At the start of any website design project, it should come as no surprise that focusing on usability and the user-experience should be at the forefront of your focus. A website can only achieve its objectives and be considered a success if it's used by customers in a way that fulfils their needs. For that very reason, it's critical that you think about your audience when you're beginning the design process. Listen to their needs and design specifically for your demographic so that those important stakeholders have what they need in order to connect with your brand in a meaningful way.
Our Favorite UX Design Trends
In terms of UX design trends-they're constantly changing and evolving. That being said, some of these trends stick around for a while because of the universal appeal that they have for any business. Creating a website that performs takes diligent effort and close attention to user-experience from start to finish. Consider some of our favorite UX guidelines when you're getting ready to launch your next web design project-regardless of your industry:
Mobile: Design Responsively
All sites should be responsive. The majority of consumers use their mobile device as their primary device, so if you're failing to optimize a website for those users, you're likely missing out on a wealth of opportunities.
Your onsite experience should be intuitive and easy for the user to navigate. Designing for your demographic is important so that you can appeal to their needs and create a site that mirrors the way they would expect to navigate it--the visitor controls their interactions at their own pace Consider the "hamburger" menu as an example of this. This three-lined icon has become quite recognizable as a symbol for 'menu', so for a lot of brands this is the best option for website design.
Font size should be large enough so that is legible and easy for the visitor to read.
Use cohesive and valuable messaging that answers user needs and use compelling calls-to-action that engage the user and encourage them to continue investing their time with your website and furthermore, brand. This is a trend that will never change and will continue to be a best practice for years to come.
Horizontal Scrolling Vs. Vertical Scrolling
Depending on the content that you have to display to users, you don't always have to go with a vertical scroll. More and more recently, companies are using a horizontal scroll on their site to showcase the content that they have. If you have blocks of different images sometimes this is a better option than the vertical scroll. However, if you want to show a lot of written text, the vertical scroll is more intuitive for that type of display. Again, this depends highly on the brand and the respective needs of the audience.
Mobile Mirrors Desktop
Your mobile site shouldn't be drastically different from your desktop version. There should be major similarities that alert the user that they are on the same site as they change from device to device. Making sure that you have a seamless cross-over from one platform to the next is incredibly important for user-experience.
Designing with a "mobile first" approach is often a good way to tackle website design because it's a "minimized" version of your desktop site-so while it won't capture everything you would on your desktop version, it has all the essentials that you need.
When you click something on your site, the user should receive some sort of reward to notify them that they have in fact clicked on something. On a basic level, consider Snapchat as an example. When the page is loading you see an icon at the top that shows its loading. This prevents users from thinking the app is freezing or that their device isn't working.
Think About Thumbs
Since the majority of users are accessing websites from mobile, you need to think about touch screens.
Icon placement is incredibly important so that you don't have too many buttons close together, making it difficult for someone's finger to select only the one that they intend to. Making the experience as easy as possible for the user will directly influence things like engagement and conversions.
Using multimedia on your site can be incredibly beneficial in providing a rich and immersive experience for users, but you need to be careful when using these types of elements. These features often will adversely impact load time, which takes away from a good user-experience. Before you launch these features, always do extensive testing to make sure that it doesn't hurt your site. Also, when using videos to convey messaging, avoid using auto play for the audio-this can hurt your usability as well.
UX Design...The List Goes On
The above are just several of the UX design trends that our team focuses on when beginning a new website design project. The world of UX design is constantly evolving and advancing and in order to stay relevant it's important to stay up-to-date on industry trends so that you can offer the best experience possible for your users. Stay tuned for more design trends we find effective and feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments below.