The features you incorporate into the design of your website can go a long way towards developing a positive user experience (UX). Some web design features are more popular with users than others and are more effective at creating a positive UX. We’ve picked the 7 most popular web design features with users:
1. Easy navigation
A survey by Clutch found that 94% of users value easy navigation as the most important web design feature. Intuitive navigation makes it easier for users to navigate your site and quickly find the content they’re looking for, whether a page, blog post, or form.
One of the biggest factors in implementing easy navigation is placing navigation menus where users expect them to be – at the top of your website. The links and sections of your site in your navigation menu should also align with what users are looking for on your site and help guide them along their journey.
Other ways to implement easy navigation for your users include incorporating a search functionality, a responsive navigation bar (using a hamburger menu on mobile) and a call to action to assist with the user journey.
2. Mobile Friendliness
Another of the most popular web design features with users is mobile friendliness. In the age of mobile-first, this one should come as no surprise. With most online traffic coming from mobile devices, making your web design mobile-friendly has never been more important.
The first step to see whether your web design is mobile-friendly is to enter your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. After a couple of minutes, you’ll be provided with the results. If your web design is mobile-friendly, you’ll see a green tick:
If your web design is not mobile-friendly, you’ll be provided with some recommendations for improving mobile usability:
Adopting a responsive web design is one of the best ways to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. A responsive web design ensures that your pages and content automatically adjust to suit different viewports and screen sizes.
This ensures that everyone can view and interact with your website on any device, eliminates the need to develop a separate mobile site, and ensures consistency in your design across devices. A responsive web design can also benefit your SEO efforts.
Consistent and clear typography is another popular web design feature for users. Not only should content be easy to find, but it also needs to be readable. Your choice of typography goes a long way to ensure that content can be read. Discover how readability is important for SEO.
Not only should your choice of font be legible, but you must also consider font size, colour, spacing, and web standards. Make sure your typography uses the following:
- Open forms and distinctive lettering so each letter has a distinctive shape.
- Clear terminals where the beginning and endings of letters are distinguishable.
- Letterform contrast using a suitable stroke width.
- Legible font size of up to 20 on desktop, 18 on tablet, and 16 on mobile.
- Sufficient leading or spacing between each line, with smaller typefaces using a tighter leading.
- Line length should not be longer than 75 characters per line.
- A sufficient colour contrast from the background so the font can be easily distinguished.
Another thing to remember with typography and font choice is whether it is a safe web font (or web standard font). These are fonts already widely installed on users’ devices, meaning no additional font sets need to be downloaded.
Web-friendly fonts to pick from include:
While you can still use additional fonts in your web design, you should limit their usage. The more additional fonts you use, the greater it will affect your site speed. Alternatively, you can use Google Fonts for more choices. Fonts are free, have unlimited usage, and are lightweight, so it doesn’t affect site speed too much.
Whitespace is another popular web design feature with users and can help make your web design stand out and is simply the space on a page between content. It can sometimes be called negative space or blank space.
Negative space doesn’t mean that your web design’s area must be white. It just means leaving a sufficient gap between elements on the screen, allowing the design to ‘breathe’. Using whitespace helps to break up content, make pages look more visually appealing, and let the user’s eyes rest.
Imagine stumbling on a web page with just a solid mass of text and no spaces between paragraphs. Chances are your eyes would feel tired just looking at it. The same applies to overcrowding pages with images, forms, text, videos, etc.
Just looking at this page is enough to give anyone a headache!
When planning the design of your website, remember that less is more (most of the time). Every single pixel of your site doesn’t need to include content. Whitespace is one of the most under-appreciated yet highly effective web design features to implement.
5. Visual content
The choice and balance of visual content is another popular web design feature with users. You must incorporate visual content into your web design to create a striking first impression, memorable experiences, and engage users.
Visual content can range from images, videos, graphics, animations, icons, etc. Anything visual that is not text counts as visual content. Our brains are more adept at processing and memorising visual imagery over text. 60,000 times faster, to be precise.
Humans are visual creatures. The human brain takes just 13 milliseconds to process an image, whereas blinking takes around 300 milliseconds. 90% of the information transmitted to our brain is also visual. While words can hold power, the visuals will capture visitors’ attention.
However, you must do more than just include visual content in your layout. The content you include needs to be relevant, appealing, and engaging. Plonking a video into your design without much background research won’t help your visitors engage and convert.
A successful content marketing strategy can help you develop appealing and engaging visual content. Visual content can also help you implement AIDA into a web design project for attracting and converting visitors.
You must also find the right balance between visual and written content. Many web designers can struggle with this as there’s no clear-cut answer. You need to find the right balance for your audience and how people use your site. Consider scanning patterns when planning your web design.
You can also use heatmaps to discover how users interact with your site. See how you can use heatmaps to improve your user experience.
6. Easy to use forms
Our penultimate pick of the most popular web design features with users is easy-to-use forms. Forms are the pinnacle of lead generation and are the make-or-break moment for a user to convert. One slip-up in your form and you could lose a valuable potential lead.
To avoid losing valuable leads, you must make your forms easy to use, functional, and accessible. Finding the correct position for your forms is the most crucial consideration. Forms placed above the fold which stand out are more likely to convert.
You also need to limit the number of fields in the form. No one has time to spend 5 minutes filling out a form—the fewer fields in the form, the better for your users. A form with just three fields can experience a 25% optimum conversation rate, compared to just 15% for more than six fields.
Some other tips to improve the effectiveness of forms include:
- Make use of web design colour psychology for call-to-action buttons.
- If it’s feasible, avoid asking for users’ phone numbers.
- Incorporate social proof.
- Tell users what to do and what happens once they’ve submitted the form.
- Match field lengths to the length of expected answers.
- Use conditional logic only to show optional fields where necessary.
7. Page speed
Our last pick of the most popular web design features with users is page speed. While it’s our last pick, page speed is one of the most crucial web design features for both your users and from an SEO perspective.
The faster your website loads, the better. Users are less likely to bounce off a page that has a faster loading speed. Typically, a site with a 2-second loading speed has an average bounce rate of just 9%. Increase the page speed to 6 seconds, and the bounce rate skyrockets to 53%.
You can check your page speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. PageSpeed Insights will give you four scores out of 100 for performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO. You will also be provided opportunities to improve your site performance and speed.
Other ways you can improve your page speed include:
- Choosing the right hosting provider.
- Compressing and optimising images.
- Minifying scripts and code.
- Limiting redirects.
- Enable caching.
- Avoid using unnecessary plug-ins and animations.
Your users should be the main focus of your web design. Including all the features that users have come to expect or are popular will help to boost user experience. Creating a positive user experience helps increase ROI, improve customer loyalty, and boost your brand reputation.