Is your website designed with your customers in mind?
In his book The Invisible Computer, Donald A. Norman writes: “Quality only comes about by continual focus on, and attention to, the people who matter: customers.”
Norman, an advocate of designing products based on the needs and wants of the end-users, is credited with coining the term “user experience.” Now a buzzword in web design circles (and others), it has its own acronym: UX.
In most cases, the novelty of technological bells and whistles has worn off. Customers online seek reliability and convenience — no fuss or bother.
With UX in mind, here are 6 fundamental elements of a customer-centric site:
- Streamlined navigation and page loading. Common features of UX design are a visual hierarchy and well-planned, consistent menus that assist readers in finding what they are seeking. Running an eCommerce site? Results of a recent study by Akamai Technologies, as reported in Entreprenuer.com, found shoppers wait only an average of four seconds for a page to load. Additional considerations in this category: Remove outdated information and extraneous content, avoid “orphan pages” that don’t link back to the home page, and make clickable buttons obvious (by adding visual depth/dimension to them).
- Important information easily accessible. This begins with knowing what’s important to your customers. Some practical ways to accomplish this might include making your phone number clear and highly visible on all major pages, using consistent and well-planned menus, and incorporating a search feature.
- Attractive, reader-friendly pages. Web readers are generally not fond of book-like pages. Break up blocks of content with bullet points, headers, sub-headers and appropriately sized graphic elements. When choosing and sizing graphics such as photos and videos, consider that your customers may be viewing your page on a smart phone or tablet (i.e. be mobile-friendly).
- Inviting, information-rich visuals. With more customers accessing sites on small screen devices, large irrelevant “filler” photos are simply roadblocks. Include only visual elements that are clear, helpful and relevant.
- Short, user-friendly registration forms. Use “required” fields sparingly, for only the most essential information. Keep requests for non-essentials to a minimum.
- No broken links. They are frustrating for site visitors and can negatively impact your listing rank in search engine results. Use online tools such as BrokenLinkCheck to test your site frequently. Consider adding a “contact the webmaster” link in your footer for users to alert you to any problems they find on your site and make needed adjustments promptly.
Incorporating these fundamentals of UX design in your website can give you a decided advantage over the numerous sites that do not.
What sites have you found online that do a great – or not so great – job with these customer-centered basics? We invite you to use the “comments” tab below to share your experiences.
To read more on UX web design:
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net