Two Steps To User-Centred Web Design

Failing to integrate website design into your primary marketing strategy can jeopardise your business more than you realise.

In our previous article, we explained just how powerful the homepage alone can be when it comes to influencing customer perception. Prospects take a cursory scan through the homepage and decide instantaneously whether they want to stick around, characterised by a bit of a like-or-flight response. Essentially, time is of the essence for the modern day consumer – whose attention span, according to scientists, has been shortened to just 8 seconds thanks to a highly digitalised lifestyle.

So now, let’s go beyond the homepage. According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, it takes less than 0.02 seconds for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they have perused your website – ‘perused’ being the keyword.

It means your visitor has taken their time examining other elements on your website and will decide from there – in less than a second – if they like your business, whether it’s based on website performance or brand credibility.

That’s how important your web design is. It’s not just to make your brand visible online, but more importantly, likeable from a user perspective.

It takes less than 0.02 seconds for a website visitor to form a first opinion of your brand

So What’s a Good Design?

There’s a paramount rule that you must stick by when designing your website: enhanced user experience (UX). That’s it.

Andrew Kucheriavy, founder and CEO of Intechnic, couldn’t have said it better. In his blog post titled, Good UX is Good Business, he said UX makes complex things easy to use.

User-centred design focuses on improving how users interact with your website. While ‘UX’ is relatively new in terms of digital marketing jargon, the idea of a user-friendly design has existed for decades. A UX website design is tied to a number of different concepts, such as ease of use, ease of navigation, simplicity and creativity without compromising clarity.

Ultimately, it’s what your target customers desire – and how you think your business can satisfy them – that you need to tailor your web design strategy around.

What User-Centred Design Can Do for You

A study conducted by Forrester reveals businesses that have invested in UX have experienced lower support cost, decreased cost of customer acquisition, improved customer retention and increased market share. It also reveals that an average of $100 in return is brought by every $1 in investment. That gives you an ROI of a whopping 9,900%. Not only that, a user-centred website also refocuses your business on customer needs, produces a higher number of successful customer interactions and increases customer trust.

Essentially, it’s a win-win situation. Have the user at the core of your efforts; give them exactly what they want in the way that they want, and they’re much more likely to convert.

Implementing User-Centred Web Design

An actual UX design requires profound and comprehensive understanding of the users’ needs. This information enables designers to create a solution that solves users’ problems and helps them complete their tasks as easy as possible. Investing in user research is therefore paramount.

1. Focus on usability.

According to a Hubspot survey, 76% of respondents ranked ‘ease of finding information’ as the most important element of a website’s design. If your website is too complicated to navigate, with content too difficult to understand or functionality too awkward to use, your site will likely fail to meet its objectives.

Here’s how you can enhance website usability:

  • Make your design mobile-responsive.
  • Choose a simple design over something unnecessarily complex – remember less is sometimes more. Consider readability and contrast when it comes to selecting colours, fonts and the size of your site elements.
  • Keep your navigation simple and intuitive.
  • Enable your site to react to the user’s actions – if they hover over a clickable element, make this visually obvious.
  • Make it easy for users to contact you.
  • Avoid choice paralysis – make your key pages prominent and put as few clicks between the user and what they need as possible.
76% rank ‘ease of finding information’ as the most important element of a website

2. Conduct proper planning and testing.

Include a step in your project flow that detects and addresses potential usability issues. One of the elements involved in this stage is wireframing. Essentially, a wireframe is a blueprint of the website’s content. It focuses on the substance, such as content, structure and functionality, rather than design elements or colours.

The creation of a user-centred website requires both technical experience and human sympathy. Imagine if you were a customer visiting your website, do you like what you see? Is it engaging or responsive enough to make you stay?

It’s a collaboration of various disciplines that look into both the physical, as well as the emotional experiences created by the website. Essentially the more user-friendly your site is, the more satisfied your visitors will be and therefore the more confidence they will have in your brand and your product.

Remember – in our hyper-connected world, the best experiences are simple yet effective.

Mark Warman - Founder & Digital Consultant Administrator

With a background in design, technology and user experience, I help businesses adapt. Adapt to the changing needs and expectations of their digital audiences.