A website’s composition and layout will make or break your user engagement metrics. In fact, a recent study conducted by Adobe said that 38 percent of customers will stop engaging with a website that has an unattractive layout, while 35 percent said that they will switch devices once engaged with a site that has the same composition. As the market becomes saturated with thousands of websites offering similar products or services, a stellar web design will help firms set themselves apart from competitors. There are various ways to improve your web design layout and composition. We have identified the top four approaches to make sure you do not lose 38 percent of your website visitors too.
Identify the right website layout that will suit your brand
Not all web design layouts are created equal. For instance, a single visual may work well for a start-up offering a core product, while the same layout may not maximize value for an enterprise with a very diverse portfolio. To know which web design layout will not make your visitors churn, it is useful to know what are the most commonly used patterns.
Use Z Layout for a content driven website
The Z Layout refers to a composition that follows the natural direction of our eyes. It starts from the left, going to the right, down diagonally, then back again to the right, following a pattern like the letter Z. Normally adopted by media sites, this layout is effective for websites with lots of content to offer, as it maximizes the space by putting a navigation element together with the main content. Popular sites such as Huffington Post and Spotify use this layout.
Rule of thirds layout suit e-commerce sites
Another web design layout is called the rule of thirds – adopted from the guidelines of good photography and film making composition. This pattern divides a page into nine equal parts. Normally adopted by e-commerce websites, the generous space allotted for each of the nine partitions are perfect to put pictures of products or services with a description snippet. It allows designers to feature the most popular content and even rotate it like a carousel. Another great quality about this web design layout is that it can be used in conjunction with other compositions such as a single visual or with a grid. Companies using this web design are Shopify and Amazon.
Golden ratio is common to social media sites
The last most commonly used web design layout is the golden ratio. Following mathematical principles of balance, the site composition and partitions can be based on the golden ratio number of 1.618. To apply the principle, follow this example: suppose you’re given a page of 950px, this will be divided by 1.618, in which its quotient of 587 will be subtracted to the 950, giving a difference of 363px. Use the 363px space to feature the most important part of your website and utilize the remaining spaces for smaller features and/or sidebar. The golden ratio is commonly utilized by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Trim down secondary content
We always think the more content the better; however, Hick’s Law states that the more choices people have, the time it takes them to make decisions also increases exponentially. As such, it is important in website composition to trim down secondary content like widgets, external ads, and sidebar tools because they cause cognitive stress to site visitors. This makes them delay decisions such as placing an order or subscribing to a trial version.
Pay close attention to fundamentals of composition
Customers decide whether they like a site or not within 50 milliseconds. To make sure that customers don’t frown at your page and click the back button, remember to design your main navigation as crystal clear as possible, and place it on top of the panel to make sure that even first time users know where to go. A minimalist approach is also a great practice in website composition because it helps customers to focus more on the main content. Colors also play an important role to accentuate important decisions. For example, use a stronger color for call to actions such as “Buy Now” or “Subscribe”. In addition, good spacing gives a lot of breathing room and allows visitors to better digest the content.
Know how users scan information
A content-heavy website strains visitors and also forces them to pay less attention. To compose a good website, it is useful to know that customers scan information vertically- following a F pattern. Knowing this should enable strategic placing of main content such that the most important content lies on the far left, and details can be placed moving to the right along with other call to actions. It is also useful to put advertisements on the right as well, so it is not confused with the main content.
Remember a good website design should be able to communicate with the users and persuade them to take clear action. To influence user decisions, the layout and composition of elements together with other interpersonal communication techniques should be persuasive. Salience, or the capability to make an object appear more important compared to its surroundings, and anchoring, or setting a frame of reference to make an object appear cheaper or more expensive, are other website design techniques that can be implemented in addition to good website layout and composition. Following these great website composition practices and trends can help drive your website’s customer engagement and your conversion rate.