Sometimes, I judge books by the actual covers they have. This is true especially when it comes to websites, and you most likely judge them by their covers as well. Your website’s overall aesthetic value can make an enormous difference in every individual visitor’s resulting experience. You have bought your domain name and hosting package, now what? No matter the number of contact forms, banners, and call to action buttons you have setup, your web visitors will not even bother giving them a second look if they do not look good.
However, what site design elements will truly affect how the user interacts with the website, and what can I do to improve the experience? To answer these and more questions means taking a closer look at what you already have.
Website Color and Theme
When it comes to providing your site with color, it is crucial that you make a point of sticking with a consistent palette. If you already have a logo, basing your website’s color palette upon it will help increase the look and feel of your brand.
Working with a consistent color palette portrays to your visitors that you are a professional who knows what he or she is doing. When your entire website’s color scheme is similar and theme design elements uniform, your visitors will feel that they are in the right place.
However, remember that different colors are known to have diverse effects on people viewing them. Factor in the personality of your brand and the reactions you would like to evoke in your target audience. Do you want them to humored, grave, curious, heated, mellowed out or excited? Create that ambience that reflects their best interests and will grab their attention.
Size does matter (in website design). A 10-point font sized call-to-action will not do as much as a 90-point font. Drill down to that critical message and light everything up for everyone else to stop and notice. Eye tracking studies carried out by IBM and Google found out that people tend to spend 34% more time on larger fonts compared to small prints.
It is in your best interest to follow the hierarchical textual sizing order – calls-to-action and headlines to the largest fonts and smaller fonts for in-depth reading.
Size covers more than verbiage. Take into consideration what you are trying to accomplish in any page and scale the navigation, images, fields, and forms to have room to accommodate your goals. Pages meant to invite your first-time visitors should probably be large, have compelling visuals and sizable, but thin, text. As your visitors go deeper into the meat of your website, they will have gained the patience and interest to read smaller images and text.
User experience requires taking into consideration the spacing of your content. This is something that most people do not consider, and some are probably scoffing at the idea. However, as petty as spacing sounds, it can break or make the visitor’s experience in some situations.
Remember how early 2000’s web pages looked like; scrolling banners, clip art images squeezed in together with an endless stream of text. This flawed design shows the importance of spacing – between individual letters, text paragraphs, or images.
Allow for space between images and text – making it organized and easy on the visitor’s eye. For overlapping content, use double check and text wrapping where necessary. However, avoid having gaps of negative space that are likely to make your viewer think there is missing content.
Botched spacing will look sloppy to your guests. Once visitors question legitimacy of your website, they are most likely going to spend more time elsewhere.
How you arrange your website’s content is just as critical to user experience as content.
In regards to layout, follow the pointers below that should work for every type of website out there:
- For textual content, always combine them with relevant visuals including graphs, animations, videos, illustrations and photos to improve interaction
- Attract the viewer by offering compelling information that will help keep that new set of eyes on your website
- Just like businesses and people, websites grow, and your layout should be able to accommodate such expansion
Web pages are defined by the content they carry, and characterized by flow. It is critical that you provide your audience with messages in a manner that makes sense. To achieve this you should step out of the misconceptions of what your site should look like and understand your target audience’s collective consciousness. Take a moment and understand:
- Why did the visitor come to your website?
- What reasons could he or she have for looking at this particular page?
- What kind of information does the visitor want to see first?
- How would the visitor like to see that information?
Answering these questions will help improve your traffic volume, social interactions, and conversions.