Website Design: Keeping User Experience Simple
Posted 10 February 2014
In every field of design there is a common challenge; making complex processes simple. It’s true that engineers are always looking to innovate and find new ways of doing things. However, the goal is never to make things more complicated. The very best engineers find straightforward and efficient ways of performing difficult tasks. This is just as true in the realm of web design as any other field.
A great example of this would be the Dyson Airblade. Whilst traditional hand-dryers seemed adequate enough in the way that they performed the desired task, the Airblade has radically simplified the process. This is seen in various ways. The user doesn’t have to push a button, activate a hidden sensor or remember to turn the drier off after use. Instead, you simply put your hands into the device, which will run for the optimum time required to dry your hands and conserve energy. These are small changes that have radically changed the hand-dryer industry.
Keeping User Experience Simple
The same principles play a vital role in effective website design. As new solutions, platforms and widgets become available, websites will become even more effective at making everyday tasks more efficient. However, this doesn’t mean that your web design should become more complicated. In fact, the opposite is true; you need to work hard at keeping user experience simple.
Whilst great design will always push boundaries, it’s important that your website design creates a sense of familiarity. Users need to know how to navigate through your site. They need to see buttons and elements which are consistent with other websites that they have used. If they’re buying products from your ecommerce store, they need to recognise certain features in your payment system. This builds trust, saves time and helps to create an instant connection with new site visitors.
This is also true in your visual design. We think that a new website design should be creative, striking and unique. We also think that it should offer a better, simpler user experience that its predecessor. In other words, form and function need to sit hand in hand. A good current example of this would be in responsive website design. We’re looking for beautiful, simple websites that are just as functional on a touchscreen as with a mouse. This means, for example, that large buttons and clear links are essential.
We can also describe user experience in terms of how visitors navigate your site. It’s crucial that users are able to find relevant pages as quickly as possible; if they become frustrated, they will leave. To achieve this you need to ensure that your navigation/menus are as clear as possible. You also need to build your site in such a way that users can find content with as few clicks as possible. Again, applying an engineering mindset to website design helps you to keep user experience simple and produce a better website.