Help the case: best practices for user-friendly design

Users are capricious creatures. They want your website to constantly evolve. Change in line with their hard-to-catch-up expectations. They look for more and when they can’t get it they abandon you like a harp seal leaves behind her pups. And yet, the visitors in their insatiable hanker for alignment give your website what fuels it the most – traffic. However, before you slice the pie to celebrate your 1000th customer, you will have to spare some thought on check-marking some of the best practices for website design.

Speed

Half of a second. That is the time difference between loading 10 and 30 results for Google Search. Not that much? Well, it causes traffic to drop by 20%. If this small fraction can hurt the ultimate search engine, think of the havoc it can cause to your website. Because page speed optimization is what matters. To make it real, you have to keep a weather eye on features that sooner or later will set the alarm off. Start by checking the latest web hosting speed test. Verify the size of the images on your website. Control the transition effects and the surplus of code. Look for the content that makes your site linger. On top of this all, try to get used to the thought that when the user starts tapping fingers on the table, your conversion rate will probably sink, and sink hard.

Navigation

What would you like to attract your attention? Probably nothing, and that’s the catch. On the one hand, you feel pleased being introduced to a site you might have already seen once. Actually, you do not think of it as a website, but as familiar space that you know how to navigate. The top menu follows the page as you scroll down. Black typography contrasts nicely against the light background. In the attempt to leave a message for the site’s owner, you get only two or three contact form fields to fill in. That’s comfort we can’t deny. On the flip side, a well-designed web page template still needs to balance out the impression of familiarity and the freshness of novelty. A visit should shake the user up – urge to stay longer by discreetly unfolding next chapters of the story. Usually, the first 10 seconds are critical. When survived, it only gets easier.

Responsive

In a time of mobile frenzy, a website that is hard to swallow for small devices is practically of no use. Fortunately, if you run your business only through a base, desktop funnel, you might need just a little effort to change the target. Many web dev companies have worked out their own ways to effectively bring the same desktop content to smaller screens – often with a zero loss of functionality across breakpoints. For that reason, even big brands that oftentimes take their steps toward reconstruction reluctantly, are becoming more and more enthusiastic about responsive web design. They do it to enhance user-friendliness and add a sense of attractive story-telling – accentuated with a batch of dynamic additions, such as parallax and other visual effects.

W3

Websites are not superior goods. They should serve everyone in the same equal manner. This web manifesto, coined by Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web, carries a lot of meaning. It shows that developers really care about building the most accessible websites possible. For example, they can convert text to audio to help visually impaired users. By transferring the weight of navigation from mouse to keyboard, they support those with motor impairment. Finally, with the assistance of designers, they look for a way to match as eye-friendly colors to our website as technologically possible. With W3C guidelines, those who stand behind websites development, signal the readiness to topple the barriers that the real world creates, but the Internet ingeniously overcomes.

User-friendly design patterns have no bottom line. The four aspects presented here are only the ones usually recommended in every discussion on the topic. Shortly, these aspects, namely navigation and responsive web design, will become absolutely common. Luckily, when an ecosystem is bursting with ideas, there’s always room for improvement, and the design is basically where the fun begins.       

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4+ years experience in working with global and local partners from the web development industry. He combines strong communication and project management skill-set that helps him develop new opportunities and turn them into long-lasting relationships. Outside front-end and CMS landscape, he writes about film music and performs in improv theatre.

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