Adding Value to the User Experience – Top 3 Website Design …

Adding Value to the User Experience – Top 3 Website Design

Remember how websites looked back in the 1990s? You had your animated gifs, your music, your gaudy colored text … thanks the gods of web development that those days are over!

Nowadays, website design is a whole new field. Just being able to add a design element is no longer reason enough to do it. Most web designers know better than to include obnoxious music files that start playing upon page load, but even serious designers are still making dumb mistakes that drive visitors away from their sites.

The number one goal of website design is to add value for the user. Your website can be technically brilliant, beautifully coded, and visually attractive, but if it does not add value for the user your traffic will plummet. Here are the three top mistakes that 21st century website designers are making:

1. Replacing Text with Images.

Sure, images often give a website a warmer, more attractive feel than text-only. But if you use images extensively and do not bother to include useful ALT tags, then you need to be aware that you're eliminating value for the following users:

– users who copy and paste content into a word document to read later
– users who browse with images turned off
– users who use the read-aloud function to browse content

Yes, these users do exist, and they do buy things. But not on websites that disregard their browsing idiosyncrasies and therefore offer them zero value.

2. Creating Designs That Take Too Long to Load.

This is related to the previous point, in that image-heavy websites take the longest to load. Every image you add to your website adds to the time that your user has to wait. One of the biggest mistakes designers are still making in this area is forcing users to wait for an intro page to load before they can click through to the actual content. An intro page? Really? Are you making a movie or a website?

On the other hand, videos are bandwidth-intensive but typically add a lot of value for the user. Strike a balance by providing enough genuinally engaging text on each page to read while users wait for the beefier elements like video and large images-but be sure those elements elements add real value to the user experience.

3. Using Fixed Font Size.

Designers who use cascading style sheets (CSS) often choose to specify font sizes as an absolute number of pixels, effectively disabling a browser's "change font size" button. Their ratione? "It will mess up the design if the user changes the font size." How arrogant! If your user wants to change the font size, chances are they have a good reason … like literally not being able to read your tiny font. Many users who started using the web in the 1990s or earlier are now over 40 and are beginning to experience declending eyesight. Respect individual preferences and specify CSS font sizes in relative terms.

If you avoid these mistakes and focus on adding value for the user with each design element, your website will not only be attractive and compelling, but also easy to navigate. End result: users will return again and again