a step ahead of the competition when it comes to hooking, and keeping, the next potential customer.
If you take away nothing else from this blog post, remember this one word: navigation.
When customers can’t navigate your website easily, they are more likely to leave it and never come back. We often look at indicators within analytics to determine how well a site navigation is working for users. We look at heat mapping, bounce rates, and flow graphs. Make sure your website’s navigation is simple and straightforward. If that means limiting the number of menu options available, do it. Viewers will be less overwhelmed by where to click, staying on the site longer as a result.
Finally, be wary of vertical menus or “hamburger” side bars. Although we love them visually, they should be used carefully for deeper dive content. Recent user interface research shows that this particular feature can be too complicated for customers to understand.
Sometimes our eyes like to play tricks on us. When creating content, pay special attention to font size and color. Font size should never be less than 11 pt., and a grey font color can be the hardest to see. No one wants to squint while trying to read your website.
Speaking of squinting, try the squint test when experimenting with design. Step away from your computer and notice what you can see only from a distance. This trick will show you what stands out most to new visitors to your website. Thus, giving you a better idea of what content to emphasize the most.
The importance of professional photography cannot be understated. It’s so important in fact, that we wrote another whole blog post about it. But in case you just want the skinny on what professional photography is all about, look no further.
Essentially, great photos that are unique to your company lend authenticity. Not only that, but it also helps you to differentiate your brand from competitors. In other words, don’t be bland and use stock photos because visitors will perceive your brand as bland. Take your marketing game to the next level by investing in professional photography.
Nothing can be more frustrating than going to a website and seeing that it was last updated three years ago. A lot can happen in three years! How are visitors to trust your content if it is not relevant to the here and now?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure to update your website frequently. Keep customers in the know about upcoming events, new products, special giveaways, etc. Not only will this engage them more in your brand, but it will also make your site more trustworthy when it comes to building brand loyalty and satisfaction.
Let’s face it, Cinemagraphs are cool. I think it’s safe to say that Brasco /// was an early arriver to the Cinemagraph party. Check out one of our examples to the right.
If you’ve never seen one or even heard of the technique, we highly suggest that you read our blog post about them to see even more awesome examples.
Basically, cinemagraphs are a combination of a photo and a small video loop. The teensiest amount of movement against the backdrop of a still photo immediately attracts the eye, engaging viewers on a whole new level and imparting a feeling of excitement.
Take our word for it—you’ll want to jump on this trend fast.
If cinemagraphs seem a little too complicated, hero images are your next go-to. They can be considered unexpected or breathtaking images that showcase your brand’s call to action. These types of images are popping up all over start-up based websites, too.
We look for custom hero images to help us visually tell a brand story. The best photos are high definition and take up most of the space on the page, which are usually found on the homepage. In this case, you don’t need a superhero to rescue your website. All you need is some creativity and one (or a few) powerful photos.
We wish you the best of luck with dominating your online user experience. If you ever need help with improving your website or creating an entire new one, don’t ever hesitate to reach out. Web design projects get us weak in the knees.