What Makes A Great Web Design Experience?
One of those words in the title above should give you a huge clue. It’s all about the user experience. A website should be easy to use, no matter what platform they are on. Things like quick load times and elements that are easy to tap on mobile devices are just a few things that contribute to great website design. Let’s take an in-depth look at what makes a great web design experience for everyone.
Easy to Read Text
I don’t know where this trend came from, but light grey text on a white background is not easy to read. The key to easily read text is contrast. The contrast from the background doesn’t just mean the color of the text and the background. It also has to do with the line-height, or the space between each line of text. The typeface is key, too. There has to be enough contrast between positive and negative space for each letter. Your body copy is not the place to “get funky”.
Even though people say they hate the hamburger navigation menu, everyone knows it stands for a mobile menu. Don’t cram a bunch of menu items at the top of a mobile screen. Use a mobile menu that either slides out from the side, or overlays on top of the content. Here are some other quick tips for great website navigation.
- On a mobile menu, give each menu item plenty of space above and below, to save users from unintentionally clicking the wrong item.
- Add hover effects and hover states in CSS to help users understand where they are.
- Open all external links in a new tab, so they don’t leave your site.
- Make sure that there aren’t spacing issues with drop down menus, wrecking functionality.
- Keep menu text short and sweet, so they degrade to mobile sizes easily.
- Don’t make drop down menus too long. Instead, turn them into mega menus, with columns of menu items.
Online forms help you collect data and information from potential customers. This is vital to your business, and depending on your profit per customer, it can be something that is costly if it doesn’t work properly. For online forms:
- Display form errors! Show people what they did wrong so they can fix it.
- Mark required items as being required.
- Display a thank you message once a form is submitted. Nothing is worse than submitting a form and having your user sitting there questioning “Did it work?”
- Use responsive forms, like the Ninja Forms plugin for WordPress, to appeal to mobile users.
- Color reset and submit buttons properly and intuitively. I have hit green reset buttons, making me have to do everything over again.
Use Headings and Text Hierarchy
Break up your content with headings for different sections. This makes it easy for people to skim your content and skip right to what they were looking for. Counter-intuitively, this will lower your bounce rate, because people won’t just look at a giant glob of text and then leave. They’ll take the time to skim your headlines and skip to the paragraph that contains the information they are looking for. HubSpot is a fan of large, bold typography.
Use a “back to top” button for long pages
There are 3 solutions to long pages. One is to use a button labeled “back to top” to pop users directly to the top of the page. The second is to have a menu that follows them as they scroll down the page, so they can always access it. The third is to add a copy of your menu at the bottom of the page.
Make Social Sharing Buttons Easily Accessible
You want easy access for your users to share your content. Let’s face it; people are lazy. They’ll debate longer about finding the button to share it than actually clicking it. Make it easy for them. However, watch some floating social menus, because they can sometimes block content like text, on mobile devices.
On mobile devices, make tap areas large enough
Have you ever tried to tap something on a website and ended up where you didn’t want to be? I sure have, and it’s frustrating as heck. I find my self literally exclaiming out loud “That’s not where I wanted to go!” Don’t do that to your users. Create active areas large enough on mobile devices so that even people with large fingers and thumbs can hit them without error.
Keep Everything Simple!
The bottom line is that you should make everything easy to use. No one wants to be challenged when they are browsing a website. They want to get it, find what they’re looking for, and move on with their life. If you make that happen for you’re users, you’re already ahead of the pack! Great web design is as much about the experience as it is the look!
Also published on Medium.