After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in December 2012, I very quickly became cognizant of the vast world of website optimization. This was something I had never even considered all throughout college, as I was laser focused on my degree in graphic design. When I began working for an innovative ecommerce company in January 2013, the possibilities became clear and the connection between the two fields was evident. A fully functioning website must have structural integrity, and ease of use seems to be a number one priority among most internet users.
In order to create a memorable user experience on any website, certain expectations must be met. A user doesn’t need to be blown away by the complexity and beauty of your site. In fact, keeping your design simple and subtle is a much better option. When shopping online, users generally have one very simple goal. “I want to purchase this item quickly and securely at the most inexpensive price possible, with fast shipping and easy returns,” is what a common internet retail customer will say. No matter what prices you may be able to offer, a user will leave your site and never return if you don’t offer a logical user interface. This leads into the first rule of creating a memorable user experience.
1) Simplicity. Provide the simplest design that gets the job done. There is no need to “pretty” up your pages unless the design you have chosen has been proven ineffective. Don’t offer five ways to do something when one will do just fine. Eliminate or reduce all those unnecessary graphics, words, images, etc., and provide one clear call to action on every page.
2) Functionality. People want to use your website, not diagnose it or read through irrelevant details. Choose a configuration, make it extremely obvious how to perform the most common and important functions, and make sure your website loads quickly. In this digital age, the attention span of your consumers is at an all-time low, and with increasing amounts of untechnical users you’d better be sure anyone who visits can easily navigate through your site.
3) Security. If someone is ultimately going to give you their credit card information, make sure they feel completely confident throughout the entire buying process. Since the world of internet retail lacks face-to-face communication, displaying an image of professionalism and intelligence on your website will communicate your dedication to serving the customer.
So, there you have it! These three rules are extremely important when thinking about what kind of experience your website should offer to a user.