Usability and practicality, not the visual design, determine the success or failure of any website. Since it is the user who is the only one who clicks the mouse and thus makes all decisions, one of the standard approaches for creating successful and profitable web designs is user-centric design. In the end, if the user does not know how to use this or that function, it can be easily neglected.
In this article, we will not consider implementation details (for example, where you need to locate the search field), but rather concentrate here on the main principles, heuristic methods and approaches to create an effective web design, which, when used wisely, can lead to more correct design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving the information provided.
First of all, to use the principles correctly, we need to know how users interact with the website, what they think about, and what their behavior model is.
Users want to control. Users need to control the browser and rely on the correct transfer of data through the site. For example, they do not want pop-up windows to suddenly open, and they want to be able to return to the previous page by clicking the back button. From here, it is necessary to follow one of the most important practices -never open the link in a new browser window.
1. Do not make users think
Under Circle’s first law of usability, a web page should be obvious. When you create a design, your main task – to get rid of questions – users must make all decisions consciously, taking into account the pros, cons, and alternatives.
If the navigation and structure of the site are not intuitive, the number of questions arises and it becomes more difficult for users to understand how the system works and, correct visual hints and easily recognizable links will help users find the way to their goal.
Although the design is simple and intuitive, users will need to look for answers to understand what this page is about. This is a prime example of unwanted questions. The task of the designer is to make the number of questions tend to zero. A visual explanation is on the right. Even just by interchanging both blocks, it would be possible to increase usability.
ExpressionEngine uses the same structure as Beyondis but avoids unnecessary questions. Moreover, the slogan has its function, inviting users to make a choice: try their service or download the free version.
Reducing the cognitive load, you simplify the perception of the idea by visitors. Once you have achieved this, you can explain how the system is useful and how users can benefit from it. People will not use your website if they cannot understand it.
2. Do not test user patience
In each project where you intend to offer your visitors a service, try to minimize user requirements. The fewer actions a user needs to try your service, the more likely it is that an occasional visitor will try it in action. The first time visitors to the site want to try the service, rather than filling out long forms to create an account that they may not use at all. Allow users to wander around the site and try to use your service without “pulling” personal data from them.
3. Concentrate user attention
When a website contains both static and dynamic content, some aspects of the user interface attract more attention than others. The pictures are more catchy than the text – just as the sentences in bold are more visible than the usual ones.
The human eye is a complex nonlinear device and web users can instantly determine borders, patterns, and movement. Therefore, advertising based on a video or containing moving objects is incredibly annoying and distracting, but from the marketing side it performs its function – it attracts the attention of the user.
If you focus users on certain objects of the site (with the correct use of visual elements), you can help your users get from point A to point B without much thought about how to do this. The fewer questions visitors get, the better they are.and the more they trust the company that the website represents. In other words: the less the user needs to think about the meaning of his actions, the better his impression of the site – which is the main principle of usability.
4. Strive to show the most significant things
Modern web designs are often criticized for their approach to using “steps”, huge buttons, heaps of effects, etc. But from a design point of view, such elements are not so bad. On the contrary, such elements are very effective, because they facilitate the transition of users between parts of the site.
Letting users know which features are available is a fundamental principle in successful design. It doesn’t matter how you achieve this. The important thing is how easily the content is perceived and how easy it is for users to work with the system.