Interaction Design: How To Improve Your WordPress Website
Our society is moving towards greater and greater digital integration. Naturally, companies are aware of this fact, and the value of having a professional online presence has never been more critical.
Indeed, even companies that do not necessarily operate in an online environment can reap significant benefits from having a unique and effective website, turning casual visitors into loyal customers.
However, even though with WordPress, we can create a new site in a matter of minutes, simply putting one on the web will not be enough.
It may have the opposite effect – bringing the reputation and image of the company down by appearing amateurish and hastily built.
Furthermore, the maintenance and need to iterate until the right combination of website elements has been found necessitates continual and focused efforts.
Companies with limited resources may not establish a dedicated team handling the development and support of their website.
In this case, turning to a top WordPress agency to handle their website needs could be the most practical approach that ensures the best potential outcome.
After all, the company will match the services it requires with its available resources and pick a reasonable offer from a professional WordPress developer firm.
Even bigger organisations who wish to achieve premium user experience (UX) on their site may prefer turning to already established experts. But what exactly is user experience design, and how vital is it for the success of a website?
Definition of UX
UX is a process that encompasses the entire experience occurring between the user and a specific product.
It deals with varied tasks that go beyond how the interface works and the ways users interact with it and approaches more esoteric aspects such as how it feels to use the chosen product.
An effective UX design incorporates methodologies from different fields – from market research and data to human psychology and marketing.
The end goal is to provide a smooth experience that allows users to reach their intended destination quickly, fulfil the need that brought them to the site, and choose not only to stay there but come back to it in the future repeatedly.
There are multiple ways to improve the UX of your site, but they should all revolve around three fundamental concepts – design, usability, and content.
The perfect site will seamlessly incorporate a sleek and inviting design with intuitive and fast navigation, leading to compelling content. One way to further boost user experience is to integrate interactive design (ID) elements.
Difference Between UX and ID
Generally speaking, interaction design is a subset of the overarching user experience design of the product. It deals with a narrower scope of problems, but that also makes it more precise than UX.
Interaction design can be defined as the discipline that tries to understand and analyse how users interact with a product through an interface.
ID tries to create an ideal ‘interactivity flow' – a system of interconnected interface elements that form a coherent and usable product.
It tries to elevate Human-Computer Interaction and make it as close as possible to real face-to-face communication between two humans.
Improving UX through ID
Consuming content through an online medium opens avenues for interactivity that are not present elsewhere.
Taking advantage of emerging design trends could be a game-changer when it comes to the visibility of the site and the time users spend on it.
The introduced interaction elements, however, should not be included without serving a specific purpose. After all, the desired outcome is improved interaction with the engaging, efficient, and mutually beneficial site.
Enhancing the UX of your website is critical when it comes to turning prospective customers into actionable leads.
It would be best to create an excellent first impression and put as few obstacles as possible between visitors and their desired goals.
At the same time, the site needs to exert its influence on the users – be it subscribing to the company's newsletter, enticing them to share the page on social media platforms, or convincing them to make a purchase.
By turning their attention to interaction design, companies can minimise the friction experienced by users while browsing their websites.
People are unique and have specific preferences so making a website that will appeal to everyone is not feasible.
ID, however, will help you impress a wider audience by eliminating commonly encountered pain points. For example, a straightforward and streamlined checkout process could result in more people deciding to finalise their purchases.
Key ID Aspects
Understanding how to effectively implement interaction design means knowing the users' needs and addressing them with the appropriate design elements.
A good starting point is getting familiar with the three critical areas of ID.
- Usability – at a minimum level, the product must be usable for users to choose to give it a chance. Building upon it should include making the process more straightforward to grasp. Users should not spend any time figuring out how to navigate the site to reach their desired destination. Usability should have a higher priority than the site's visual appeal. No matter how beautiful the page may be, it won't matter if users get lost on the way there or are already too frustrated.
- Influence – getting the needed response from the user. Typically, the metric used to measure the influence of the site is the conversion rate. The exact user reaction depends on the particular goals of the company and its business operations.
- Visual Design – people are visual creatures, and appealing visual design is a crucial ingredient of any successful website. Beyond that, using the right visual cues could help users intuitively know how to navigate the site and what to expect to respond to their actions and clicks.
Dimensions of ID
The categorised dimensions are more practical expressions of interaction design. Initially, there were four dimensions of ID as defined by the interaction design academic Gillian Crampton Smith.
