PHOTO: Egor Myznik
Designing a website can sometimes feel like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. A busy website laden with flashy graphics and excessive choice can overwhelm customers. Too few choices can result in opportunities being missed. What is the perfect medium?
We spoke to marketers and website designers for advice on how to make enough choices without too many.
“Fast, responsive, intuitive”
“For web design to be successful, it must be fast, responsive and intuitive so that users can quickly find what they need,” said Brian Cairns, CEO of ProStrategix Consulting. “It’s easy to get immersed in all of the design and performance that we lose track of why people use websites. Hubspot reports that 70% of users say that the most important attribute of a website is finding what I need quickly. A similar study by the NN Group found that 60% of users bounce off because they can’t find what they need. “
A website needs to have a clear idea of what people are looking for and a means to get them there asap, Cairns said. First through clear navigation. Then through a clear page design with a clear information hierarchy where the most important elements are the largest and the least important elements are the smallest.
While Amazon offers an overwhelming choice, it does so through a clear, focused organizational structure, Cairns said. “When you log in, you can see that the organizational structure is pretty clear. The first box on the left (what you see after the header) contains recommendations for you. Even if you search the entire page, the moment you make a selection, that second page will focus on that selection and you can buy from it right away. You can get on and off in 30 seconds – fast, responsive and intuitive. “
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Keep important details above the fold
“Above the Fold” is a newspaper term used to start important articles in the top half of a page, particularly the front and front pages of various sections.
The idea applies to website design as well, said Justin Smith, CEO of OuterBox. “Keep your key information above the crease so a shopper doesn’t have to scroll to see your call to action (CTA). Above the fold is the part of the page that loads as soon as you open the page. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to keep key product highlights, a picture, and information about the purchase, the front, and the center. If the information that appears the first time the page loads doesn’t grab the buyer’s attention, there’s a good chance they’ll bounce off your page and search elsewhere. “
Smith also recommended consolidating category pages when it makes sense. Think about whether you really need a separate category for women’s football shoes, women’s tennis shoes, and women’s basketball shoes, or whether you could just use “women’s athletic shoes” instead. While it’s great to get really specific with your content, too many category pages disrupt your navigation and make it difficult for users to navigate. When it comes to your category pages, it’s a balance between specificity and purposefulness without creating unnecessary clutter.
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Eliminate UI / UX elements with the lowest conversion rates
According to Gleb Hodorovskyi, co-founder of Conversionrate.store, good tracking is needed to analyze click reports about every possible user’s click and other actions. “However, do not delete items that are based solely on these reports, as correlation does not always mean a cause and effect relationship. So create an alternate, simplified version of the web design based on the collected data and then test the effects of A / B. “
Hodorovskyi also advised against blindly following UX best practices. For example, many CRO and UX experts recommend having only one call to action per page. However, users may have a number of goals and tasks to complete. Or people prefer different solutions to achieve the same goal.
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Big website trends for 2021
Advances in AI technology and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on customer internet use are two major drivers of website design in 2021, said Brian Byer, vice president and general manager of Blue Fountain Media, a Pactera EDGE company. The five most dominant trends he sees:
- Algorithmic experiences: Standard practices based on a passive user experience will give way to those that help place users in the driver’s seat. Algorithms enable a user-centered, comprehensive experience that responds to the increasingly demanding needs of website navigators. Make sure that website design is less about targeting beautiful pages and more about anticipating users’ needs and expanding their skills to do what they want, when they want.
- Parallax is becoming increasingly popular: Users have since found that the technique of panning backgrounds degrades page navigation and readability (especially on desktops and laptops). When parallax is used creatively, it can result in an engaging landing page. However, if you use them for something else, your website visitors are likely to jump to a competitor’s website.
- Improved detection of dark mode users: Mobile device manufacturers are encouraging users to choose “dark mode” to reduce the battery consumption of their devices. And users stick to it. For website designers, this offers a new way of having your important design images “burst” against the black background. Use it strategically to capture more engagement and improve site navigation.
- Embrace the transparency of your customers: To support the algorithms that ultimately create a better, more personalized user experience, you need to gather information about your customers at virtually every touchpoint. Knowing customers is important, but also being transparent about what information you are collecting and why you are collecting it. This is not just a regulatory requirement. it also makes business sense. Users value a brand that is knowledgeable about their data collection methods.
- Rule for modular design and development elements: A new best practice is to enable reusable modules that can be deployed in various corporate web properties – without having to start over. The key is that these modules can be easily modified by the users to create different interface options and user experiences – without disrupting the Apple Cart.
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