Your website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. A well-designed website isn’t just about looking good—it’s about creating an experience that guides visitors effortlessly toward your business goals, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a service, or simply learning more about your brand. 

As a business or marketing leader, understanding these key User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) best practices will help you communicate effectively with web development teams and ensure your website looks great and performs exceptionally.

1. Responsive Design

People browse the internet on everything from large desktop monitors to smart watches—so your website needs to look great and function well on all devices. This is what we call responsive design.

A good website is like a chameleon, seamlessly adapting its appearance to fit whatever screen it’s viewed on. On a desktop, it might display a full menu and large images. On a smartphone, it could switch to a simpler layout with easy-to-tap buttons and readable text without zooming.

Why it matters: Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in search results. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you also risk losing a significant portion of your audience, as mobile devices now account for almost two-thirds of all website traffic.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you ensure our website looks great and functions well on all devices, from large desktop screens to small smartphones?”

2. Intuitive Navigation

Think of your website’s navigation as a roadmap that guides visitors effortlessly to their destination, whether that’s your product pages, contact information, or blog posts.

Good navigation is clear, consistent, and logical. It uses familiar terms and is organized in a way that makes sense to your visitors, not just to your internal team. For larger sites, consider implementing a search function—always ready to assist lost visitors, but also there for impatient users who know what they want to find.

Why it matters: If visitors can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’re likely to leave. How many of your sales are lost because users can’t find information.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you structure our site navigation to ensure visitors can easily find what they’re looking for? Will we need a search function?”

3. Fast Loading Times

In an online world, speed is everything. A slow website is like a store with a long queue—people are going to leave and shop elsewhere.

Optimal loading time is under three seconds. Achieving this involves various technical optimizations, from compressing images to leveraging browser caching. It’s a technical process, but the results are tangible: faster loading times lead to happier visitors and better search engine rankings.

Why it matters: According to Google, as page load time increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases by 90%.

What to ask your custom web development team: “What strategies will you use to ensure our website loads quickly, especially on mobile devices? How will you balance visual quality with loading speed?”

4. Consistent Design Language

Your website should be a seamless extension of your brand. This means using consistent colors, fonts, button styles, and overall ‘look and feel’ across all pages.

Think of it as creating a digital version of your brand guidelines. Just as your logo looks the same on all your marketing materials, your website should maintain a consistent style that reinforces your brand identity.

Why it matters: Consistency builds trust and professionalism. It also makes your site easier to use, as visitors learn what to expect as they navigate through different pages.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you ensure our website maintains a consistent look and feel that aligns with our brand guidelines? Will you create a digital style guide for our website?”

5. Clear Calls-to-Actions

CTAs are the signposts that guide your visitors toward making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting a quote. Effective CTAs stand out visually, use action verbs, and are strategically placed throughout your site. They should be impossible to miss and irresistible to click.

Why it matters: Clear CTAs can significantly increase conversion rates. HubSpot found that anchor text CTAs increased conversion rates by 121% compared to banner CTAs.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you design and place CTAs to maximize their effectiveness? Can we A/B test different CTA designs to optimize performance?”

6. Accessibility

An accessible website is one that can be used by everyone, including people with disabilities. Make sure your site works with screen readers, has sufficient color contrast, and can be navigated using only a keyboard.

Think of accessibility as widening the doors to your digital storefront. It’s not just about compliance with regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s about making your site truly inclusive—but also retaining the largest possible customer base for what you sell.

Why it matters: Besides being ethically right, accessibility expands your potential audience. Plus, many accessibility best practices also improve usability for all users. That’s a win-win.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you ensure our website is accessible to users with disabilities? Will our site comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)?”

7. Whitespace and Visual Hierarchy

Whitespace, despite its name, isn’t always white. It’s the empty space between elements on your page. Used effectively, it creates a clean, uncluttered design that guides the visitor’s eye to the most important information.

Visual hierarchy is about arranging and designing elements to show their order of importance. It’s like creating a roadmap for the visitor’s eyes, guiding them through your content in the order you want.

Why it matters: Good use of whitespace and visual hierarchy can increase comprehension by up to 20%, according to one study.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you use whitespace and visual hierarchy to create a clean, easy-to-navigate design that highlights our most important content and CTAs?”

8. Microinteractions

Microinteractions are small, subtle animations or feedback that occur when users interact with your site. Think of the way a button changes color when you hover over it, or how a form field gently highlights when you click into it.

These tiny details might seem insignificant, but they can significantly enhance the user experience. They provide instant feedback, guide users through processes, and add a touch of delight to the interface.

Why it matters: Microinteractions can increase user engagement and make your site feel more responsive and alive. They’re the digital equivalent of a firm handshake or a welcoming smile.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you incorporate microinteractions to enhance user experience without overwhelming or distracting from our main content?”

9. Optimized Forms

Forms are often where the rubber meets the road in terms of conversions, whether it’s a signup form, a checkout process, or a contact form. A well-designed form can significantly increase completion rates.

Key aspects of form optimization include keeping forms as short as possible, using clear labels, providing immediate feedback (like inline validation), and guiding users through any errors they make.

Why it matters: Optimized forms can dramatically increase conversion rates. For instance, Expedia once gained $12 million in profit by removing one redundant field from a form.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you optimize our forms to increase completion rates? Can we implement features like inline validation and smart defaults to make form-filling easier for our users?”

10. User-Centered Content Strategy

Your content strategy should be the backbone of your website. It’s not just what you say, but how you say—and present—the information your audience seeks.

A user-centered content strategy focuses on creating and presenting content in a way that’s most useful and appealing to your target audience. This includes using clear, concise language, structuring content for easy scanning (with headings, subheadings, and bullet points), and incorporating relevant images and videos.

Why it matters: Content is still king queen damn important. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 72% of marketers agree that content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads.

What to ask your custom web development team: “How will you structure and present our content to maximize engagement and conversions? Can we implement a content management system that allows us to easily update and optimize our content over time?”

Conclusion: Implementing these UX/UI best practices will significantly enhance your website’s effectiveness, making it not just a digital brochure, but a powerful tool for achieving your business objectives. Remember, a great website is never truly finished—it should evolve with your business and your users’ needs.

By focusing on these areas, you’ll create a website that not only looks professional but also provides a seamless, enjoyable experience for your users. This, in turn, will contribute to higher engagement, increased conversions, and ultimately, the success of your online presence.

As you work with your web development team, use these points as a checklist to ensure your new website will be set up for success from day one. And remember, a positive user experience isn’t just nice to have—it’s essential for staying competitive and meeting the ever-increasing expectations of your online audience.

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