Web Design: Visual Design Vs User Experience

When it comes to websites, visual design and user experience is everything. A website’s looks attracts the attention of a visitor. But it’s only when a user interacts with your site that you get some feedback about how good it is overall. When there are lots of elements on the page as in the case of a shopping site or e-commerce portal, it becomes very challenging for customers to find what they’re looking for.

The interface should be designed in such a way that a user can easily accomplish whatever task they want to perform on the site without much effort. It should be adaptive and responsive in order to provide seamless navigation across all devices and screens. Good designers are able to find a balance between visual design and a good user experience.

Component of good visual design and user experience

To ensure your website provides an enjoyable user experience, you need to consider these factors:

  • How clearly the website communicates its message
  • How the content is presented on the website
  • The ease for users to find what they are looking for
  • The website navigation system
  • Website loading speed
  • Site layout & aesthetics (how you make use of backgrounds, text, fonts, colours)
  • Optimisation for different mobile devices

Putting these above factors in place constitutes a good visual design & user experience.

The visual design of a website is a critical component that influences the overall user experience and the goals of the business. If you sell on your website, you want to ensure that the product can be sorted easily, the search bar returns correct results when users utilise it.

Websites as described above have a conversion goal – sales at the end of a visit. However, if a user visits the website and it doesn’t load on time, the links aren’t properly sorted and the products catalogue isn’t in order, the user would likely leave.

For a new site, one of the most important aspects is how quickly it loads. So a good visual design will ensure that every page loads instantly without any delays. If a page takes too long to load, visitors will be gone and may never return.

Why is a user experience important?

There is serious competition online, as customers are spoilt for choice between several brands, you want users to stick around when they land on your homepage.

Websites are no longer online billboards you put up and never bother to check, they are a big part of marketing. Hence your website should keep attracting visitors and encouraging them to buy your products and services before they move on to another site.

Designers must remember to think of a website from the users perspective, not as an avenue to display their design prowess. When you go to your favourite sites, you may not say, “Wow! I love the visual design,” but you probably say, “Wow! I love this site!”

Your design should fit the customer behaviour and the business goals. For example, if the customer would like to place an order, your site should allow them to do it in just a few clicks. It shouldn’t take more than 2 clicks to fill out the order form and submit it.

Guidelines for visual design and user experience

It is easy to get hung on aesthetics when designing a website but it is better to stick to what people are already used to so you don’t confuse users when they visit your page.

Users are not seeking a complicated website, they might appreciate the design of a site however there is always a goal attached to a user finding your website. Your focus should be on Usability, are users able to navigate your website and performers the goals you want them to? buy, contact or book a consultation?

A good visual design makes navigation on your site easy, it makes use of high-quality visuals which enhance the look and feel of your page and make it stand out among other similar pages.

When designing, keep these in mind:

  • Use visuals in a way that enhances the user experience
  • Build content with the user in mind
  • Create a consistent and exciting visual design style

Tip: A well thought-out website is always at its most useful when it’s simple, smooth and keeps the users attention.

Other aspects of visual design that boost user experience

Colours: You will want to select colours that compliment your products and services, the theme of your website should reflect the colours of the brand as this is part of your Brand Identity.

As you prepare to design your website consider reading about colour psychology. Another good resource to learn from is The Handbook of Computer-Human Interaction which recommends using a maximum of five (plus or minus two) different colours in your design.

Shadows and Reflections: Good visuals design will also make use of shadows and reflections to give your page a 3D feel as well as a 3d look. These elements enhance the usability of a page and make it more appealing.

Font Types and Size: Use legible fonts. Think minimal as possible.

Overall, good designs place the users at the centre of the process, design for people not yourself.

What have I missed here? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in!

Before you go, I design websites for businesses. Whether your business is just starting up or you are a seasoned vet, your web site is an essential piece to promote and maintain your brand. My designs will help increase your credibility, create trust with new clients, and bring in new customers.

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