The growth of website builders means people think it’s easy to create a website. Website platform Wix has over 100 million users worldwide.
But creating a great user experience takes more than a handful of templates.
The user experience (UX) is based on how a user interacts with your website. Good UX means the website is easy to navigate and use.
The user interface (UI) is what most people think of when they think about website design. It’s the graphic part your users see through their browser or smartphone.
Let’s compare the two. UX focuses on where to place a button so users can easily find it. UI deals with styling the button to encourage users to click it.
But how do you craft an engaging user interface? Read on for our best web design tips.
1. Work On Your Communication Skills
This may seem like a strange place to start. But you’ll never design a website in isolation. You’ll always need to work with other people.
A UX designer might need to interview users. Or speak to other designers about their processes to craft the user experience.
You may be working on the UX and UI yourself. So you might need to get graphic elements from a graphic designer. Fit copy from a copywriter into your design.
And then there’s the client. You’ll need to understand their goals and needs too.
Work on your communication skills to get a huge boost in creating an engaging website design.
2. Start With The Landing Page
This is the first thing a user sees when they open your app. It’s the place where they can log in, sign up, or contact you.
Is it easy to use? Is it obvious what you want a user to do?
If you give users too many options, they won’t take any of them. Keep duplicates to a minimum. Remember, focus on using design to move the user along the UX path.
Adding extras for the sake of making a landing page look exciting distracts from what you want people to do.
3. Keep It Simple, Stupid
The KISS principle dates back to the US Navy in 1960. (Some think it means ‘keep it short and simple’ instead).
It basically means don’t overcomplicate things. Just because you can add a hundred design elements to a page doesn’t mean you should.
Each page you design will have a goal, determined by the UX. When you design the UI, it’s your job to guide users to do that action.
Anything you add that doesn’t support that goal is wasted. So don’t add it.
4. Work the Wireframe First
UX designers build wireframes of the website after they’ve done user research. These are simple designs that place the focus on how the visitor moves around the website.
It’s at this stage that you can map your user research on to your design. And it’s easier to spot problems before you get too far into the code.
Once you’ve got the wireframe, move onto a mockup. These let clients see what the finished website design will look like.
They’re often made using software like Adobe Photoshop.
This is where you get to roadtest your design before you turn it into code. It’s also what a designer will hand over to a web developer if you use two separate services.
5. Ditch Sliders and Image Carousels
Clients often can’t choose between the images they want to showcase. So they want to showcase them all using a slider or carousel.
There are two problems with this. Sliders add more ‘weight’ to a page, which slows loading times. This impacts the SEO of a website since Google wants to send visitors to fast websites.
But research shows that the carousel’s first image gets 90 percent of the clicks. Meaning the rest of the carousel is almost useless.
User research can help identify which image to use to get clicks.
6. Use a Consistent Structure
Once you’ve defined a structure for one page, you can use it across other pages. This helps users find what they’re looking for in each part of your website.
Not only is this good web design, but it also helps your search engine optimization (SEO). The longer you keep a visitor on your website, the lower your ‘bounce rate’. And the better-ranked you are by search engines.
Where possible, use a hierarchical structure. This just means organizing elements according to their importance.
Users will put more or less emphasis on an element if it’s different from other elements on the page. That can include:
- font-weight (e.g. black, heavy, italic)
Using these design elements helps to support the UX of the website.
7. Maintain Branding Visuals
Color, typography, and even layout all combine to convey an idea of a brand. And the last thing you want to do is introduce inconsistent branding elements.
Use the brand colors to help reinforce the brand’s message to users.
Pick the fonts associated with the brand to let users know they’re in the right place. The fonts you choose should also work in different sizes to suit different devices.
8. Stick to Recognized Language
This will mean working with the writer of the website copy. But avoid cute terms on call-to-action buttons. Make it obvious what will happen when a user clicks on it.
Otherwise, you might design a clear button using the right font and color. Then you add a phrase like ‘Uplevel my learning’. But ‘get my guide’ might make more sense.
Use ‘login’ rather than ‘enter’. Or ‘About’ for an about page, instead of a funny but obscure alternative.
Stick to recognized language for buttons to help users get around your site.
9. Keep Your Skills Up-to-Date
No matter how good your skills are, trends come and go. New programming languages come out. Technology changes.
Keeping your skills up-to-date lets you weather these storms. So you can focus on creating the best websites to suit what clients need.
Subscribe to websites about web design. Listen to podcasts. And read classic design books.
UX design began in the 1950s. The principles in books from that period can still apply to website design now.
Or attend meetups with fellow UX and UI designers. Swapping tips and tricks is a great way to stay on top of your game.
Follow these Web Design Tips for Top Success
Following any or all, of these web design tips, will boost your user interfaces. They’ll help you create easy-to-use and gorgeous websites.
And if you only follow one of them? Definitely work on those communication skills. Being able to share ideas, feedback, and functions is the key to your success.
Do you want to speak to a new partner to create your websites? Contact us today. Let’s see what we can do together.