The Fundamentals Of UX Design For Websites (5 Principles & Tips)
When visiting a modern website, there’s a certain level of quality we have come to expect. We don’t want to be wasting our time waiting for each page to load, or having difficulty finding the information we need. We want fast, intuitive, and satisfying experiences.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the fundamentals of UX design for websites. What is it? And why is it so important?
If you are ready to take your website to even greater heights, gain more conversions, and please the search engine gods, read on and I’ll tell you everything you need to know…
What is UX design?
UX stands for: ‘user experience’. As such, UX design is all about ensuring that your website is as functional and it is aesthetically pleasing.
The aim is to provide a pleasurable on-page experience so website visitors not only spend more time navigating your website but are also far more likely to find a positive conclusion (e.g., signing up for your services or buying your products.
Without proper UX design, websites can feel clunky and unintuitive – which is a massive disadvantage in the modern digital marketplace.
Why is UX design so important?
Fundamentally, proper UX design is important because it helps you deliver a superior on-page experience for your website visitors. As a business owner, you have a duty of care to the people who interact with your brand – especially if you want them to convert into loyal paying customers.
Not only that, but UX design matters to Google. In their recent ‘people-first’ algorithm update they announced their commitment to rewarding websites that put their users first with more visibility.
For example, quality content that solves problems and provides high-value information. However, it goes far beyond the content, but every other aspect of the website itself, such as page load speed and internal linking.
The better the UX design, the more satisfying an on-page experience your users will have. Thus, the lower your bounce rate and the longer they will likely be to spend even more time on your website.
All of these things send positive ranking signals to Google. If people are spending longer on your website, it indicates to Google that your website is clearly interesting and serving a positive purpose. As such, they will reward you with even more visibility, thus increasing your traffic and (hopefully) conversions.
It’s a win-win-win and it brings new depth and greater meaning to the phrase: “Build it and they will come!”
With that in mind, let’s explore the 5 principles of UX design…
The 5 principles of UX design
There are five core principles to UX design. Once you better understand these, you’ll be well-positioned to bolster your website and improve every single necessary aspect for the betterment of your prospective customers.
The first principle of UX design is relevance. If a user ends up on your website and it does not properly accommodate their needs, it isn’t relevant to them. And if a website isn’t relevant to them, it will be a disappointing experience and they will abandon the search and look elsewhere.
This is particularly important when you are doing your keyword research:
- What are the most relevant keywords for your industry and the products/services you offer?
- What is the ‘search intent’ behind those keywords? (e.g., what outcomes are users looking for when they actively type your focus keywords into Google).
When you better understand the search intent behind those focus keywords, you can adapt your messaging accordingly.
That way, when people do eventually find your website via those key phrases, their expectations will be met (and hopefully, exceeded).
But it’s not just the messaging that must be relevant. You should also think about the design itself. It may well encapsulate your brand, but does it resonate with your target audience?
The second principle of UX design is usability. How easy is it for people to achieve their goals when they visit your website?
- Do you have an intuitive checkout process? Is it mandatory to create an account to make a purchase or can they buy as guests and create an account later?
- How simple are your forms to fill out? Are you asking for too much information from them? How many hoops do they need to jump through to get to the next stage?
- Can users easily browse your website? Is it a fun experience heading from one blog post to another or is it otherwise exhausting?
Keep things simple. As a rule of thumb, if a design choice looks great but makes things slightly more complicated, then it is a very bad design choice.
Website navigation is arguably the most important UX design principle of all. If your website visitors are struggling to navigate your website and find the information they need, you’re going to put a lot of prospective customers off.
The whole process should be painless – and as intuitive as possible.
- How clear is the navigation menu? Is it visible at all times? Are the various sections clearly labeled and categorized?
- What are people heading to your website for? You must make these elements immediately apparent and easy to identify.
One great way to improve the navigation of your website is via internal linking. Every single page in your website (and blog post) should be connected one way or another. Create a hierarchical structure that intuitively leads your website visitors on a journey, should they choose to follow your hyperlinks.
For example, you could link to a blog post in your FAQ section to provide further information on a specific subject. Then, within that blog post you could link to various relevant products or services, followed by a CTA and a link to another blog post for further exploration should they be interested.
The best part? Proper internal linking is also a handy SEO task that can help Google better crawl and index your website, thus leading to higher rankings.
This SEO company in Abu Dhabi is a prime example of a website with seamless navigation. It is very clear and concise and finding the information you need in as few steps as possible is practically effortless.
The fourth UX design principle is accessibility. Making your website as accessible as possible to a wider audience is very important – particularly for those who may have certain disabilities or difficulties.
Not only is this the courteous thing to do, but it reflects very well on your brand when you actively make changes to your website to accommodate people of all accessibility levels.
- How accessible is the written content on your website?
– Do you have a good-sized font that is clearly legible?
– Do you use simple and accessible language?
– Is the messaging relevant to your target audience?
- Do your embedded videos have subtitles for those who may be visually impaired?
- Can your website visitors have the option to listen to an audio version of your blog posts if they struggle with dyslexia?
- For those who may not be able to use a mouse, can they navigate your website using a keyboard only function?
- Do your images have descriptive image alt text?
There are many, many accessibility features you can implement and the better you can accommodate your broader audience, the greater your conversions will be.
The fifth principle of UX design is familiarity. While you certainly want your website to be unique and memorable, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel! Most modern internet users have grown accustomed to using a typical website and if you have certain features that don’t work as expected, it can throw a lot of people off.
For example, picture a normal contact form in your mind. You know roughly how it should look, feel, and function, right? Good! Now make sure your contact forms are similarly familiar.
The same applies to your logo placement, navigation menu, search bar, and CTA. Any drastic changes to the status quo in this regard will add unnecessary confusion and you may end up losing prospective customers as a result.
Conclusion: Think of it like hosting a dinner party
Imagine your website is your home and your website visitors are your dinner guests. You want them to have a good time right? To feel immediately welcome and at home when they walk through the door? To have a delicious meal and some great conversation with good people?
Proper UX design is the same in principle. Put your best foot forward and do everything you can to provide a comfortable, seamless, relevant, and satisfying experience.
Stick to those 5 principles and you will have no trouble creating a truly exceptional website that is bound for success. If you want to blow your competitors out of the water and attract more loyal, ‘ready to spend’ customers, proper UX design is the way to go!