The main purpose of each website is to attract visitors and constantly engage them. This is why making a pleasant user experience is one of the top priorities of a web designer.
User experience is, in fact, the forefront of every WordPress effort you should undertake to make visitors feel welcomed and encouraged to check your offerings. So make sure to keep in mind the following things when you will create your website’s design.
Make the navigation menus intuitive
Menus should be placed intuitively so that users won’t have any trouble finding and using them.
The best choice for you and your users are the drop-down menus and secondary bars which disappear as soon as you move your cursor away. Event though it may seem annoying to you, it’s exactly what users expect when interacting with your website. This is the first essential step towards a professional website, and it will help you significantly decrease bounce rates.
Fix unwieldy menus
In order to achieve this:
- You have to reduce the distance between links by choosing vertical navigation instead of the horizontal one, or by replacing menus so that they’d have fewer secondary options;
- Give users an error margin with mouse pointer when they leave a navigational element or fail to react.
Keep your design clean and simple
Your website’s design should have simple formatting, like neat typography, sub-headings, bullets, accompanied by a smart choice of colors and snappy paragraphs that will show that you care about its aesthetics, but still don’t forget to deliver usability.
The most common mistake in web design is focusing on beauty rather than on functionality. This mistake has harmful consequence because it delivers the complete opposite of your user expectations: your website will be beautiful but inefficient. Therefore, if you’re designing sites put yourself in your users’ shoes and check whether the website’s interface is confusing you or not.
What users want when visiting your website is to find something that is worth of investing their time. They want benefits, so they won’t be interested in garish decorations and entertainment that gives nothing in return.
Regardless of whether you’re inviting people to buy something or to sign up for a newsletter, you have to provide them with a clear and visible call-to-action.
Otherwise, you may end up without any conversions. While this is more a design issue, it counts as a functionality, too. A visible newsletter will be worth nothing if you don’t make it simple to sign-up.
Visitors enjoy completing just a few steps, so they will simply love your website if you will make that possible. For instance, you can ask for nothing more than their email address.
If implementing CTAs on the site is compulsory, you can opt for simple plugin solutions. Keep in mind to embed plugins within content, or maybe feature them as a triggered on-scroll box. Hello Bar and standard WordPress Calls to Action are perfect for this purpose.
Let’s face it: running mobile websites is more than necessary these days. It’s almost mandatory. Search engines give ranking priority to websites that are optimized to deliver their content to any device types. You have to stay in the game if you want your website to be seen and enjoyed.
Use responsive themes and make users happy while using your website on the go. The last thing you want is to request additional efforts for scrolling your website from the phone, so make it as navigable as it would be on their desktops.
Place icons in expected locations
Running a modern website will require serious work on social integration, or even making it your core efforts of improving user experience.
From a user’s perspective, this means that you must place icons where he/she expects to see them, for instance, in the header space or the sidebar. Whatever you do, spare users from having to scroll up and down in order to find them, by keeping them above the fold.
The same counts for social icons. Let them stand where users can see them (the top or the bottom of the post), and that will be enough for people to share your content.
An option is to let buttons overlay your content in an interesting way, for instance by introducing floating bars with messages such as ‘Share’ or ‘Add this’. The most common place is the left side of the screen, so the users will probably expect them to appear as they will scroll the screen.
Make your website load faster
The maximal time you’re allowed to let users waiting until the site loads is three seconds. If you’re dealing with more time, that’s a big issue.
As a user yourself, you should know that waiting is annoying people. This frustration can end up looking for a better website. Overall, loading speed plays the most important and successful role of your online presence.
There are many ways to increase the speed of your website, like:
- Leverage browser caching and enable Gzip compression. Both compression and caching are important, because it will significantly reduce your loading time;
- Opt for CDNs. CDNs are Content Delivery Networks that can make a dramatic change to your loading time through making content more accessible to a larger audience at once;
- Edit images. If you absolutely need images, choose smaller and simpler ones. Programs like Tiny PNG can help you resize them to the smallest possible scale, without affecting their visual quality;
- Use excerpts. Excerpts are a great substitute for your homepage full posts, because their content loads way faster;
- Don’t install plugins that you don’t need. Plugins are good because they add functionality, but they are extremely ‘heavy’ for your loading times. Therefore, select them properly, and choose only those without which your website cannot function. And then just delete the rest of them.
Put your contact information in a visible place
We’re discussing a mistake that even large and established companies do quite often: placing their contact information in an unreachable place, or writing it in such a small way that it can’t be found even with a magnifying glass.
Isn’t your first and foremost purpose to make users contact you? Even if they don’t, the mere presence of clearly displayed contact information is a credibility factor and user will know that they’re dealing with a serious provider.
Well-displayed contact information makes your presence transparent, meaning that clients won’t have to scroll up and down, or click on specific links and menus to contact you. Making them wander on tenths of pages is not the best thing you can do, so gather information and attach it to the main navigation menu.
Rein in the sidebar
Are you familiar with the eternal scrolling syndrome? We wish you weren’t! Having a long index/homepage doesn’t mean that you have to make an equally long sidebar and stuff it with useless information.
Not every social media API should be included, the same as your categories, most recent feature pots, and the tag cloud! The sidebar was meant to expose most essential information, and that’s what users would like to see. Don’t make their lives complicated, and they will reward you with attention!
As you could easily see UX is based on creating a friendly website, with intuitive menus and elements, that can be quickly accessed and navigated from any device type. If you will build your website based on these essential steps, your visitors will easily enjoy your content, products and services. Yet, if you have other awesome tips you would like to share with us, please leave a comment in the section below.