Key Considerations to Making your Website more Engaging

Getting your website right can be difficult – from one angle you want your site to display as much information as possible in an attempt to emphasise your expertise in a particular field. On the other, you don’t want your website to appear clunky and boring as it needs to stand above all others to catch the eye of the consumer.

This can lead to a middle-ground, that for some, is difficult to achieve – A grey area, found on a thin line between over-the-top design and tedious content. You don’t want your online business to fall into either of those traps, so how do you get it right.

High quality content is absolutely essential for the success of your website, but this content must be incorporated into a memorable experience by utilising certain design features – features that will fully engage users and position your brand above other contenders. But what exactly are these?

Website design

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Navigation

For some websites, having a simple and concise navigation bar can seem like a near impossible task to achieve, especially considering the vast amounts of content that some organisations have. Having too many navigation options is a big NO when it comes to web design – it can leave users overwhelmed, confused, and irritated – something that definitely won’t help with your conversion rate. A logical and intuitive navigation scheme is the way to go – effectively you should know the next step that users want to be taking before they do, gently guiding and nudging them in various directions that ultimately result in coherent finishes.

Easy Contact

More often than not, when users have a question, they want to get straight to the point and get in touch – meaning they often bypass any FAQ sections and go straight for the contact page. Of course, the way in which a user wants to get in touch varies from person to person – some like over the phone, some like emails, some even prefer the simplicity of the contact form. So, as a business, you should make sure that all of these options are available to your customers – phone, email, contact form, and social media. It makes users feel like their needs have been tended too, and can often significantly reduce levels of stress associated with time critical requests.

I know this seems like a really obvious one, but often having well-placed and noticeable Call-To-Actions will always give users somewhere to go.
Will Wigram, Managing Director

Obvious Call-To-Actions

I know this seems like a really obvious one, but often having well-placed and noticeable Call-To-Actions will always give users somewhere to go. This, if thought-out properly, will enable users to see most of the website by utilising a natural flow – effectively giving you the opportunity to guide them to the areas of the website you most want them to see.

Social Media Shareability

Social media can easily be considered one of the primary forms of marketing and communication when it comes to your businesses’ online presence. Making sure that areas of your site can be shared appropriately on all social media sites allows for real engagement from your users – and is the best way of attracting traffic. Having live feeds for your Twitter or Instagram pages allows users to see that you are active and therefore likely to be accessible and responsive – a key feature in this day and age.

Stick with the High Quality Content

Besides all of the points above, once users get deeper into the site, design and navigation don’t really stand for much if you haven’t managed to retain fresh, original and high-quality content. Besides, just as important, all the major search engines have algorithms in place that are designed to reward websites with higher search page rankings if those websites keep on top of their content. That means relevant, consistent, and constant content.

 

Diffusion digital creates bespoke websites on several platforms. To read more about how we can help enhance your WordPress site click here.

An Introduction to UX

We’ve all heard the term ‘User Experience’ (UX) and how the design and functionality of a website should be providing the best experience, but what specifically should we be aiming for to reach this?

First it is important to know what user experience is. Simply put – user experience is the experience a user has and how the user gets the best out this to reach their needs. This could be a user wishing to purchase a product online, or navigating through a website to get some specific information from it. The experience the user has from purchasing the product or finding the information will either result in the user repeating the experience in the same manner next time, or they will find an alternative solution.

If the user has a good experience buying a product from your website, then they are likely to come back and purchase further products in the future. Similarly if a user has easily found the relevant information they were searching for on your website, they will also return again and pass on the ease of finding the information to others.

If you are redesigning your current website, it is crucial to look at how users are currently using the site and seeing any issues with the current UX to create a better user experience. It is important and a continuously evolving skill to use design to solve these issues while also maintaining a great look and feel of the site too. The benefit of a good user experience is therefore a win-win situation for both the user and for you.

Jakob Nielsen, who is thought of as the ‘Godfather’ of UX, had 5 principles that are still as valid for using design as part of user experience today. These principles are listed out below and include key questions to be considered when creating or updating the user experience for a new design:

1) Learnability
How easy is it for users to learn/do the basic tasks on the site the first time they use it?

2) Efficiency
Once users have learnt the tasks, how quickly can users perform the tasks?

3) Memorability
When users return, how easily can they reestablish the tasks and what to do?

4) Error management
How many errors do users make while using the site, how severe are they, and how easily rectified are they?

5) Satisfaction
How pleasant is it to use the design?

If you take the Amazon site as an example, you can see that this site has encompassed all of these 5 principles and provides an excellent user experience. Users are able to instantly learn to search, browse, and purchase products from the site, whether it is a book, DVD, CD or a different product. The process is exactly the same across the site, and is easily replicated and remembered the next time users visit the site and wish to purchase a product. It is hard for a user to make many errors in the searching and purchasing of the site, and if so, it is easily rectified. Although you could argue that the site is not the most aesthetically pleasing, the design is simple and transferred across the site, allowing ease for the user to know where they are in the site and the process of purchasing their chosen product. Jakob Nielsen’s 5 principles have therefore all equally been addressed. If the design changed now, many users would be flummoxed and have a much less satisfying user experience.

So, what specifically should we be aiming for to reach good user experience then? This will be subjective to the designer, business owner and more importantly to the various users. What might help the business objectives may hinder good design, and what may be aesthetically pleasing may reduce the user’s experience to find the relevant product they wish to purchase or information they require. The challenge is therefore to address the needs and goals of users while still maintaining the business analysis, visual design and functionality of the site.

 

UX is key to building a successful website. Read more on how Diffusion Digital can help transform your WordPress or Shopify website into a genuine crowd pleaser whilst also taking into account SEO guidelines.