UX WordPress Practices
This article will share the best User Experience (UX) & UI guidelines and practices for WordPress websites to be successful
User experience (UX) design creates products that provide users with meaningful and relevant experiences. This involves the entire process of acquiring and integrating the development, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. Today’s article will share the best User Experience (UX) and UI guidelines and practices for WordPress websites.
You probably already know how easy it is to start a website with WordPress. But once you add features and content, things get complicated fast. One essential aspect you must remember is the UX best practices for WordPress. User Experience (UX) holds the key to your business success. The users buy your goods and services, not the search engines.
It is common to find website owners, developers, and designers who confuse UX with User Interface (UI). UX and UI are closely related but different enough to warrant an explanation.
Difference between UX and UI
To get a better understanding, let’s define them in the following terms:
Web Usability: It’s the ease of use of a website.
User Interface (UI): A place where humans interact with machines. For example, a button is a part of the user interface. Developers use tools to develop a user interface that should align with the business requirement.
User Experience (UX): This concerns users and how they feel about your website. Designers must ensure that the user experience is always top-notch and that user interaction is pleasant.
For example, a WordPress theme with a great user experience can have many user interfaces (like the theme). Still, each must provide the best possible user experience for your specific niche.
If you have a corporate website, the homepage should make clear what your business is about and what your core philosophy/values are, and possibly display your products or provide a way to get a quote. Many corporate websites use a big “above the fold” photo or a background video of their offices. Maybe they showcase their main products, how they’re made and what benefits they offer. If you run a corporate website, it’s important to state your case immediately.
For other niches, different factors may come into play. If you’re a blogger, people want to know more about you. Personally, your background, and your competence, so focus on making yourself transparent and likable to induce trust. If you’re a musician, you had better highlight your music and latest album or EP art.
Usability < User Interface < User Experience
Good usability is an integral part of an excellent user interface. A user interface is the front face of your brand’s online presence as it directly influences the user experience. Now that we know the difference let’s move on to the best UX best practices for WordPress.
UX Best Practices for WordPress
WordPress is a CMS that excels at providing the tools to build your website, but it doesn’t warrant it will be perfect in every way. You need WordPress UX and UI best practices to make it worth your visitors’ time and build trust from their first interaction with your brand.
Clean and Simple Design
Do you know what attracts people the most? A clean and simple design. It is common to find developers always working on getting a website full of features. But, they often forget the actual reason they are building the website. Users don’t care about the functionality until and unless they can easily use the website.
It is a good idea to keep asking yourself, “Will the visitors or the website admins be able to use it without difficulty or confusion?” This will ensure that your final design meets current design standards. If the answer is “no” at any step, you need to go back to the drawing board and think about how to make it more intuitive.
When your users land on focused, uncluttered pages, it gives you more chances to convert them into subscribers and/or customers. People don’t like to think hard when browsing. It’s your job to do this for them. The good news is that most of the best WordPress themes offer a simple and clutter-free design that can easily be customized. If you are looking to design your WordPress website, make sure you stick to simplicity. It gives you more flexibility and fewer moving parts that can break.
Responsive Web Design UX WordPress Practices
One of the crucial aspects of modern user experience (UX) is responsive web design. Mobile devices have taken over the internet. I’ve heard people run their entire businesses on smartphones, especially with the rise of 5.5-inch devices and bigger ones. This makes it essential for WordPress websites to be responsive and adapt to all screen sizes, screen resolutions, and retina screens.
Not only does having a responsive design improves user experience, but it also improves your traffic. Dwell Time is something Google uses these days to measure how satisfied users are when they click on your website in the SERPs (search result pages). If they spend less time on the other results near yours, it means something is not suitable for your website, and they move it further down in the SERPs.
Two main things you can continually improve on your website:
- Information quality
- The way information is presented
A good user experience means the website delivers usable information on all screens.
Easy to Use Navigation
Almost every other website I see today has a complex information architecture. They have multi-level pages or posts. A designer must work with a developer to ensure that the visitor can easily navigate the website through proper navigation. WordPress has all the tools you need to add a navigation menu, but you can always add a mega menu plugin such as Uber Menu if you have many links.
