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When it comes to web design, the user experience is paramount. If the user isn't happy with how a site operates, they will be unlikely to engage or to return. Whatever your business, your main objective when designing a website should be to improve the UX. These five simple tips will help freelance web designers and developers of all levels concentrate on creating a fantastic user experience for their website that will keep visitors coming back.
The best user experiences occur when the site connects with the user and perfectly serves their desired purpose. The only way to ensure your site is fit for a user's purpose is to conduct detailed research of your intended demographic. Define exactly who you want to target and take time to get to know what they would want from the perfect website.
Only by researching the intended user will you be able to cater to their needs adequately. Narrow down your research to be as precise as possible. It's better to provide fully for the needs of one demographic than partially for a wide range of markets.
An efficient and seamless user experience is built from the ground up. Before making any changes to your site, write a detailed plan that outlines the website in its entirety. Creating a site map will help you to gain a valuable perspective on the many pathways users may take while navigating the site, so you can easily spot any trouble areas before they become an issue.
Having an outline will also allow you to set and control the tone for your site easily. Your site is an extension of your brand and, as such, should be consistent in message and marketing. With an outline, you can plan to make sweeping changes that stay on-brand throughout the site.
To make the experience of using your site stand out from the crowd, you need it to project your personality. A website user typically has a wide choice of similar sites available to them and the only surefire way to make yours stand out is to make it personal. Decide on a brand voice and inject it throughout the project.
Take what you've learned about your typical users and try to connect with them on an authentic level. Your brand voice should be appropriate for your industry and for the service you provide while also being unique enough to attract positive attention. As an extension of your brand, your website is a great opportunity to further your marketing efforts and reinforce your voice through the application of personality.
After filling a site full of bright and engaging content, you need to sort through the mass you've created to make it streamlined and efficient. More isn't always better. Read through your site and cut out anything that isn't clearly adding value or promoting your brand. Out-dated or irrelevant pages only serve to clutter your site and make it less accessible.
The best websites appear the most simple. The user should have everything they need within easy reach. Test the site as if you were a user with specific intentions. The fewer clicks required to reach your end goal, the more efficient your website and the better user experience it will provide.
Even the most well-designed site will quickly fall behind the competition if it's not regularly fine-tuned. Make it easy for users to get in touch and take their comments seriously. If they have criticisms, requests or recommendations, take the time to address their concerns. The best websites, like the best businesses, are the ones that can change with the times. The digital landscape is notoriously fast-paced and any site that stands still will be left behind.
User experience is a modern and natural evolution of customer satisfaction. A website with a well-designed user experience will see improved customer satisfaction and increased click-through rates. More leads will turn into sales and more visitors will become valued customers. Time and money invested in enhancing the user experience is always well spent.