User-friendly is a phrase we use to describe well-made, impressionable websites. At its core, user-friendly is an all-encompassing phrase that declares features within a website easy to use. A website that is user-friendly is intuitive, leading the user on a journey that is absent of friction and requires very little thought from its visitors. The conversation between an intuitive, user-friendly site and its user is easily navigated, quick, and memorable; everything goes according to plan, the user never thinks twice.

When designing your site, you want it to reflect your brand according to your own expectation but you also want the experience to resonate with your users. Simple design tweaks can make your users feel better as they explore the journey you’ve created for them on your site.

Performance Above All Else

When it comes to your WordPress sites, think of performance and security as the cake and the user experience (UX) as the frosting; you certainly can have a frosting-less cake but frosting alone has no functional value. No one will care that your site is beautiful, accessible and completely intuitive if performance is an issue. Slow load times and downtime guarantee bounce rates, making all your work on UX useless. Prioritize performance and security above all else. Check out some tips to get started.

We want you to focus on creating and maintaining beautiful digital experiences. That’s why our Digital Experience Platform takes care of performance and security for you. Our best in class cloud partners, high availability solutions, and enterprise-grade security help you press ahead, worry-free.

Think Hard About Color

Never before have we been able to use such vibrant colors to convey our brand. Color and emotion go hand-in-hand. When we use color strategically, users start to associate feelings with our website and logo. Take the classic brand Coca-Cola. Red is associated with excitement, boldness, love, and passion; Coke’s cherry red logo helps it stand out among other competitors on the shelf and also instills a sense of excitement and nostalgia.

A study from the University of Toronto showed that most of the people surveyed preferred simple color combinations including two to three preferred colors. Always choose a dominant and secondary color for your brand first. Next, use accent colors to highlight secondary information on your website. Remember to follow the 60-30-10 rule. Your dominant color will account for 60% of the space on your website, the secondary color 30% and your accent color 10%. Remember that anything that is clickable and leads the user to a different destination needs to be the same color. Get started by creating a palette or pulling a color scheme from designated photos or logos.

Reconsider White Space

Don’t be fooled—white space isn’t actually white. This common misconception is what keeps many people from designing clean, sleek sites. White space is any area of design free from images, text, or decoration. Its function is to add clarity, organization, and legibility.

White spaces are also the areas on the web that help draw attention to a particular object. White space helps to increase comprehension, highlight and isolate important user interface elements, and create a tidier design. There are two types of white space you’ll want to utilize strategically: active and passive.

Passive white space doesn’t have a role in user design but instead acts to improve aesthetics without directing the user through a specific journey or flow. Active white space is used to create a page structure by guiding the attention of the user.

Google can be considered the OG when it comes to white space, based on its  sleek and simplified homepage. The absence of clutter and reduced user paths put less work on the user resulting in a brain break—even if just for a moment— and makes users feel calm and relaxed.  

Call To Action, Emphasis on the Action

The call to action buttons on your site should be so enticing that your audience can’t help but click. If you follow design best practices, the call to action button will feel natural during the user’s journey on the site. Learn more about Call to Action WordPress plugins here

Remember that smaller targets are harder for users to hit than larger ones because smaller targets require more accuracy, increasing the risk that you will click on the wrong target. Apple’s iPhone Human Interface Guidelines recommends a minimum target size of 44 pixels wide and 44 pixels tall. Microsoft’s Windows Phone UI Design and Interaction Guide suggests a touch target size of 34px with a minimum touch target size of 26px. Nokia’s developer guidelines suggest that the target size should be no smaller than a 1cm x 1cm square or 28 x 28 pixels.

Call to action buttons should be big, bright, standing on their own and very obvious. Remember, you don’t want your users to have to think. This means giving the buttons very clear and obvious labels. Avoid labels like “CLICK ME” and “SUBMIT” in favor of labels like “DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK NOW” or “LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PLATFORM.”

Putting it All Together

Digital experiences are part of our daily life. Just as a long line at the grocery store makes our blood boil or stop-and-go traffic makes us irritated, websites with slow wait times and fruitless design leave a bad taste in our mouth. When creating digital experiences, remember to always put the user or customer first. At WP Engine, we’ll help by providing you with a platform that helps bring your vision to life. Check out our plans today.