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4 User Design Considerations For Small Businesses & Startups

By Glen Holmes posted 8/30/2016

For small businesses and startups, it is often difficult to stand out from the crowd. This can be the same with online presence. That is why a good user experience is paramount to not only attracting new users, but also keeping existing users engaged on your website. There are plethora of methods, trends and features that can be implemented to help you achieve a great user experience but we believe the most important of these are Flat Design, Responsiveness, Page Specific CTA’s and Clever Headers and Footers.

Flat Design
With smartphones now the most popular way of web browsing, users have become impatient, they want information, they want it fast and they want to consume it on the go.

Flat Design is an interface design methodology focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography and flat colour blocks. It is user-centric and puts an emphasis on providing the user with just the information they need. By proxy, Flat Design can also lead towards faster page loading.

Another big benefit of using a minimalist design methodology is the reduction of page clutter. Users end up with a more focused view on the product or service you are offering. Plenty of white open space around images or videos, breaking text into small consumable chunks and clever branding can all work towards attracting users and keeping them on your website longer.

With the advent of HTML5 and CSS3, it is now possible to offer a one size fits web design solution. By using a combination of a fluid proportion-based grid system, images that scale based on the screen size and the new @media CSS rule, websites can use different styles depending on the screen to resize, hide, shrink, enlarge, or move the content to make it look good on any device.

Using responsive design at the core of a web project can reduce the amount a business has to invest in web design and may also do away with the need for developing a mobile application. Another big benefit is users become familiar with your website as an experience and are happy when transcending from a mobile device to a desktop or vice-versa.

When considering using responsive design for a project, a key concern should be navigation, for example, buttons on smaller screens should be bigger, this may seem counter intuitive but fingers are not as precise as mouse clicks. 

Page Specific CTA’s
A Call to Action (CTA) is what your website is all about. Every page on your site should have a purpose, driving users towards performing an action that makes you money or gets your message out. Be it buying a product, subscribing to your blog or just spending more time looking around your website.

By making use of Flat Design methodologies like bold colours and clever typography, you can ensure your CTA’s stand out on pages they are relevant to, you are then more likely to drive users in the right direction and make the choice you want them to make.

For example, if on your about page you discuss your teams’ expertise, then a CTA to the services related to this expertise makes great sense from both a navigation and behavioural perspective. 

Clever Headers and Footers
Page headers are typically used for navigation and branding. Another great way to get the most out of your header is to integrate sign-in, e-commerce or localisation functionality. It should always be easy for users to access their account information, shopping baskets or simply change the website content to their language if you intend to deal with a multinational audience. 

Footers can often be underutilised and while it is good to keep them simple and clean, this can be done in a way that makes the footer area beneficial to your business. Some great elements to include in your website footer are contact information, a contact form, a small sitemap or even your business on a map.