However, a fifth one was later introduced by Kevin Silver, a senior interaction designer at IDEXX Laboratories. The currently accepted ID dimensions are:
Words are among the most direct approaches you can take for conveying information. Having clear and easy-to-understand labels for buttons and other actionable elements is crucial in terms of interaction design.
2D: Visual Representations
These include all graphical and visual elements of the website – images, typography, videos, animations, photography, diagrams, icons, and more.
The visual representations can be supplemental to the information provided through words or easily recognisable symbols to convey meaning, such as a familiar icon for the site's search function.
3D: Physical objects or space
Account for the medium through which users are going to interact with the product. It can be a laptop, tablet, desktop computer system, or, as is typically the case, a smartphone.
This dimension also includes the environment or space where the interaction takes place. Are users sitting comfortably in their homes, riding a packed bus, or visiting the website in their office?
Interactions happen over time, and while you wish users to linger on your website for a while, they should be spending that time enjoying meaningful content and not being stuck and wondering how to proceed.
Usability, responsiveness, context, ease of perception, etc., are also part of this dimension.
This final ID dimension shows the culmination of the previous four and how they affect and define the user interactions with the product.
Keep in mind that it also includes all reactions generated from interacting with the system, emotional responses, and feedback.
Identify Opportunities For ID Implementation
The most visually attractive and effective way to boost the interaction design of your website is to include suitable animations on the most important pages or often used site features.
Animations can achieve greater immersion while making the content consumed by the users more appealing and enticing.
The added animations do not necessarily need to be grandiose or flashy; even a minor animated element can produce long-lasting impressions and make the site stand out in the user's mind.
Spruce Up The Loading
If a piece of content needs to load, the least you can do is make that time visually attractive. After all, we are all bored of having to slog through various load times throughout our day, both on our job and in our leisure time.
To keep users engaged during the hopefully few seconds of waiting, add a loading animation that will visualise the loading progress while also giving users something funny or relaxing to look at.
Add Animated Guides
Including animations showing users how to perform specific actions or complete a particular process could save space on the webpage and make the instructions far more memorable.
Users could get a visual example of placing an order, using a provided tool, completing their checkout or payment, etc.
Keeping the animations short and precise will provide the best results and improve the site's conversion rate.
Think About Interactive Scrolling
Users have to scroll through countless pages and do so every day. Make your website stand out by adding an interactive element to this otherwise mundane activity.
A well-thought-out motion during scrolling can elevate the experience.
Reinforce Your Brand
One of the goals of the company's website is to create a lasting image of its brand to all visitors. You can strengthen that effect by including a little visual flair or animation around your brand's logo design.
It will both catch the user's attention and enhance the overall design of the website.
You can turn the site's navigation into a real spectacle; it all depends on how creative you wish to get.
Even small additions that trigger whenever the user hovers over them could serve multiple functions – both notifying the user that this is an interactable element and showing what the expected result of the interaction is going to be.
Make An Interactive Product Page
An interactive product page can combine multiple elements to create a coherent and visually impressive experience.
The overall effect can be truly stunning and memorable if the moving or animated details are matched appropriately and highlight suitable product features.
While making everything move, flash, pop, and play a cute animation may be tempting, you should always put the user experience first.
When users open the site and are immediately bombarded by numerous visual stimuli, they may get overwhelmed, lose track of their goal and destination, and get distracted from the reason they visited the site in the first place.
In these cases, the most common result is that users will leave the site and go to a competitor.
The overall design should keep the decisions and options available to the user at any given time at a manageable minimum.
Keep the interactive additions under control by thinking carefully about the purpose of each one. Try to measure their effectiveness and make necessary changes.
Naturally, you will not be able to reach the site's full potential from the first try. This is a continual and iterative process that could go through several cycles before the most optimal combination of elements is found.
The interaction design of your website is a crucial factor of the offered user experience, and it can contribute significantly to the conversion rate.
It should also be aligned with the needs and expectations of the visitors and facilitate a smoother transition to achieving their particular goals.
The importance of interaction design is set to become even more prevalent in the future.
Numerous technologies such as AU (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) devices, voice-controlled gadgets, movement-operated tools, and more are on the verge of becoming a new mainstay in our society.
Each one offers new avenues for interaction that need to be explored thoroughly before achieving a convenient, engaging, and memorable experience.