As the business world speeds through the second half of the year, companies will start ratcheting up their online efforts to finish strong and get a leg up on their competitors. Engaging your audience has never been more important (or more fun!) than it is today. To break through the constant stream of marketing messaging, Facebook posts, calls to action, and media buzz, your customers need to intuitively find what they’re looking for. Your secret weapon? Designers. Specifically, designers who understand user experience (UX) or user experience design (UXD) and information architecture (IA).
Having a strong user experience and information architecture can be the difference between a site that looks cool, but is confusing and hard to navigate, and a page that creates an effortless brand experience that draws your target audience into your messaging. Ensuring your site is a smooth experience can attract higher quality traffic to your pages, encourage deeper engagement, and – of course – drive conversion.
GET THE INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE RIGHT:
First things first: your customers need to be able to find what they are looking for. Chances are, if someone is surfing your page, they are looking for specific information. Whether they want to understand your features or browse your pricing, you want to make sure the information they need is front and center and easy to find. The organization of your content is called information architecture and covers everything from the navigational elements on your page to the order you present information.
Information architecture is arguably one of the most important elements of a page. As the internet has evolved, certain organizational conventions have become standard. For example, you’d almost always expect some form of navigational menu. Today, that tool is usually found at the top of the page, whereas users used to expect it on the left or right column back when Yahoo and AltaVista were king. Having a designer that understands the current IA trends and can help design a site that is as beautiful as it is functional will save you time and agony trying to figure out why users aren’t interacting the way you want them to.
NOW ADD SOME STYLE WITH USER INTERACTION:
Once your users know where to find information, serve them an experience they love. Your user experience and user interaction design go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Both look at your customers’ behavior and ask: what is this person’s pain point, what are they trying to solve, and how can the website help them do this? This will help guide design principles such as what should be highlighted, whether parallax or traditional navigation is more appropriate, whether certain information should react a certain way when you hover over it, and help determine if your viewers are more traditional, or if they prefer disruptive web experiences that includes rich media and images.
Ultimately, the user experience and interactivity create a certain tone or feeling on the site. UX and UI designers spend time thinking about the type of emotional connection your users want and how to bring that feeling to life.
The best way to think about these two key pieces is simple: your information architecture is the picture frame that holds your information together, while the user experience and interaction bring the artist’s painting to life with rich colors, tone, and imagery. You need both for a complete piece of art … and a high performing website. Denver Web Design understands these concepts and can help you build a plan or find designers that can help you do both to ensure you’re leading the pack in 2016 web trends.