How Can Brands Design Websites with Engaging User Experiences

Illustration by Aidan O'Connell on Dribbble

Improving user experience is a top priority for many brands, and for good reason. According to Intechnic, having a well-designed user interface could raise your website’s conversion rate by up to 200%, and a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400%.

With this type of conversion number improvements on the table, it’s no wonder that brands want to do everything they can to improve their user experience.

However, it’s not always easy to know how you can improve it. So, whether you’re just starting your new website from scratch or you have an existing website, here are some things you can focus on to provide an engaging user experience.

It Needs to Be Mobile-Ready

It Needs to Be Mobile-Ready

The first thing you’ll want to think about is how your website appears across different devices. About half of all internet traffic is now done via mobile devices, meaning you can’t just design your website for desktop computers anymore. You need to make sure that all text is easy to read on a smaller screen and that all buttons and links are easy to click on with a finger rather than a mouse.

Most web designers make their sites mobile-ready by using responsive design. With it, the page will adapt to the screen that is displaying it, shrinking or growing the elements as necessary. If your website wasn’t built with responsive design principles, you may want to redesign it to include them. And, until the new site is ready, consider building a basic version of your website that works for mobile users too.

Keep It Simple

Next, you should focus on keeping your website as simple as possible. Users make a judgment about your site within the first few seconds of landing on the page. If you have too many different elements or things to look at, it will cause a bad experience for the user and leave them with a bad impression. Even if they remain on the site after that, it will impact the decisions they make on it and whether they decide to come back.

For each page of your website, think about what your goal is. If you want users to click a certain button, make it so that that button is easy to find and the rest of the page directs them towards it. Too many goals on a single page will create confusion, so narrow it down to one and focus on that.

In addition, make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for on your website. To do this, you may need a menu with a clear hierarchy towards the top of your site. You can also include a site search feature so that users can simply type in what they are looking for. The more pages you have on your site, the more important having a page hierarchy becomes.

Make Use of Size

On each of your pages, there are things you want your user to focus on over others. For example, you may want them to notice the title of your blog post over the text of it. To make your website more engaging, you need to find a way to separate these important items from the rest.

Size is a great way to show your users which are the most important items. By making something larger than the objects around it, you instantly draw focus towards it. Think about which elements of your page are the most important for conversions.

As an example, let’s say you are selling custom flower arrangements on your website. Images of your work would likely be the best aid towards selling, so you’d want to make these bigger. On the other hand, if you were selling an informational course on marketing, you may want to make the text describing the benefits the focal point of the page. It all depends on what the goal is for that page. Choose the elements that best help you achieve that goal, then make them bigger.

Different Types of Content

Different Types of Content

Everyone engages with websites in different ways. Some people prefer to sit and read a long blog post, while others would prefer to watch a video. To engage as many users as possible, you should offer different types of content on your site.

For example, let’s say you are a contractor that performs home renovations. On your website, you could have a blog that provides home improvement tips, video tutorials on how to properly paint a wall, and images of your previous work. By having all of these different media elements on your site you keep things fresh and appeal to different kinds of people. It’s okay to focus on one content type over the others, but try to differentiate your content offerings as best as you can.

Fast Load Times

No matter how great your website looks or operates, if it loads slowly, users won’t stick around long enough to experience it. These days everyone expects things to happen on the web instantaneously. If your website takes more than a few seconds to load, your users are more likely to leave and try another website.

When building your website, it’s essential that you keep load times in mind. You should consider the server you are on and whether it can handle the design elements you are including. If not, you’ll either have to upgrade to a faster server or modify your design choices.

For example, one common change is to host videos elsewhere. If your website uses a lot of videos, it may not make sense to host them all on your own server. You would then want to find video hosting sites by to do this for you and simply have your website link to them. There are numerous ways you can speed up your website, but it’s essential you figure them out before you get too far along in the design process.

Don’t Break Common Conventions

A common mistake brands make is thinking too outside the box. The thinking goes that if they can have their website stand out in a major way, users are more likely to remember it. However, if your website is too different from the conventional norms, your users are likely to remember it only for bad reasons.

For example, it’s common for most web pages that when text is in blue and underlined, that means it is a link. If you have blue underlined text on your website that isn’t a link, this will only confuse your users. Or maybe you decide that instead of having a vertical-scroll on your website, you’ll have your page extend left and right. Such a drastic change from all the other websites online will certainly grab attention, but it won’t lead to a good user experience.

The goal is to find ways to stand out while still adhering to the most basic conventions. Think about what you’ve come to expect on websites you visit, then make sure these elements aren’t changed too drastically on your site.

Use Colors as Indicators

Use Colors as Indicators

A great way to improve user experience is by using a consistent color scheme throughout the site. By this, we mean using colors to represent certain things, then using this on each page of the website. For example, all of your “Buy Now” buttons should have the same color scheme so that they are easily recognizable.

Users want to know what to expect when traveling from page to page. If you’re using different colors and design elements on each page, it will be hard for your users to get oriented. Pick one color scheme, then keep it consistent throughout the site.

Run Split Tests

Finally, it’s not always easy to know which changes you should make. The best way to figure this out is through split testing. Split testing is when you have two (or more) versions of a webpage and you randomly direct your users to one of the versions. After getting enough traffic, you can then see which page performed better. From there you can see what was different about that page and use those design elements on other pages.

For instance, you could have one version of your page where the button to subscribe to your newsletter is located at the top of the page, and another where it appears as a pop-up. If, after enough users have tried each page, you see that the pop-up performs significantly better, you can then use a pop-up throughout the rest of the site.

User Experience Should Impact Every Design Choice

When designing or redesigning your website, the user’s experience should factor into each choice you make. How will this color scheme help this page achieve its goal? Will this page look okay on mobile devices? Is this page too different from others on the site, or even others on the web?

By asking yourself these questions you’ll produce a better experience for your user in the end. The result will be happier customers, higher conversion rates, and more revenue.

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