When building a website, you are essentially trying to target two audiences — real people and Google’s search engine bots. Amidst efforts to improve SEO performance, it is easy to lose sight of what visitors expect from a design and usability perspective.

Any web design company will tell you that occupying a top spot in Google’s search result rankings is a good goal to have. But having a website that your customers will happily share with friends and family can do far more for your online and real-world reputation.

Here’s a list that will inspire you to put yourself in your customers shoes and begin to brainstorm what visitors might expect from your website.

Responsive design

If you’re shopping for something online, you might begin browsing on your phone during your lunch break. Later, while sitting on the couch at home, perhaps you pull out your tablet to continue your search. Having gathered all of the information you need, perhaps you head to your study and desktop computer to make the final purchase.

If at any one of these stages the website fails to load properly or becomes too difficult to navigate, it’s highly likely that you simply give up on your search and move to a different company. The best way to prevent customers from having this experience on your website is by using responsive web design.

Responsive web design is an approach that ensures a website is accessible on all different types of devices. From a technical perspective, achieving this involves using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to make sure that content can be resized, hidden, or moved to suit the user’s screen size.

Quick load times

Between work, family, and friends, we don’t have a lot of time to spend waiting for websites to load. In fact, 1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.

How does this impact web design? Well, while it might be tempting to fill your site with high-quality videos and images, doing so can put significant strain on the server. Images should be optimised appropriately and videos only used when they add real value to a page.

Features like pop-ups can also cause your website to lag. Think carefully, too, about where you source your fonts from. Several studies have shown that custom fonts — while they look great — are not ideal from a load time perspective.

Simple navigation and layout

We’ve all been around long enough now to have established a pretty firm idea as to what we expect from a website. From a user experience perspective, one of the most important responsibilities of a web design company is to not mess with the wheel.

Users expect to see large blocks of content broken up into smaller sections with appropriate headings. Navigational menus should run along the top or the left hand side of the screen. Don’t think by moving it to the right your customers will appreciate your creativity and quirkiness — they’ll most likely simply move to another website.

Use white space to your advantage to avoid a page looking too cluttered or overwhelming. And above all, ensure that you include a search bar so that potential customers can instantly find what they are looking for.

High-quality images

We know we said that images can negatively impact site speed, but not including any kind of photos, graphics, or illustrations means your customers will struggle to gain an accurate idea of your company. What’s arguably worse than no images is using stock photos that very clearly have nothing to do with your products and services.

Organise for high-quality, professional photos to be taken, and customers will instantly understand the quality of products you offer. While doing so might come with an initial upfront cost, the investment will certainly pay off in the long run.

A call to action

Your website needs to have a purpose. If you are an e-commerce company, that purpose will be selling your products. If you offer financial services, you will be wanting to provide potential customers with enough information that they reach out to make an inquiry.

This purpose needs to be clear to customers and easily acted upon. In the case of the e-commerce example, each step of the transactional journey — from adding a product to cart to entering your credit card details — should be obvious and effortless.

Potential clients who have to spend too long working out how to get to where they want to go will simply abandon your site for your competitors’.

Even after putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, if you’re still struggling to identify what they expect from your site, it could be time to speak to a web design company. After all, creating an engaging and seamless user experience is what these teams specialise in. Combining their knowledge of both human users and search engine bots, you’ll be left with a website that appeals to all audiences. What more could you ask for?

Author's Bio: 

I am a professional Writer. I am writing content for marketing, business and legal services. I am available for marketing and writing projects