The perfect match
approx 9 minute read
Finding the perfect match can be a tricky business – just ask anyone who’s been on a first date that ended in disaster!
Budding new relationships can be exciting, but also sometimes a little tricky to navigate.
There’s often an instant attraction of course, but every new day can be a bit ‘make or break’ as you feel each other out. (Yes, we said ‘out’).
But did you know that web design and budding relationships have more in common than you might think?
Just like in the dating world, it takes more than just a pretty face to make a meaningful connection with your website visitors.
Your website may get its fair share of suitors each month. (And if it doesn’t, perhaps we need to work on that lonely hearts column).
But what steps can you take to turn these anonymous users into secret admirers? Or better still, not-so-secret admirers.
How can you create a website that will truly capture your visitors’ hearts and keep them coming back for more?
Let’s explore 10 relationship-based UX design tips to help make your website the perfect match.
#1 Instant attraction
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
Your pupils dilate, your heart beats faster, you feel a little warm all of a sudden.
You know it in an instant, right? One twentieth of a second, in fact.
That’s all it takes to form an impression of a website.
So it’s important that yours looks stylish and credible from the get go.
You only have one chance to make a first impression.
A visually appealing website is more likely to catch visitors’ attention and keep them browsing for longer.
So, focus on creating an eye-catching design, choosing the right colours and images that suit your brand.
Craft engaging and relevant copy that resonates with your target audience.
And helps them discover the things they are looking to find, or do, on your website.
When it’s early days, give each other some space. White space.
White space or negative space is a design element that helps to balance the layout and create a sense of breathing room.
It makes the content more readable and easier on the eyes.
Less alarming when you first land on the page.
Crucial when forming a first impression.
#2 Have fun
“Play together, stay together”
It’s not all about the looks, of course.
It’s also about the money. Kidding!
Almost every person lists ‘a good sense of humour’ as high on their ideal partner wishlist.
The same holds true for websites.
Injecting some humour and fun into your website’s design and copy can go a long way in keeping visitors engaged and interested in your brand.
Use interesting and relatable copy, playful and creative visuals.
Illustration can often provide an effective way to add character.
Perhaps even create interactive elements that encourage visitors to have fun and engage with your brand. Or explore a little.
Video and audio content can help make a page more dynamic.
Play together, stay together.
#3 Speak the same language
“We’re on the same (web) page”
The language of love, baby. Only joking, eww.
Communication is key in any relationship, and it’s no different when it comes to website design.
But seriously, how do couples hit it off when they don’t speak the same language?
They KISS of course (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Government guidelines recommend writing in short sentences that are easy to understand.
Avoid jargon and complicated terms.
Structure your content in a way that is easy to scan and read.
This helps people to quickly find what they’re looking for.
Check out how to write for the web for more guidance.
Accessibility is also a crucial aspect of UX design that should not be overlooked.
Your website should be accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments.
Use accessible colour contrast, provide helpful, descriptive alt-text for images.
Sage snippet: This also helps with SEO.
#4 Understand their needs
“They just get me”
Sometimes it’s hard to know for sure what to reasonably expect from a new relationship.
Or, if you’re punching, what they even see in you.
But you’re gonna need to figure out exactly what your web visitor is hoping to find from your time together.
Maybe it’s support and generosity. Or perhaps it’s just coffee and a spot of shopping.
Whatever it might be, the key is to understand the intent so that your website can deliver on the heart’s desires.
Take the time to research your target audience, understand their goals, questions, and challenges.
Then create content that speaks directly to their needs.
Use data and analytics to identify areas where your website can be improved, and ask for feedback from your visitors to gain valuable insights.
Once you understand what people come to your website to find, or do, you can help them complete their desired actions without any hiccups.
Some tips to help provide a seamless user experience include clear navigation, intuitive design, and no technical errors that could frustrate your visitors.
Check out our article on SEARCH INTENT if you’d like a deeper dive into this crucial topic.
Things moving a little too fast?
In the web world, that’s unlikely.
Your web visitor will want to keep the relationship moving at pace.
Perception of speed is an important factor.
Page load times especially.
Dither too long and a user who might’ve been marriage material is on their bike.
Visitors want a website that loads quickly and smoothly, without any lag or delay.
Slow page load times can lead to frustrated visitors who may quickly abandon your site in favour of a faster competitor.
So, optimise your website for speed by doing some technical housekeeping.
