Anyone can create a website with relative ease nowadays with drag-n-drop website builders. What isn’t simple is creating a seamless user experience that drives real value for your end-user and, in turn, creates a business-benefit.
We’ve all felt the frustration of visiting a website with a poor user experience. It’s slow, confusing, and we eventually leave out of annoyance. What we don’t often notice is an intuitive user experience that fulfills our purpose. To accomplish this for your user, a good place to start is by following simple design principles.
All elements on airbnb.com have a distinct purpose with even the multimedia guiding the user journey.
Simple design ensures that all elements of your website have a purpose and enhance the intended user experience. If the elements can’t accomplish this basic principle, somebody should remove them.
Does it seem too easy? When Apple released the Apple II personal computer, marketing collateral included the tagline “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” The world’s first highly successful personal computer was incredibly challenging to create, but it delivered a simple, elegant, and valuable user experience.
Like all good things, simple but effective is hard to execute well. It comes down to keeping things simple (well, obviously), consistent, and standard; if you need to improve an existing website or start a new project, here are few key ways to implement simple design and create an exceptional user experience.
Don’t get creative with standard elements
Building a website can be an artistic endeavor. But your users have predefined expectations before visiting your creation. Stick to using elements the same way as the major websites. This will create a consistent and intuitive experience. Using standard web objects will give you better cross-browser capability, especially across mobile devices.
Make the website feel like it’s made just for your user
When people use the web, they’re looking for facts or information to complete a goal. Take the time to understand your user’s motivations and turn them into personas. If you don’t have the time, keep it simple, and document the motives behind your users visits. The website should be designed, created, and updated with their experience in-mind.
Ask yourself, is this element helping or hindering the user?
Complex websites can cause user frustration, lead to abandonment, and possibly lower brand equity. A great way to avoid over-engineering is to take a quick audit of your website’s elements and consider whether they benefit or help the desired user experience. Then consider removing anything unnecessary and focus on improving the critical components.
Add the right visual cues
Images, graphics, and media play an essential role in your website’s overall design and feel. Don’t get carried away with too much. Make sure each asset provides a visual cue to help move your user forward on their desired journey. Each should be clear, helpful, and give context within a glance.
Less is more with written content
You users will perceive your content to be more intelligent the simpler it is. Comprehension levels increase by 50% when less text is in a web layout (Oppenheimer). Remove useless information, overly complicated language, and marketing hype. Content should be simple to read and high in facts.
Keep track of your changes and make sure you’re measuring and monitoring their impact through at least one analytics platform. It’s the best way to justify your changes to yourself and other stakeholders. Happy building!
Oppenheimer, Daniel. Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective
of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly, Dissertation, http://www2.psych.utoronto.ca/users/psy3001/files/simple%20writing.pdf