Website design is a broad term that encompasses more than whether a website looks good or not. Website design includes information architecture, interaction design and usability.
User Experience (UX) Design
User Experience (UX) is all about how we perceive a website, how we use it, and how we remember it. UX Design is more than the correct positioning of buttons, menus and forms - it is the difference between a lasting impression and a forgettable passerby.
User Interface (UI) Design
Websites are dynamic and interactive so our job as designers is to make the user interface (UI) as close to ideal as possible. We work on “the principle of least surprise”; if a user is surprised by how something works, then it needs to be more intuitive.
As Usability Consultants, we’re often asked to rebuild a client’s website so it is easier to use. Aside from looking for areas where visitors will become confused, how do we do this?
One of the best ways to make something easier to grasp is to follow existing conventions for feature placement. For example, search bars should be at the top of a sidebar, the end of the header menu or the centre of the top section of the page. If they are anywhere else, visitors won’t know where to look.
Effective Visual Hierarchies
Another way to make pages easy to grasp is to ensure that the visual cues - the appearance of everything on the page - accurately reflect the relationships between them. For example, the more important something is, the bigger it should be. We also ensure the things that are related logically, are related visually.
Clearly Defined Areas
Dividing a page into clearly defined areas is important because it allows visitors to decide quickly which areas of the page to focus on and which areas they can ignore.
One of the greatest enemies of easy-to-grasp pages is visual noise. Visitors will have different tolerances for complexity and distractions but everything on the page should not shout for attention.