Your website is only as effective as the people who have to use it. Here’s how designing a better user interface can directly influence sales.
As of the end of 2017, there were 1,766,926,408 websites online (internetlivestats.com), and the number keeps growing by the second. Granted, not all of these are active, but you get the point. Chances are you’ve visited your fair share of them – some of them good and some of them downright offensive to the eyeballs (like this one).
What made the good ones good? What would make the not-so-good ones better? While there are probably a hundred answers to these questions – there’s one that makes all the difference between the two. User interface design (UI).
Just like we instinctively know to read a book from left to right (unless you’re in China) or how to open a door, or how to operate a lawn mower – humans are creatures of habit. It’s what determines how we react to certain stimuli every time, forming a set of predictable behaviours based on familiar, comfortable experiences.
The same rings true in website design. According to Stef Miller, Marketing Manager at UserTesting, “Certain elements of a site trigger certain behaviours in people.”
Let’s take a look at some of these elements and how they can be used to create high-converting, familiar user centred designs.
Simple is better
In the process of trying to produce a trendy new look, many website designers end up creating a cluttered monster instead. Too many flashing images, menus in unexpected places, text that goes on for days, clashing colours and poorly formatted imagery are all rookie mistakes that could make your website that much harder for people to look at, let alone navigate.
It’s important to follow certain website standards and conventions which exist to make websites feel familiar from site to site, making it easier for anyone and their dog to navigate. This includes everything from logo placement and main navigation to content hierarchy and link styling. This doesn’t mean that your website has to follow a cookie cutter approach. A good designer will know how to blend conventional components with creative design.
Say more with less
When a user gets to your website, their goal is to get as much information with as little effort as possible. Long-winded technical speak on the ‘mechanical advantage of our cutting-edge crystallisation method to apply synergistic torque’ may seem smart and impressive to you, but if all your visitor is looking for is a spanner for their DIY project – it’s better to be direct and concise.
An action for every reaction
The point of any website is to get the user to do something – buy a product, get a quote, register for an event, sign up for a demo, request a callback. Whatever it is, your call-to-action (CTA) should be as obvious as possible to get to and complete. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
High performing call-to-action buttons are those that are instantly recognisable and tells tell your visitors what they’re going to get when they click. Instead of placing multiple call-to-actions at every point, use a more strategic approach and place one compelling button where the user is most likely prepared to make a decision.
Fast and 404-free wins the race
Research indicates that 53% of people will leave a web page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load (MachMetrics). Every fraction of a second your website takes to load compounds the frustration of the visitor. Encountering multiple site errors adds fuel to the fire, ultimately resulting in a lost customer (and possibly a broken keyboard).
The moral of the story: Don’t make them wait and make sure your links work.
Go with the flow
When a user gets to your site, they essentially embark on a mini journey, from discovery to decision. Your website should be designed in such a way to get them from Point A to Point B in as little steps and as effortlessly as possible.
Depending on your business objectives, user needs and where traffic is coming from, it’s important to map out the sequence of actions that could potentially lead your visitors through your website to the ultimate end goal.
Here is an example of user flows that work:
While it may be tempting to go for a website that is completely out of the ordinary, it’s important to understand how user interface design will create a better experience for users. Everything you put into your website should work towards one, overarching goal – to get good conversions.
If you’re looking to build a beautiful, user friendly website that converts – drop me a line and I’ll walk you through it.