When thinking about a new website design, user interface (UI) design isn’t typically the first thing business owners, entrepreneurs or marketing teams think of. Some do but most are enamoured with what the new site is going to look like rather than its functionality. But let’s be real, when you are on a website and it isn’t working properly well, what the heck? And as pretty as the site may be, if it doesn’t operate the way you expect it to, you could care less about what the site looks like.

And there you have it – user interface design is essential when thinking about a new website design or a web redesign. Your users expect a seamless experience and that begins with thinking about how they’re going to use the site i.e. the user interface. Keeping this in mind, here are a few best practice tips for your website’s UI design:

Universal Usability

With the proliferation of devices that exist today and the many options to choose from between tablets, desktops and all the different types of smartphones out there, it is clear that one size does not fit all.

As such when you are designing a new website, you need to keep all screen sizes in mind. Don’t discount the very much still relevant importance of your desktop design either. Even though people are accessing websites predominately from smartphones, desktop usage is still prevalent.

The key is to create adaptive user interfaces that will give your audience a great experience regardless of which type of device they use and whatever orientation (landscape or portrait mode) they choose to view your website in.

Simplicity Rules

Clarity is essential in this day and age. Our attention is drawn in too many directions and as such, your website’s design must be simple to understand so as not to confuse or frustrate your users.

Don’t make users guess. Language should be clear and concise. Special industry terms, acronyms or phrases should be scrapped in favour of verbiage that your visitors will understand. Unless of course, you are aiming strictly for a niche market and particular terminology is necessary to demonstrate your capabilities, service offerings or unique product differentiators.

If you want web visitors to complete a certain goal, make sure the sequence of actions contains a beginning, middle and end. Such that once users have completed the action you desire, they receive a notification that verifies they have successfully sumbitted what you've asked for. If next steps are required, say so.

The point is to simplify for your users all that you can. People go to a website usually with a goal in mind, whether it’s to find information, place a phone call, make a purchase or verify some thing. You want your website to be cleanly laid out and designed so that users can intuitively find what they’re looking for and retrieve it quickly and painlessly.

Keep Things Consistent

Consistency means keeping things continuous, predictable and within expectation. By designing things uniformly, your website visitors will have an easier time making sense of your website. As an example, if you are using an icon to illustrate a service – stick with that icon. Do not switch things up – as visual cues become associated with the wording you attach to them. If your

If your favourites icon is a star shape, don’t have it in another place appearing as a heart. Users will be confused as to what to click on – are the hearts the favourite or the stars? Keep things consistent so that users can follow your visual cues in a way that is intuitive to them. 

Ensure consistency of processes, functionality, appearance and terminology. This makes navigating through your website easier and again, comes back to keeping things simple and easy to use.

Guide Users to Act

People don’t typically take action unless they are asked to or invited to. That’s why tactics like the call-to-action are so important in helping capture leads and driving conversions.

The important thing is to ask nicely. You want to take into consideration timing and context when asking your users to complete an action. Clearly, they cannot perform two actions at once, so when planning your website, don’t demand a pop-up to appear while they are finishing a transaction. This is a hurdle that could very well stop them from completing their purchase. And well, a sale is lost.

Choose wisely what and when you ask your users to do something on your website. Ask for a review in a follow-up email once you know the service or product has been delivered and they’ve had time to assess the aforementioned. A user can’t review an item they have yet to receive. You get it. There needs to be a proper sequence with enough time between requests for users to not feel rushed or pressured.

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Located in Calgary, Alberta, Blue Ocean Interactive Marketing creates online marketing strategies that enable your business to grow.

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