How to design a great digital experience for your customers
Applying user experience (UX) design principles to create an engaging digital experience for your customers.
Have you ever wondered why the checkout button on your favourite online store is usually placed on the right, or why text is usually aligned left? Have you ever been put off by websites that demand your email address on every other page? The best websites are designed with the user in mind, and at their heart is the user experience, more commonly known as UX.
Put simply, UX needs to align with two main goals: business goals and user goals. The goal of a UX designer is to align these goals so that the business benefits when the user reaches their objective.
How to do that? Put yourself in the user’s shoes.
With that in mind, here are some basic rules to abide by when creating your website.
1. Site has to be responsive
Google has found 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead.
Responsive web design is the idea the websites should respond based on the size of the screen or web browser your customers is viewing your website from. The good news is that designing for a responsive website can be as simple as installing a plug-in during the design phase – this will automate the process for you. When it comes to layout ensure text does not run, and images are cropped to fit all screen sizes.
2. Three main colours
Have you visited a website that used such a wide array of colours you felt the page was too busy so you decided to leave? Stick to three main colours backed up by complementary colours to differentiate between elements like buttons, links, headers, footers and navigation. Something to help them stand out and make it easy for users.
3. Two main fonts
Be kind to the eyes, and use two main fonts to distinguish between different types of information, for example between navigation and text on your website. Use different font sizes or upper case text to differentiate between different levels of information hierarchy.
4. Ensure readability
Use white space, headers, footers and images to break up text and differentiate within the information hierarchy. This is especially important on key decision pages such as form submissions and check-out pages, where you want the information to be clearly displayed to avoid mistakes – and avoid the frustration of your would-be customers.
5. Group similar items together
Our brain is wired to associate information displayed in close proximity. This is why you’ll generally find the main navigation bar is grouped together at the top of the page. Other similar links are grouped and placed together (either the right or left sidebar or down the bottom of the page on the footer). It’s also much easier to search and find information if our brains instinctively know where to look.
6. Consistent navigation
The navigation bar is like an anchor which is why it is used to link back to important pages such as Home, About, or Contact Us. It’s good practice to keep important information consistent, and looks better too. Additionally, be sure to minimise steps when it comes to users completing tasks.
Completing a task or transaction (such as going through a shopping cart) should take no more than three steps. Finally, so customers can find what they're looking for a working search function is essential.
7. If unnecessary, leave it out
As business owners and marketers, you might feel pressured to include everything on your website or ask your visitors for a long list of information in exchange for nothing at all. Always ask yourself if the information you provide is valuable and relevant to your visitor, and in turn, always provide something valuable and relevant in exchange for information.
With regards to form submissions, a good rule to abide by is that the length of the form should mirror the value of the offer. In other words, you might be able to collect an email address in exchange for a $10 discount code, while a 10-page customer survey might be rewarded with a $50 voucher.
8. Confirming decisions – and making room for mistakes
Making a purchase can be deceptively easy so it is good practice to ask the user to confirm decisions before there is no turning back. If a visitor accidentally hits ‘pay now’, a simple confirmation page before the order is processed could save you both a lot of time and frustration.
For long questionnaires, tests, or surveys, always include a ‘back’ button to give your visitors the option to edit their answers and choices.
9. Omit navigation on key decision pages
With the principle of “if unnecessary, leave it out” in mind, omit all distractions on key decision pages such as check-out pages and form submission pages. You want your visitor to be 100% focused on providing you the information you need (business goal), so omitting all distractions will help your visitor stay laser-focused (user goal). Links, sharing buttons, and the navigation bar can all be included in a ‘Thank You’ page at the end of the transaction.
- A successful digital experience aligns business goals with user goals
- Customers are unlikely to return to your website if they have a bad experience
- Stick to three main colours and two main fonts for any website
- Make sure your website is easy to read and follow
- Keep your navigation consistent and group similar items together
- Always provide useful information – you don’t have to included everything
- Make sure your site can easily handle any customer mistakes
- Don’t distract your customer on key decision pages