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Understanding intuitive web design

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Intuitive web design may seem like a logical approach, yet modern website builders focus heavily on the aesthetics of sites. They present the idea that beautiful pages are sufficient to sell any product or service. But when you ask consumers what they actually want, you discover a very different story.

It turns out that most users just want something comfortable to use and relatively simple to understand. They don’t want to have to jump through hoops. Instead, they want you to guide them to something that will either solve their problem or take away their pain. So what’s the key to intuitive web design? How do you do it?

4 Steps into understanding intuitive web design

1. Make your site predictable

While being predictable might sound boring, it is vital for encouraging people to engage with your site successfully. Where possible, you want to enable customers to rely on what they have learned from their interactions with other sites.

In a sense, therefore, providing a unique customer experience isn’t the top priority.  It is more important to ensure that the nuts and bolts of your pages resemble those in other places on the web. Customers shouldn’t experience a steep learning curve when interacting with your site for the first time. It should feel natural and intuitive, even if they haven’t been there before.

2. Create an intuitive structure

UX and card sorting have been essential components of web design for a long time, but businesses often overlook them. The basic idea is to give a group of random users cards depicting products or pages and then get them to arrange them in a way that makes sense logically. You then take their data and use it to create the structure of your website, organizing the pages according to the site map that makes sense to users.

In a sense, therefore, you’re democratizing web design. Instead of relying on what makes intuitive sense to a seasoned designer, you’re falling back on customer needs.

3. Cut out any unnecessary interactions

When customers visit your site, they’re not looking for the digital equivalent of a brain teaser. They just want to grab information, take action, or leave. A lot of companies, however, are jumping on the trend of increasing the number of interactions on their sites. They think that they can boost engagement by including user-generated features of gaming, but rarely is this true.

In general, adding features is a bad idea, except in some very specific niches. Users don’t want to spend hours fiddling around and clicking buttons. They want you to solve their problems there and then. If you don’t, then they will get bored and go elsewhere.

4. Be minimalistic

Unless you have an established website, the best strategy is to be as minimalistic as you can. You want to keep your site slim and remove any unnecessary clutter so that users can see precisely what they should do next. Ultimately, your goal should be to avoid both confusion and distraction. The sales funnel should lead inexorably to conversion. It shouldn’t cause users to go on detours or investigate products that aren’t suitable for their needs.

It may seem somewhat of an old school way of thinking but at the end of the day, if you were to take 2 extremes, a site beautifully designed but hard to navigate and the second, simpler in design but extremely user friendly, it is a no brainer as to which will be easier for users to interact with. People look for the familiar, even on websites. The cost of being over the top innovative may, in fact, result in users not wanting to spend any time on your website. It is interesting but like for many products and services, what works and what doesn’t work for websites, also gets dictated by our users.

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