In order to maximise your website’s potential it’s important to know who potential users are, and aligning it with their expectations. But how do you predict how they’ll use your site?
blur Group investigates the way that users will browse your site, for better or worse. If you’re thinking of upgrading your website today, the quickest and safest way to source web design firms is through our guaranteed Global Services Exchange. Click here to find out how blur Group works.
Ways of thinking
Understanding how users behave on a website is pretty complicated – after all, there are so many factors to take into account. Users impressions are connected not only with the type of website and how it is made, but also:
where they’re using the Internet
how much time they have to spend
their device type
their intentions, mood, comfort, etc
This doesn’t mean that their approach is feverish, but rather that they look for words that resonate with what interests them and at the same, clickable elements.
Finding an element which seems to match what the user wants makes them want to click it immediately. When it’s the wrong one, they return to the previous page and continue to look. As usability guru Steve Krug has said – the Internet user sees a website like a billboard they’ve passed at 100 km/h.
How do people view websites?
The first thing worth keeping in mind is that website are typically viewed rather than read, a process that people have learnt from magazines, newspapers, etc. Website visitors are usually in a rush, and the correct assumption to make is that the Internet was provided to speed up information delivery.
Visitors seeing a non-functional website leave it quickly. The amount of time they’ll spend getting to know how it works is small, and works out to about enough time to view up to two pages.Therefore the homepage, which is often the first page seen, should immediately communicate your company’s value. Users don’t read more than is necessary and moreover, users are aware that the content likely only interests them in parts.
Don’t expect users to examine all the options provided and choose the best link based on this. They don’t have the time for that. Their choice will be the first-served link, which at least in a small part appears to correspond to their needs.
The cost of a wrong decision is not large – it just means pressing the “Back” button in the browser, and this behaviour is justified as a lot of websites are badly designed. This behaviour is beneficial for users, allowing them to explore the websites options quickly.
However, this attitude will change once it appears that pages are loading slower than expected. Then the cost of the error committed by clicking on a wrong link becomes too big and the available options to click are analyzed more closely.
Be aware of users’ baggage
Users visiting a specific website base their approach on their previous experiences gained from visiting other websites, and from this they build a general model of how the website should work.
This means visitors should immediately understand how to operate the conventions of the particular design.
They demand a few things:
freedom of movement
On the Internet the sense of direction can be missing. The main direction line is top to bottom, but this is a hierarchical division as a top area of a website is more general in its information whilst the bottom is more detailed.
Being on the Internet also removes the sense of place – moving here and there is an act of teleportation. So when designing or commissioning a website ask yourself these key questions: How will the visitor move through the website? What barriers might they encounter and how would you remove these barriers?
Websites are active places with visitors acting in scenarios. Predicting such scenarios can be hard, but even knowing the possible situations can help, and predicting people’s problems leads to innovative solutions.
If your site needs a redesign and you need to find the best Expert for the job, start your project with blur Group today, where we’ll source and shortlist suitable service providers from across the world. All the management and payment involved will be handled online: a fast, efficient way of buying business services.
Images Courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
This blog is by Paula, UX/UI Designer/Developer at blur Group.
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