Web design has the power to dictate the fate of your website. No matter how good your written content is, how awesome your products are, or how well-known your brand is, if your web design doesn’t make users happy, it’s going to be unsuccessful.
To make matters worse, web design isn’t a simple or straightforward topic. There’s no such thing as objectively and universally “good design,” and there’s no switch you can flip to magically improve the design of your site.
However, there are some simple web design tips and tricks that can improve your overall UI – and make users happier.
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The Long-Term Solution
There are simple tweaks you can make to improve the layout, aesthetics, and functionality of your site. But according to Website.design, these are, in some ways, short-term solutions. Your website will never be perfect, so even dozens of small changes and improvements aren’t going to finish the job. On top of that, web design standards are always changing, so you’ll need to make new improvements over time to keep pace with your competitors.
Accordingly, the best long-term solution is to work with a team of professional web designers to work on your site on an ongoing basis. That could mean enlisting the help of an agency, hiring one or more freelancers, or even hiring an in-house team of your own.
Simple Web Design Tips
In the meantime, these simple design tips can help you get more out of your website:
1. Optimize for mobile devices. Globally, mobile devices are responsible for 54.8 percent of all web traffic, making them the dominant device when it comes to web browsing. Because of that, most of your web design choices should be made with mobile users in mind. Responsive design standards allow your website to flexibly rearrange elements to serve desktop and mobile users simultaneously, making it the ideal choice – but you should still run tests to make sure your site is easy for mobile visitors to access and use.
2. Improve your site speed. Next, make an effort to improve your site speed. There are dozens of ways to do this, such as compressing your image files, cleaning up your backend code, deleting unnecessary files, and using a caching plugin (and/or a CDN).
3. Make the layout intuitive. Where should a user go to learn more? How are your categories and subcategories nested? Your layout needs to be so intuitive, even a person using the internet for the first time could figure it out.
4. Include a search bar. Make navigation even easier by including a search bar. It’s relatively easy to do, and it can make your site much more user-friendly – especially if your website is packed with content.
5. Focus on the area above the fold. Attention spans are limited. If you want to catch someone’s attention and give them their highest priority, focus on the area of your website “above the fold.” Make it immediate, and avoid making users search for what they need.
6. Reduce options. According to Hick’s Law, increasing the number of options available greatly increases the time it takes to make a decision – and some people avoid making a decision altogether when there are too many options. Strive for minimalism in your site design, and when users have an option, keep the possibilities restricted.
7. Encourage scrolling. Old web design standards forced users to click links and buttons when they wanted to learn more information or navigate somewhere else. These days, scrolling is king. Include as much as possible in long-scrolling webpages, rather than forcing users to click to learn more.
8. Use photos and designs to guide user attention. Even if the call to action (CTA) is obvious by ordinary standards, some users aren’t going to pay much attention to it. There’s an easy way around this; you can use photos and other designs to guide user attention. For example, if you have a photo of a human face, you can position it so that the person is looking at the CTA button; it works wonders.
The Importance of Experimentation
While there are some objective standards in the world of web design, few concepts are set in stone – and what works for one site won’t necessarily work for another. If you want to improve your overall results, it’s important to experiment with different variables and objectively measure the results. For example, if you change the layout, do your onsite traffic patterns change? If you tweak the color or the font, do you get more conversions?
The more you experiment, the better you’ll get to know your audience – and the closer you’ll get to your long-term goals. You just have to be consistent and keep making improvements.