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Designing Websites Applying User Behaviors

December 1, 2018 |
Web Design
User Behaviors

Every website is developed with an objective. The objective can be anything; connecting, selling, informing, transacting etc. Every website is designed and developed to complete these goals. Whether the goal is connecting with friends or searching something on the internet, it remains the core of developing a website. As a designer, it is very important to understand this concept of user behaviors to create better user experiences. The basic idea is to keep the usability first and everything else like visual elements second. Here are a few web design tips which are based on understanding user behavior and will help you to design profoundly usable websites.

1. Design Must Be Determined by User Goals

If you don’t know the question, how are you going to answer it? It’s as simple as that. Before even thinking about the design of a website it is important to know what is actually required. If you don’t know what the users want, you will never be able to prepare a useful design. Analyse the KPIs because these will define your goals. Do you want people to instantly take actions and transact on your website, or you want to increase direct sales, or you just want them to spend more time on your website? You can design sites intuitively based on assumed goals, however, the best way to design is merging your goals with the user’s goals into one cohesive final product.

2. Test It and Track It

Analyse and assess your ideas based on KPIs and implement your understandings. You should always be testing new ideas to see if you can optimize any parts of your website. One of the best methods to do so is through A/B testing. Think about what you want should happen and how will you be able to make it happen. Take an example of a content heavy website, say an e-newspaper. A lot of these kinds of websites face high bounce rate problems and the main reason for users bouncing off is not being able to navigate themselves to more content. A simple addition of infinite scroll is the answer to this problem which radically improves the user experience and helps people who are stuck around to read content.

When working to improve certain metrics, think about the user experience, because this is really how design should be done. Imagine what the user would think and feel while using your website and how can you improve their experience. Some factors can be very simple and direct. Like the color of links on your site. Just changing colors can have a surprising effect on CTR, signups, or actions taken by a user.

3. Be Open to Changes

The willingness to adjust and change at different time intervals is essential while designing. A few quick halftime adjustments come in very handy, as a lot of times you face design roadblocks and changing a few components is the only way around. If you’re testing something that clearly isn’t working then don’t waste more time on it. The same goes with any new feature as well, which the users are complaining about and clearly needs to be replaced or worked upon. You should know when to call quits and start on something new.

At the end of the day, it’s your users who really matter and if something is not working for them, it has to go down the drain, irrespective of how dear it may be to you as a designer. Your personal feelings should not interfere while taking a decision on what works and what doesn’t. Be open to changes, new strategies and ideas based on new evidence and analysis.

4. Take a Holistic Approach

Every design that you create must comprise of smaller usable pieces which together contribute to a larger composition. This is the best holistic approach to any and every design. You know what they always say, “look at the bigger picture” and focus on understanding how every visitor will perceive it. Question yourself -is your homepage user-friendly, will the user easily understand ‘what to do’ when he lands on the homepage, will he be able to easily navigate through the website? Both the composition and overall design quality play a big role in how people perceive a website.

People need to rely on authoritative designs that work well and serve a purpose. Unfortunately, many designers do look at the big picture, but still, fail to use it and implement the ideology. This leads to a visually pleasing design, which is a useless interface. Design is not just about aesthetics and appearance. It’s about ease of use, practicality of the design, user experience, responsiveness of the website, page load time and a lot more. A holistic approach to design considers more than what you can see. It’s also about what you experience by using the website.

5. Provide Visual Feedback to Users

It’s very important to inform users when are they correctly interacting with your interface and also when they are not doing so. Visual cues and messaging show users whether their interaction is producing the desired results. One of the simplest examples of this can be changing the visual styling of a button when the user hovers over it or even when they click on it. This will give them a sense of confidence that they are heading in the right direction, and on the other hand, will give them a sense of caution if they feel they are not going in the correct direction. Visual cues may not be a direct way of giving feedback, but it certainly is a very effective medium of doing so.

If you consider the user experience at every stage of the design process, designing a user-friendly design will not be an uphill task. All it needs is to put yourself in users’ shoes and analyse every action that they can take and normally do. However, it’s very easy to lose focus and get into a self-centered mode and design something completely to satisfy your own needs and preferences.

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