You should also choose a simple permalink structure if possible. Unless you run a news website or publish several articles daily, I suggest you go with a “Post name” structure (you can use this guide to change your permalinks to make the switch).
Most people don’t rely solely on navigation when browsing. A website with good usability should include:
- Search box
One of the most popular WordPress plugins, Yoast SEO, gives you an option to add breadcrumbs to your WordPress theme. The Visualmodo WordPress themes are compatible with Yoast SEO, and it’s easy to add breadcrumbs.
Creating many different ways for users to navigate your website ensures better usability and a more pleasant user experience.
Design Around Content UX WordPress Practices
Without content, no website is complete. Great design can be attractive, but the content will help you sell your business to the target audience. The content-focused layout is not only pleasing to the eyes, it enables users to digest your content easily. The more content users digest, the more they know and trust you, and the more leads you get.
A UX design based on best practices will always consider the text first. Select the right typography for your niche and create UX around content.
Highlight important parts of your content to break the text line and make your writing more interesting.
Your content should look good. The right font type, size, and color can make your content shine and interest users in what you have to say. Formatting should also complement your content flow. Proper configuration means you use headings and subheadings, bullet lists, different sentence lengths, use words in bold or italic to emphasize important words, images, lists, etc. All this makes your content more interesting to read.
Use Micro-interactions for WordPress User Experience and UI
Micro-interactions are a simple way by which the visitor interacts with your website. They include subtle effects when you click on an article header or tooltip, hover and scroll results, an icon animation while your download is in progress, etc.
Microinteractions have two significant benefits:
- Encourage interactions
- Give feedback
This doesn’t seem much, but in reality, it plays a crucial role in UX and UI best practices for WordPress. Microinteractions are small rewards for your users. Improve user experience by implementing them.
Follow Principles For Good WordPress UX and UI
As an innovative and growing discipline, UX design is always open to creative approaches. However, there are some basic principles that every website owner and designer must know and apply to your WordPress site:
Meet user needs: The word “user experience” clarifies what to focus on. Know what your target users want and need in your website and give it to them. Even if UX seems magical to you, think about the users who will appreciate it.
Consistently: When browsing a particular website, users expect similarities to other similar websites they have used. It enables them to quickly familiarize themselves with newly opened websites without relearning them. Keeping designs consistent makes the designer’s job easier and improves the experience.
Ensure availability: Make your WordPress site available to many people. So, make your website accessible. Clear all obstacles to ensure smooth navigation. The less, the more.
Reduce users’ operational and cognitive barriers: Design should not be overloaded. Intuitive design. If you want to have a flawless WordPress user experience, you have to make it intuitive first.
Know your target audience: You can develop an intuitive WordPress site when you know your target users. You must dig as much as possible, including the target user’s age, gender, likes and dislikes, occupation, family, location, and more.
Easy to navigate: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel regarding intuitive design. Navigation on your website should be familiar and meaningful to users.
Expert specimen: Yes, copywriting is critical for SEO, but it is also vital for a better user experience and intuitive experience.
Creating an appealing website is not a simple task. WordPress makes it easy for anyone to create a website in minutes, but it requires a lot of thinking to create a usable enough UI with great UX. You should always consider how visitors will use a page or a section and then implement the features and functionality. It’s also essential to make your website fault tolerant so make sure you have a custom 404-page template. Non-existing or error pages can be starting points, not just dead-ends.
If you are impatient or don’t have the time and effort to focus on UX best practices for WordPress, you can simply get one of our hand-made Visualmodo themes. In addition, they all use UX best practices and are a great starting point for any new website’s design.
User Experience is a complex trade, and it is impossible to encompass all the concepts in a single blog post. Hopefully, the article introduces critical UX and UI best practices for WordPress and something to consider when creating or buying your next WordPress theme.
In conclusion, what do you think about UX best practices for WordPress? Does your current WordPress theme offer a good user experience to your users and why? I’m listening.