Are you thinking about giving your website a makeover? Tired of its dated look? Frustrated with visitors arriving to your website and leaving without taking action? Here are seven ways you can update your design and achieve a higher-performing website.
1. Eliminate Clutter
It’s frustrating when you put so much effort into getting visitors to your site, only to have them leave almost instantaneously. One of the main reasons this happens is because the homepage is cluttered and unfocused. Overwhelming a new visitor with too much information to digest all at once can drive them to look elsewhere. Users get frustrated when all they wanted to do was get a simple answer or find and purchase a desired product.
Try a minimalist approach by adding more white space and removing unnecessary elements. You can be minimalist in your design strategy without being uninteresting. Use colorful, bold photography or typography, and don’t be afraid to balance those strong visual components with rich white space.
2. Reduce Copy
Tying in with clutter, your homepage might have too much copy. Typically, only 80% of web users scan copy and only 28% of words are read.
Strive toward limiting your content and refine the words you use. Be more efficient with your copy. A common rule to follow for homepage layouts is 70% imagery and 30% copy. The inner pages of your site may have sections requiring text-heavy blocks of information. There you can utilize white space and implement text hierarchy to give your content a cleaner look. Users often look for signposts which includes headings and sub-headings, bolded words, pull quotes, lists, and links.
“Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.” – Steve Krug, UX Professional
3. Follow Design Standards
If your website is not following design standards, you’re forcing your visitors to learn something new and, likely, unique to only your site.
According to Jakob’s Law of Web User Experience users spend most of their browsing time on websites other than yours. Use this to your advantage. Make sure your layout follows design standards so your website profits off the user’s learnt experiences from other sites. Help users concentrate on your content and move through your pages by being consistent with your design elements and their placement.
Examples of design standards are things like positioning the search bar at the top of your page. Your logo should be located at the top center or top left corner of the page. Avoid using design elements that look similar to your logo. Your logo should stand out and be easy to find. Reserve one color for your call-to-action buttons, and don’t use that color for anything else. As a rule of thumb, avoid using blue for any body text other than links.
4. Use Consistent Navigations
Continuing with the topic of design standards, inconsistent navigations can be very confusing and frustrating for new visitors to your site.
Make sure your navigation is consistent and easily found and understood. Your navigation labels should be specific, shouldn’t be more than three words each, and the first word should be the most informative. Consider using a sticky navigation that stays at the top of the page while the user scrolls down longer web pages. This makes it much easier to navigate without having to scroll up and down repeatedly.
Hamburger menus should be reserved for mobile sites. On desktop, avoid using hamburger menus—they are less noticeable, less recognizable, and decrease information scent. With mobile, it is preferable to show the most used menu options, while using the hamburger menu to hide those less used. Place your mobile site’s interface elements far enough apart to ensure the user can tap the navigation accurately every time. To increase user friendliness, incorporate breadcrumb menus on internal pages, allowing the user to know where they are in relation to the site.
5. Reduce File Sizes
When you open your current site in a browser, do the pages load slowly? Users leave websites if the load times are longer than even a few seconds. It may load fast in your opinion, but the user may still perceive your site as slow, based on factors like image load time and the smoothness of animations or video. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out this information, and its free. Bottom line: users want to visit pages that load quickly, real or perceived.
Always make sure your images are saved at smaller, web-friendly file sizes to help speed up the load time. You can also save your images as progressive jpegs. A standard jpeg file will load one horizontal line of pixels at a time, each line pixel perfect, but it can take a while to see the full image. With progressive jpegs, the entire image loads all at once. Pixelated at first, but soon you see a clear, fully loaded image. The file size for progressive jpegs is smaller too, providing a reduction in bandwidth needed and disk space.
6. Solve Scrolling Issues
Does your homepage have a false floor? In other words, does it look as if the page stops at the bottom of the browser (the fold) and give the impression there is no information to be found below, even though the page does continue?
You can solve this problem by having the content continue uninterrupted beyond the fold (half showing, half hidden), or by using arrows or labels to inform the user that if they continue scrolling, more information awaits them below. The longer the webpage, the less likely the user will scroll all the way to the bottom, so consider breaking up the long page into shorter ones.
7. Leverage the Latest Design Trends
Another to consider are the latest design trends you can employ to wow your visitors and let them know your business and website are fresh, exciting, and up to date, while keeping in line with your brand standards
Some popular web design trends for 2020 include type-only hero images, custom illustrations, outlined typography, larger than life font sizes, triggered animations, static 3-D graphics, and geometric shapes and patterns. Trendy color schemes include jewel tones, earthy hues, and simple black and white. Vintage-inspired colors and typography are in style too, merging nostalgia with modern design.
By using these web design tips, you can rest assured your visitors will have a better user experience, translating into improved site and business performance.