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User experience guidelines

2. Employ a clear structure to guide users

Keep these user experience principles in mind when optimizing your site

No matter what page a user lands on, you only have a few seconds on that first screen with the space above the fold to get their attention and show them what you’re all about. Employing a simple hierarchy will give your page a clear structure that will guide users and highlight what you want them to see.

Another thing to keep in mind is the information architecture of your site. Users are able to recognize familiar pages from unfamiliar based on the consistent way you organize and display information on your site. If your website’s structure is not logical or what they expect, users will be lost and not sure where to go next. This adds to overall frustration and can lead to users leaving your site.

Use these simple design tips to create a structure for your page:
  • Contrast: Using color, saturation, or opacity to juxtapose elements on the page.
  • Size: Size is one of the easiest design levers to guide your users. Don’t be afraid to use BIG and BOLD elements to draw users’ attention to the most important information on the page.
  • Alignment: Elements that share a common axis appear related.
  • Whitespace: Drawing attention to specific elements by leaving empty space around them. It also makes your design more appealing to the eye.
  • Grid: Using a simple grid to layout elements on your page will create a sense of order and structure.
Illustration of user experience guidelines.

Newspaper sites usually do a great job creating structure through hierarchy. The breaking story or most important piece of news dominates the screen. This ensures it’s the first thing you see. Major headlines from other sections are also big and bold so a user that’s browsing can quickly and easily pick them out. The size and contrast of photos and headlines helps to guide users through the page.

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