Web usability tries to eliminate or improve the elements that generate confusion or frustration in the user. Some of the trends in usability are simplifying processes, increasing font size, and prioritizing what is essential.
Usability can be defined as how easy it is for users to navigate and interact with a web page . In this sense, aspects such as the font size, the loading speed , the ease of carrying out actions or the layout of the menus , among other things, become important. All these elements have a key role in the positive or negative perception of users.
For web pages to generate a good user experience, usability must be worked on.
In a previous post we told you the 5 keys to achieve a positive user experience on your website . Today we focus on web usability trends, which emphasize removing obstacles when browsing.
Next, we tell you which are the main ones:
Our world of 2018 is turning us into rush consumers: we seek the maximum content, with the minimum expression . That is, designs with fewer elements, simplified but effective.
Prioritize the essentials
We will see more and more web pages in which only the essential is shown , omitting texts and images that do not contribute anything. These exclusively “decorative” elements only serve to distract the user’s attention. Extensive content is reserved for those users interested in learning more, so it is kept in the background.
Users positively value simple, functional and attractive experiences .
Eliminate cognitive load
Cognitive load occurs as a result of users being confronted with confusing web pages, with overly innovative designs, too many options to choose from, or redundant actions . All these black points of web design reduce efficiency and produce a negative perception in the user experience.
- Balance and elegance against the noise.
- Eliminate distractions and avoid ambiguities.
- Get rid of distractions.
- A focus of attention per screen, that the message is clear and without distractions.
- Simple and clean images, with few elements that do not break with the web design.
- Subtle and essential animations that are not excessively distracting.
Therefore, white and empty space remain king . If you want something to work, surround it with nothing. Minimalism as a trend that focuses on the essential has a long life.
It’s not just about not asking for irrelevant information . Forms are improved by preventing users from having to repeat their email twice or having to create a strong password with many requirements (combining numbers with upper and lower case letters, for example). The objective is to reduce the registration and authentication phases to the minimum expression to improve the user experience.
Likewise, the forms must offer the essential options . For example, those that force you to mark the reason for a query in a dropdown should be avoided.
2. DESIGN TO READ
Increasingly, a larger font size is used to facilitate reading and thus draw the user’s attention. Typography with large, bold fonts is widely used to increase legibility and readability of content .
Highly readable sites share these techniques:
- Clean, simple typefaces with serif or sans serif options, including regular weights and uniform kerning.
- Text size is slightly larger than expected, often starting at 16 points for normal text.
- Exaggerated paragraph spacing.
- Text blocks are surrounded by large margins with plenty of white space
Creative use of bold
Bold, extrabold: bold is on the rise.
Boldface stands out against the background and draws attention . Bold typeface is anything that screams “read me.”
The simple and basic use of bold type does not have to be boring, but can include something unexpected, such as a fun font, a colorful fill, or being too big or small to attract attention.
3. DESIGN TO SAVE TIME
The design to save time for the user (time saving design) continues to be a notable trend in 2018 for being an important part of the UX.
Reduce loading speed
Loading speed is the workhorse of many web pages . Keep in mind that less and less time is spent deciding whether or not to stay on a website: 3 seconds if the page does not load.
Optimizing graphic content is vital to avoid dropouts. In 2018, icons are gaining ground as a graphic resource because they weigh little and speed up the web.
To improve the user experience when placing videos, images, or effects on a web page, care must be taken with load times . Some techniques that are being seen more and more are microinteractions, hover effects and parallax effects.
Microinteractions only produce a change when the user interacts with the page. Hover effects are activated when the user hovers over an image. Parallax effects are movements of web elements that are activated when scrolling.
It is about creating intuitive navigation experiences that reduce friction, save time and allow the user to achieve their goal in a limited number of steps . For this reason, it is convenient that the navigation and the main content are visible at the first glance. And also that the site orients or guides the user during navigation and anticipates its needs.
The skeleton design is another trend in web usability that is gaining popularity. Using the skeleton design technique, the pages load in stages , from the simplest to the most complex, providing a great improvement in web usability. Therefore, the structure of the page will be seen first and then the content, as if they were modules that act independently.
4. BET ON BALANCE
Although multimedia elements are gaining prominence, design must be balanced to communicate through a fair combination of text, images, graphics and multimedia resources . This helps focus the user’s attention and improves web usability.
We have already seen that the design must be adapted so that the user, in addition to not wasting time, guides him without making him feel that he loses control. This is achieved if the web environment generates trust, empathy and captures their attention .
This experience is generated by designers through different elements and aesthetic effects that please and surprise the user. Gradients, duotones , illustrations, small animations, asymmetries, fonts and colors mark the design in 2018.
5. SIMPLE MOBILE INTERACTIONS
As techniques and effects on desktop websites become more complex and demanding, mobile versions of those same websites should seek a differentiated, more streamlined, reduced, and device-centric experience. When it comes to usability and function, simplicity is key with mobile devices .
Often the mobile option requires more speed and not to rely on high-speed internet connections that are not always available. Simpler interfaces are easier to use when screen size is limited.
Some of the desktop-oriented layouts with video elements and complex animations should translate in a simplified way to smaller screens. More and more designers are working with complex desktop layouts and implementing a simplified version on mobile .
6. PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS
Progressive Web Apps bring together the best of both worlds: websites and apps. These do not require installation, are quickly displayed in any browser, allow local storage and can be loaded without an Internet connection.
They also make it possible for the user to place an icon on their mobile that will take them to the web page, just as it happens with applications. However, unlike apps, they do not take up space on your device .
7. DESIGN SYSTEMS
Users have learned a way to navigate and function within a web through conventional actions . The trend in web usability for 2018 is to make the most of these mental models .
It is not about eliminating creativity. The goal is to avoid the user having to experiment and learn a new way of interacting on the web page. For example, changing the location or color of the buttons to confirm or cancel plays against usability.
Design, as an organism
Evolvable and scalable website design requires that it be standards based .
The idea of a design system was formulated in 2016 by Brad Frost under the name Atomic Design . It is a concept aimed at making the construction of websites easier, while the result is consistent and robust and can be developed in less time.
It consists of dissecting the design into its essential and basic elements: atoms, molecules, organisms, templates and the page, so that through composition and combinatorics final designs are generated according to need.
It is also aimed at making the effort to maintain and evolve the website more manageable in terms of time and effort, thus avoiding the entropy that all web development tends to have over time.
These are some of the trends in web usability that we see in 2018 . All of them seek that the design does not interfere with ease of use and navigability . The website is the letter of presentation of the company. A creative design is important but as long as you know how to generate a good user experience.