Google the term “web design tips,” and you’ll come up with at least 1 billion results. Everyone who has ever put a website up has a tip to share, so sorting through what works well for your customers’ overall experience and what doesn’t isn’t an easy task. Fortunately, there are studies and science-backed tips that really do work to improve customer experience (CX) on your website.
There are 1.7 billion websites on the internet, with more added every second. While every site isn’t your competition, you are certainly competing for the attention of consumers in a very noisy online world. If you want people to come to your site and stay there, you have to focus on why they would want to. If it isn’t user-centered, you’ve already lost some of your visitors.
How can you ensure people stay on your page and convert into customers? Here are six tips for improving the CX of your website and some examples of sites already accomplishing the task.
1. Develop a Visual Hierarchy
Some basic rules of visual hierarchy will improve your website instantly. There specific places to utilize large and small images and typography, and there must be an overall balance between the two. At the same time, the pictures and type must mesh well, even if they are different font families or products. Keep in mind that the most important elements on your page should be near the top, contrast with other features and be large.
Cuddle + Kind uses excellent visual hierarchy. There is a large hero shot at the top of the page, but as you scroll down, the images of specific products become smaller with more white space surrounding them. The typography also has a hierarchy, with headers being blue and larger and body text littler and black.
2. Ramp up Speed
In a survey of 750 consumers, Unbounce discovered 70% of consumers might not buy from an online retailer with slow load times. In addition, it may take 87.84% longer for mobile sites to load, and people on their smartphones are even less likely to wait around. You must optimize your website for smaller screens while also speeding up load times. Optimize images, invest in a fast server and get rid of scripts or elements that slow your page down.
3. Centralize Information
When users land on your home page, do they need to visit multiple links to find what they need or become a customer? Make it as easy as possible for them to immediately convert. Add newsletter signup buttons, expand menus and use pop-ups to your advantage. If you can keep everything centralized without creating a never-ending scroll, you’ll hook your customers and engage them longer.
Marcotte Properties does a nice job keeping all the information on its landing page central to that page. Notice how you can hover over different properties and the image and details expand without the user having to navigate elsewhere. This allows users to find the property that is right for them before they click through for detailed information.
4. Consider the Fold
Experts have different opinions about the fold and if it still matters. However, studies show people spend about 57% of their time above the fold. While they might scroll, they are still paying more attention to what you place near the top of the page. If you have vital information for the consumer, put it there for their convenience.
5. Animate to Engage
Connectivity speeds are increasing, and people are better able to view animation and videos than ever before. Adding a few animated elements grabs user attention and makes your site fun. Visiting websites with the same text and stock images is boring to users. If you can do something a bit different that relates to your industry, then you stand out from competitors and entertain your customers in the process.
Full Bundle creates a bit of fun for its users by placing little squares in red and blue at the bottom of the landing page. If you mouse over them, they become animated. You can move your mouse around to send them scattering before they settle back into place with a sort of snow globe effect. It becomes almost like a game for users, but also shows what the design agency is capable of creating.
6. Cue With Visuals
You can direct your site visitors to the information or action you’d like them to take. If you want them to click on a CTA button, add an arrow pointing to it. If you have images, turn the person or animal or graphic toward the button, so they are looking toward it. The user’s eye will naturally follow to see what the person in the picture is looking at. Visual information is powerful and tends to resonate with site visitors, making them more likely to convert into customers.
One of the most powerful things you can do for user experience is cut out anything that isn’t related to the main purpose of the page. Keep your overall design simple and to the point, and visitors will have an easier time finding the things they need with little effort. That goes a long way in improving UX and boosting your business.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.