Last week we discussed the importance of good web design and how good web design impacts first impressions. Now, let’s talk usability and user experience.

Some argue that all users really want is your content and I would agree that to some extent this is true, but it doesn’t paint the entire picture. IN examining your goals, you’d probably agree that you want more than just tons of visitors? Preferably, you want those visitors to actually do something once they’re on your site?

In other words you want conversion.
You want users to act when given specific pieces of information. Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer and you’ve written a great blog post about top 10 things to do when preparing for your wedding day photo shoot. When someone comes to read that post, you want them to do something – leave a comment, look at your photography service offerings, book a consult, refer the post via social media, or all of the above.

Layout, navigation and color can play a huge role in whether or not these things happen and how often. If your design is cluttered with confusing navigation, poorly placed ads or distracting colors, then your design (or lack thereof) is acting as a deterrent when it comes to achieving your goals.
So taking these things into consideration as well as having consistency in layout and styles (ie. fonts, buttons, links etc.), a clear sense of where you are in the site (ie. breadcrumbs) and a visually defined hierarchy of content will help the user to navigate the site more easily. Anything you can do to minimize confusion or doubt on the part of the user will make the experience for them for more productive. Sometimes what is needed to direct a user to conversion is just a “back to basics” design approach.

Here’s some helpful questions one can ask to determine if your web design is on the right track:
Does my web design adhere to the basic rules of composition and color theory?
Does my design lead the eye or draw specific attention to something without being too obvious and obnoxious?
How can I use color to convey a feeling like “fun,” “professional,” or “creative”?

By marrying good content with well thought out web design, you can increase your chances of conversion. Next time we’ll discuss design and greater control.

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