Creative Lead, 7+ Years of Web Design and Development Experience
July 27th, 2016
Making sure your website is visually appealing to your users and understandable are the key aspects to most every - if not all - website designs.
As the internet has matured, it’s become more and more difficult for website owners to keep the attention of their users. Now, more than ever, we need to engage our users and give them an experience that they can remember.
Many websites are able to achieve this by using psychological aspects that help users better connect with your brand and provoke users to act on the products you are promoting.
This does not mean simply adding more interactivity and flashy animations. You need to use your brand to connect with users emotionally, gain their trust, and persuade them to purchase.
It may seem like a daunting task to keep your website up-to-date and interesting at all times, but making this conscious effort is what makes your website stand out from the competition and truly shares your brand's personality.
To help with this effort, here are 4 UX strategies you can follow to provide a more engaging experience for your users so they keep coming back.
1. Follow The F-Pattern
About a decade ago, the Nielsen Norman Group ran an eye-tracking study on 232 users across a variety of pages across the web.
Their findings? Well, the dominant reading pattern for most of the users was one that looked similar to the letter ‘F’.
Users would first read horizontally across the top region of the page, then move down and read horizontally again, but slightly shorter, then down the page in a vertical movement.
This means that in order for your website to deliver the most value within the first few seconds, you need to make sure your content is organized properly.
Your most important and attention-catching information should be located at the top of the page, this should help users the main purpose of it.
Make sure your headers are informative and resonate with your personas, so they can quickly scan them and know what the page has to offer.
Speaking of scanning, it’s important to note that most users will not read your information word for word.
They want to collect the information quickly so they know what sites to visit later when considering purchasing your product. So, don’t create more work for yourself and your audience by cramming it with text.
Rolex effectively used the F-pattern across their homepage.
Their hero area utilizes an eye-catching header that then leads your eye to the beautiful image to the right of it. From there users can scan the text below and continue vertically through the rest of the site.
2. Create a Memorable & Consistent Design
Users shouldn’t be navigating throughout your site wondering whether or not they are still on the same domain or not. Branding across your site needs to stay consistent across all pages so users subconsciously pick up on the style of your website.
To help win users over with your branding, make sure you have a logo that reflects your brand and its essence. If you know that isn’t the case, a logo redesign might be a good start.
From here, you should have a color palette that is able to effectively express how you want your brand to be perceived. Pay attention to color theory and competitors to make sure you are on the right track. This should help lead you to choose proper imagery that reflects your company and products.
If you find these areas are lackluster, chances are your users will feel the same.
In order to make sure your design is memorable, you need to make sure your website has unique elements in its design to make it stand out.
This could mean using a unique interactive form, a frictionless eCommerce product purchase, a blog that’s more personality based, or a tool you know your users will just have to use.
For example, I really love Groupon’s checkout process, be it mobile or desktop.
Unlike many eCommerce websites, they manage to keep all the steps you need to complete on one page without being intimidating or cluttered.
It makes check-out easy and the easier something is to do, the more likely people are to do it again.
3. Create Compelling & Organized Content
As Neil Patel once said, “There’s a big difference between content and compellingcontent.”
You content needs to resonate with your users, persuade them to convert, and most importantly, matter so they actually have a reason to care about what you're saying.
To help hit these marks, your content first needs to speak to your user’s pain points. For example, if you're a web design agency, saying you make websites is cool and all, but how will it help someone as a business owner?
Using creative headers, or better yet, ones that evoke curiosity, can help entice users to read more into your content.
If your content itself is pretty high level, make sure not to go into too much detail. Rather, explain it in a way that users will understand at a base level how your product can help them.
Now comes organizing it. Break your content up into easily segmented sections, led by a header. Make sure the subheader content with it isn’t more than a couple sentences.
To help keep users moving down the page, use imagery that either showcases your product or company. This not only adds credibility to your brand, but it allows your users’ eyes to relax on something they doesn’t require focus..
Nest Thermostat utilizes these techniques throughout their product pages so users understand how their product not only solves their needs, but also how it stands apart from its competitors.
All the information describing the product is broken up into a variety of sections that showcase images of the product in realistic environments. This allows users to easily understand what content is connected to what images and how the pages hierarchy is structured.
4. Bring Your Brand to Life
Many websites choose to keep their experience fairly static and miss the opportunity to add any personality or human elements.
Video is one of the best ways to do this as it can give your company a chance to show a more personal side to your business while also giving your company a more trustworthy face.
Though the thought of filming your company can be a bit intimidating, or you may feel your product isn't ‘sexy’ enough to put into a video, HubSpot found that customers who view product videos are 85% more likely to make a purchase.
So, rather than highlighting your product directly, consider having an employee sit and talk about its benefits, or better yet, maybe a client.
Utilizing video will also help set you apart from your competitors since you’re utilizing a unique way users can learn about your company in a quick and visual manner.
Beats Headphones accomplished this on their homepage hero area. In their short, 25 second video, the users aren't actually told anything about the product, but are instead left with another URL evoking curiosity to continue to learn more about the product.
This helps users feel the need to learn more about the ‘story’ (or product), furthering their investigation into it. From here, make sure anything beyond this point helps answer your users questions so they feel confident your product is the answer to their needs.
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