Minimise page load times. Compress images and videos. Reduce the number of HTTP requests.
We can take a look at your technical SEO for you, as a main package with real human SEO experts.
Or as a monthly report that you can tackle yourself with our optimiser tool as part of SEO console.
“Let’s take it slow”
Although perception of speed is important, there’s still room for couples who want to take things ‘step by step’.
Complex forms for example. Demanding all that info up front can make many turn and run.
The key is to make the form-filling process as seamless and user-friendly as possible.
If you have a long list of questions, consider splitting the form up into multiple steps with page breaks.
Use clear and concise labels that explains what information is required. Make it clear what is optional and not.
Provide real-time feedback to users as they fill out the form, such as highlighting the next required field or showing an error message if the information entered is incorrect.
Pre-fill fields with smart defaults. These are values that are likely to be correct, such as the user’s country or language, to make the process faster and easier.
In a Nettl nutshell: Keep it simple, minimise friction, and provide clear feedback to guide the user along the way.
#7 Size matters
One study has shown that couples with large height differences have the most successful marriages.
Others prefer to hit on someone their own size.
But one place that size really does matter is in the browser, especially when thinking mobile first.
Mobile-first web design is important because it prioritises the user experience for mobile users, who make up a significant and growing portion of internet users.
In fact, in 2022, mobile devices accounted for over half of global internet traffic.
With mobile-first design, websites are designed and optimised for smaller screens, touch inputs, and slower internet connections, ensuring that mobile users can easily access and use the website.
On all websites, but mobile devices especially, prioritise the information most important to your users.
So as to make the task-at-hand simpler, perhaps hide content that is not so mission-critical.
Make sure the size of your headlines and body text work well for the new screen size and reading distance.
Any button or touch target should be nice and big with enough spacing around it that you can comfortably hit it with your thumb.
#8 Clear signals
“Where is this going?”
It’s common for relationships to hit a snag when they don’t seem to be going anywhere.
Maybe there’s too much effort involved or no clear intention of what the future may hold.
There’s no room for this type of confusion in web design.
Instead, you should take your user gently by the hand and clearly guide them through each of the steps involved, presenting a clear call to action at the end.
No guesswork. No dead ends.
Ensure your call to action stands out. Make it relevant to the content and purpose.
Do this by considering what the user has learned or accomplished on the page, and then think about what action you would like them to take next.
Better still, think about what action they would like to take next.
If appropriate, add a sense or urgency, or reassurance.
For example a limited time offer, free consultation, or no-obligation quote.
Once established, avoid mood swings to help keep the relationship on course.
People like to know where they stand.
So ensure your design and navigation is consistent, use the same colours for the same kind of things, like buttons and links.
Be creative, but try not to deviate too far from common website patterns and norms.
If we were spouting UX glossaries we might call these things ‘Affordances’.
Affordances in UX refer to how the design of an interface suggests how it can be used.
They’re the signals that help users understand how to interact with a digital interface, like the way a button suggests it can be clicked.
Or where you’d expect something to appear on a page.
This is because users have certain expectations of where they’ll find certain elements based on their prior experience with other websites or apps.
For example, users expect to find a website’s logo in the top-left corner of the page.
They will be familiar with how a ‘hamburger menu’ works. And we’re not talking drive-through.
By using these conventions, designers can help reduce cognitive load (thinking) for the visitor, enhancing user experience.
Check out ‘Don’t make me think’ by Steve Krug.
However, it’s important to balance these expectations with the unique needs and goals of the website.
So as to avoid creating a cookie-cutter design that doesn’t stand out or indeed meet the user’s specific needs.
So in summary, no surprises. Unless it’s a fancy dinner of course, or flowers.
” Never trust a smiling cat”
We’re not talking about marriage proposals on day one.
We’re talking about a story behind a thousand heartbreaks: A lack of trust.
No relationship can survive without a foundation of trust.
And without trust, there is no security.
So what steps can your website take to gain trust?
We’ve written about website credibility before.
Things like SSL, appearance, fresh content, and easy ways to get in touch are all really important.
Social proof is a powerful psychological trigger that can increase trust and credibility.
Use customer testimonials, reviews, social media likes, and shares to demonstrate that your brand is trustworthy and has a strong reputation.
Funny, because in the real world you might be interested in someone that seems trustworthy, looks the part, is engaging, has a good reputation and is approachable.
And perhaps that’s not such a coincidence?