You can’t think about your website without thinking about your users — The two go hand in hand. What type of device are they searching on? What are their motives when they arrive at your page? How do you catch (and KEEP) their attention? How do convince them to take the next step?
In the ever-changing world of web design, adaptability is imperative to ensure usability. User experience is a key component when building and designing your website. Remember, your website is not for you – it’s for your users. Here are a few tried and true practices that assure your website is delivering your brand message efficiently and effectively.
Responsive Web Design
It is critical that your website is responsive in this era filled with screens of all sizes. Your website must respond and adapt to the user’s device, whether that be a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This can mean the difference between losing and gaining a client, as 40% of users move onto a different search result if yours isn’t mobile friendly.
As a user, there is nothing worse than jumbled content, impossible navigation and long load times. As always, you must consider goals of the user. Is your typical customer making purchases on their tablet? Or are you trying to deliver impactful content to commuters using their smartphones? First, is assuring navigation buttons are visible and easy to interact with – think clicking a mouse or tapping a fingertip. When it comes to mobile, high load times scare users away. 47% of users expect a load time of two seconds or less. Failing your audience here is definitely no good, as you’ll have to work twice as hard to get them back. On that note, considering your image and video specs is imperative. If you need to have them on your mobile page at all, keep them compressed and manageable.
All of this will help the speed and performance of your website, but that’s still only half the experience.
People are scrolling. With roughly 50% of digital content being consumed on mobile devices, be it a tablet in a coffee shop or a smartphone on the subway, easy, scrolling navigation has been proven in the market. Implementing a long scrolling website creates a platform for storytelling and visual experience. If you look at social platforms, the constantly updated feed from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest utilize an efficient and pleasing long scroll format. It has become second nature for users to scroll through a web page, creating an ideal experience on a tablet or smartphone.
Of course, there are important components to consider when implementing long scroll. For instance, sticky navigation, keeping your nav bar in view while content scrolls below, assures that users can control the page and their own pace without getting lost. Implementing scroll-triggered animation – like these that we used for Veritable’s vertical timeline – add a touch of fun to the page to further engage the user. Lastly, creating cohesion by changing backgrounds in order to emulate the appearance of a single page. This breaks up the content and helps walk your user through the site, rather than the old method of presenting a block of text to read through.
When implementing long scroll you also need to think differently about how you analyze your SEO. It may appear that clicks aren’t as high, however, the session duration time has gone up. This is due to the amount of homepage content and information that is readily available and scrollable to users. Through the use of teasers, you offer bits of information to ensure users can find what they need and stay engaged. Don’t worry, they will click.
Responsive web design and long scroll are surely combatting old conventions, like the above-the-fold concept. (After all, these days, the “fold” can be different for everyone with varying resolutions and devices). The seamless load of a responsive web page on any device and the ease in which users scroll through a web page will lead to a superior user experience. Implementing these best practices is a definite start to assure your website is doing your business justice!