DC Website Design and the User Experience
DC Companies are realizing that great website design is extremely important for a positive user experience because users often leave web pages within the first 10-20 seconds. The possibility of a user leaving a website within the first few seconds is high as users are often cynical because they have visited so many poorly designed pages in the past. People behave accordingly because they don’t have much time to waste.
(Take a look at this webpage. How long does it take you to find out where you need to go? Better yet, how frustrated have you become searching for what you want? Do you think you would stay on this website? Probably not.)
The time-frame isn’t very long when you need to grab a viewer’s eye but pages with a clear value proposition can hold a visitor’s interest for much longer.
(Now take a look at this website. How long does it take you to find the navigation bar? Does it appear easy to use?)
The navigation menu on a website is similar to a road map directing people throughout your site. You cannot reach your destination unless you know where you are. Navigation planning should start with information architecture. This encompasses your features, user needs, sitemap, and wireframes. Think about what people will expect to find when they land on your page and put those things where those people will expect them to be. We are creatures of habit and when something appears out of place, navigation in particular, we are likely to exit the situation because it requires too much effort to figure it out. That, and we just frankly don’t have the time.
Website Design Tips
Here are a 5 surefire tips to better improve your user-experience through properly designed navigation.
Use simple and obvious terms as opposed to industry-only terms. Whether or not your web page is designed for industry-only users it is always important to be aware that not everyone will know what you are referring to. For instance, if you are a photography studio use “photos” as a link in your navigation bar instead of “showroom.”
(This British creative agency uses works which is a clear indication you will see their “work.”)
Use the same navigation model throughout your entire website. Without consistent design throughout the entire website a user may make the mistake of believing they have landed on a different website. A properly constructed navigation model also helps users navigate throughout the site because they can remember where they are and where they have been.
Tell the user where they are. This can be done, for example, by changing the color of navigation words to indicate you are on the “about us” page and not the “home” page. Don’t leave your visitors lost in dark with no direction.
(The word Advertisers is highlighted and underlined so the user will have no question as to what page they are currently on.)
Use web conventions. Using intuitive, conventional navigation is best suited for almost any audience. For example, the logo on any website usually will lead back to a home page just by clicking it. Make yours do this, too. We promise it won’t affect the creativity, it will only make the user-experience stronger.
Test it. Just because you think your navigation will go over well doesn’t mean it will. Test your site and navigation with any person who has used the internet before. Ask for constructive feedback to make your website as user-friendly as possible.
There are many creative things you can do with your website but look and feel should never affect usability. You want to have both and make them work together. This is why hiring a great design team is so important. Remember, the longer someone stays on your site the more likely they are to become a possible lead. Great/usable web design = more leads = more customers and more money, and who doesn’t love that?