Effective user experience (UX) is something every website should have but it’s also something most people can’t quite figure out how to execute on their own site. Small businesses that don’t have big budgets find it particularly difficult to optimize for UX.
But I’d like to walk you through a couple simple changes you can make to the layout of information, the colour and the design that will help to improve the UX. Keep in mind though, these are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Best practices vary widely depending on the size of the business, the type of business and the products or services that are offered.
Structure and Flow of Information
The first rule of UX is to format the information in a way that is logical and user friendly, but this will look quite different from one business to the next. The layout of information on web pages, including home pages and inner pages of the site, can be separated into three main areas:
- The top of the page features primary information: Many businesses assume they should use a large portion of the real estate at the top of the page for a call to action encouraging users to fill out a meeting form, which is great for some business but is a misstep for others.
- A Business with Immediacy: Let’s say I’m searching for a personal security app that can help me feel safe while I walk home alone or when I’m stuck working late at the office and there is nobody around me. I search for an app and when I land on the website, at the top of the page I see an image of a person walking home safely, with a powerful written message to accompany the image. There’s a call to action next to the image encouraging me to fill the form and download the app, and for now, that’s all I need to know. Though I will need more information at some point, I will sort that out once I’ve filled in the form and downloaded the app.
- A Business with clients who do more research: Let’s say I’m considering getting a plastic surgery procedure, and when I land on a clinic’s website, the first thing I see in bold writing and bright colours is a CTA that says “Schedule an Appointment.” What am I likely to do next? I will ignore the CTA and start scrolling down because at this point I really don’t know anything about the business, who the doctor is, where the clinic is located, what former patients have to say about them, or whether I can afford it. The pertinent information I need is hidden somewhere else on the site and now I have to go searching for it. And I’m certainly not about to book an appointment before having some of those questions answered.
- The middle of the page, or what’s known as below the fold, should feature secondary information
- Lower on the page is reserved for tertiary info
Colour and Designs in CTA’s and Messages
One of the most common mistakes that I see is when the colour of the CTA is chosen to match the main logo colour. Even worse are sites that match CTAs to the titles and the main copy on the site.
The goal should not be to match or coordinate, so much as it is to use colours to send different messages to your user. The rule I like to follow it to “train” your sites visitors to associate different colours with different actions. What would you like them to do once they see a certain color?
Let’s say a site uses the colour orange for the main CTA. That site should then not use the colour orange for anything other than that those main CTAs. For secondary CTAs, you can change up the size and colour, and again for the tertiary.
In fact, for tertiary CTA’s, you can try presenting the CTA without a button and just as a simple direction like “read more”. This will help the user differentiate one action from the next.
When placing CTA’s in the main slides, be careful that they always stay on the same side, preferably the right hand side, and that the message makes reference to:
1. Answering the question that may have brought that user to your site in the first place
2. Giving them enough information to click on the CTA.
I hope this give you some insight into the look and flow of your site. There are many moving parts in creating good UX, but tackling these elements will make a big difference. Until next time….Olya out!