When you build your website, there’s more to think about than just writing your content and putting your product out there for your customers to purchase. Once a visitor has reached your website, you want them to enjoy their experience on your site so that they feel encouraged to come back and recommend it to others. One way you can do this is to make sure you have a user centered design on your site with easy user flow. Here, Virtual Market Advantage will go over how to achieve “user centered design” and what you can do to make your site user friendly with smooth user flow.
The Basics of User Centered Design
When you set out to build a website using user centered design, or UCD, there are a few things you should know. Your design should be based on the understanding of your users, tasks, and environment. The process should keep in mind how the users will view and interact with the interface throughout the design and development process. Here are the phases of using UCD to build your website:
- Specify the context of using your product - Identify the people who will be using your product, what they use it for, and under what circumstances will they be using it.
- Specify requirements - Be aware of any business requirements or goals that must be met for your product to become successful.
- Create design solutions - This process can be done in stages from the first rough draft to the final design. Continually test the design and make changes where necessary when problems arise.
- Evaluate designs – Final evaluations should ideally be done with actual users, so you can test the quality of the site and the software development in a real-world context.
Avoid Overwhelming Your Visitors
Allowing your users to focus while they are on your site is one of the most important goals to achieve in your website design. If you overwhelm the visitor with too much content or too busy of a design, they will lose focus about why they came to your site in the first place and may leave. Here are a few steps to remember to help you minimize distractions as much as possible:
- Trim the Fat - The first step you need to take is to get rid of anything on your site that’s unnecessary. This includes design, content, and extra UI elements. Just follow the principals of minimalism when you're building your website, and remember that less is more.
- Prioritize Content and Features - Do not try to place everything you want your user to see on one single page. Place your content on pages that flow with the user as they navigate. The setup will change with the type of business you run. Offer your content on separate pages, allowing your users space to enjoy the entire website rather than be overwhelmed by one single page full of all the information.
- Divide and Conquer - Remember that the human brain has limitations, and try to chunk your information into more manageable segments. Information forms are a perfect example. Chunking out steps of information for the user is easier for them to process and follow than one long lengthy form. This helps keep your user calm, focused, and able to complete the process on your website.
Clarity on Your Site
When your users know what to expect, they will be more than happy to interact with your site. Here are a few tips to help provide more clarity:
- Clearly Label Elements - Any interactive elements on your page (like buttons) should be clearly labeled with their functions.
- Make Your Design Consistent - When the same elements on your UI look different in different parts of the website, this can become confusing for the user. Maintain a consistent design throughout your website to give users the knowledge of how to use your website at each stage.
- Simple Navigation - Users should be able to get around to different parts of your website with ease. They should also be able to know where they are on the site at all times.
Shorten the Steps
Too many steps in using your website can lead to friction for the user. Keeping the steps simple and getting rid of all unnecessary processes in the user flow will help simplify the website and the user experience:
Use Default Settings - Default settings are rarely changed by the users, and provide a comfortable, recognizable interface. This can be helpful to user flow on your site.
Offer a Personalized Experience - Use any data you have about your users to help enhance their experience. Give them recommendations based on past purchases or search histories on your site.
Offer Auto-Populate Details - There are times when data can be automatically filled. For example, when a user has to enter credit card information, you can offer the option to scan the card so they can save time in process on your site next time they visit.
Keeping simple design ideas in mind and minimizing content are the best ways to encourage users to stick around on your website and visit again in the future. Take time to make sure that you’re using user centered design and don’t rush the process. Test out your design with real users of your site and listen to what they say they’re looking for when they visit. Smooth user flow is key to getting more visitors and sales from your website.
Another important aspect to consider when designing your website is choosing the right niche. Learn more here!