Whether you are a design freelancer or work in web design, web optimization is crucial for a good user experience. Behaviour and Information Technology conducted a research study that concluded it takes a mere 0.05 seconds for a user to form a lasting opinion about a website, showing just how important it is to optimize your web design. There are easy steps you can take to improve the functionality of your web design, increase conversion rate, and ensure all the user’s needs and expectations are met. This article will cover ten helpful tips for optimizing your web design to improve your professional design business and better understand UX fundamentals.
One commonly overlooked area is having a website design with organized, user-friendly navigation. Navigation links are the roadmap for your site, but if they are not presented in a practical way, it can cause users to click off quickly or not return at all. When creating page navigation, common mistakes include overstuffing information, vague descriptions, and broken links. It’s recommended to keep the navigation bar consistent among all pages on a website, so it is easy for users to browse or easily find a specific page.
Improve Page Speed
One area of web design that is crucial for a positive user experience is fast-loading web pages. With our technology and mobile connections constantly evolving, it’s no surprise that users have strong expectations of how fast a website should load. If pages fail to load quickly, it can have negative effects such as increased bounce rate and less chance for the user to return to the site in the future.
A study by section.io showed that up to “9.6% of users bounce when the page speed is 2 seconds.” When page speed is increased to 7 seconds, “32.3% of visitors bounce.” Designers can improve their page load speed by optimizing any images, using relevant plug-ins, and minimizing self-loading multimedia content.
Keep All Pages Consistent
While it may be tempting to show your design skills across all of your pages, it’s important that each individual page on your website keeps a consistent design and setup. Having a full website design that is coherent helps to build brand authority and eliminates any possible confusion for users. Nearly every design element should stay the same throughout all of your pages, including font, formatting, and color scheme. If a user navigates through your web pages and reaches one that is drastically different, they may wonder if they are still on the correct site or leave altogether. Don’t risk an increased bounce rate or appearing unprofessional with an inconsistent web design.
Images are often a visually-appealing element in web design that can catch a user’s attention and help with creating a strong brand identity. When users find a website engaging, they are more likely to navigate through additional pages and spend a longer amount of time on the site overall. When using images, it’s crucial that designers optimize any images for functionality and page load speed and always use original or royalty-free images. Many designers use Adobe Stock to find royalty-free illustrations, videos, photos, and 3D assets.
Track SEO Efforts
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essentially using keywords and other marketing strategies to show up at or near the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). When search engines like Google are able to understand your website and interpret the content, it can result in your site ranking higher in search results to relevant users. Tracking any SEO efforts is important for designers and can highlight any areas that need improvement. Google Analytics is one of the most popular platforms used to gain insight into SEO and website performance.
Use Responsive Design
Another extremely important area for designers to consider when optimizing their website design is the use of responsive design to meet the needs of a wider audience. Responsive web designs are often created with a “mobile-first” approach, meaning sites are designed for mobile devices and then scaled up to larger screens.
With technology constantly advancing, designers now need to focus on essential factors like touchscreens and intentional performance when using a responsive design. Designers should keep the significant principles of responsive design in mind with web design, including fluid grid systems and fluid image use.
Create a Call to Action
Having an effective and direct call to action (CTA) is an excellent way to engage users and encourage them to perform a designated action. A well-crafted call to action is clear and descriptive, so there is no miscommunication in the message. Where the call to action is located and having an accurate description are vital to the audience following through and taking the appropriate action, whether filling out a contact form or purchasing your design services. Using the proper keywords with your CTA is a great way to build on your SEO efforts and increase web traffic.
Write Long-Form Content
While some creative designers find long-form content intimidating, having a variety of blog posts and articles on your website is an excellent way to rank higher on Google search engines and keep users engaged. Long-form content helps to boost SEO and is especially useful for Web Designers when the articles utilize keyword research and internal linking. Having a variety of written content also shows your audience you are able to communicate effectively and hold a vast knowledge of your design field.
Fix Broken Links or 404 Errors
If your web design features broken links or gives your users a 404 error page, this can lead to issues with SEO and an increased bounce rate. If your website is filled with broken links, you may appear unprofessional to users and it may affect whether they return to your site in the future. Many designers use Google Search Console to find and fix any broken links and ensure all of the pages are functioning properly.
Take Steps to Learn the Fundamentals
There are also live online web design bootcamp classes for those who want immersive training to start building their portfolios and become well-rounded web designers. You can take the classes from the comfort of your own home while still gaining an opportunity to build a portfolio of work. Try searching for live online web design bootcamps in your area to see what options are available.