In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic - OPTASY would like to offer DRUPAL website support for any Healthcare, Government, Education and Non-Profit Organization(s) with critical crisis communication websites or organizations directly providing relief. Stay Safe and Stay Well.

10 Ways that You Can Simplify Design and Increase Your Conversion Rate

10 Ways that You Can Simplify Design and Increase Your Conversion Rate

by Silviu Serdaru on Aug 19 2020

The road to cluttered website design is paved with good intentions.

For you want to make users' visits on your site as visually-pleasing as possible. So, you start adding lots of illustrated graphics and embellished fonts and... till it turns into a "carnival" of colors and styles.

You also want to impress them with loads of features. And to give them the freedom to choose from (so) many options.

The result? A confusing mess that sends visitors away in seconds.

So, how do you simplify design?

How do you set up a powerful, simple website design that converts?

Here are 10 handy techniques that you can implement:

1. Make Every Design Decision with the CTA in Mind

What do you want users to do on your website?

  • to download an app or maybe a free eBook?
  • to sign up for your newsletter?
  • to request a quote?
  • to leave a comment?
  • to share your blog post on social media?

Got your answer? 

Great! Now make sure that all the design elements on your site collaborate to help the user carry out that specific goal.

10 Ways to Simplify Design: Make Every Design Decision with the CTA in Mind

See that your call to action's visible enough and present enough times on your web pages, even if that means getting rid of elements that are purely decorative.

2. Use the 80/20 Rule to Prioritize Effectively

Applying the "law of the vital few" is a great way to simplify design.

Here's how it works:

  • since 80% of results (i.e. more clicks, more conversions, etc.) come from only 20% of the design elements on your website (buttons, CTAs, traffic funnels, specific UI elements, even white space)
  • ... you need to focus on that 20% of the content

Keep this criterion in mind whenever you need to prioritize certain design elements over others.

Whenever you need to get strategic about distributing your design efforts.

3. Start Questioning the Necessity of a Sidebar

As Neil Patel dared to put it into words:

"Do you really need a sidebar?"

To be sure, just run some tests (a tool like Crazy Egg comes in handy here).

You'll then know for sure:

  • how many visitors actually click on your website's sidebar
  • if it's a design element that converts or... just a distraction

4. Stick to 3 Color Options at Most

Sticking to a color palette is another effective and handy technique to achieve simplicity in website design.

Choose your 2-3 colors and... stick to them. 

Go with that cohesive color scheme to create a sense of harmony with all the elements of your website's design.

5. Trim Down Your Menu to Maximum 7 Items to Simplify Design

The short term memory is no myth.

Nor is the "paradox of choice".

With that in mind, you'll want to have up to 7 (preferably less) items on your menu. 

6. Use Standard Navigation

Why not get "daring" and surprise your website visitors with alternative navigation? Or maybe a hidden one?

Why should you stick to the same ol', same ol' style of navigation menu?

  • Because it's familiar. And "familiar" means less effort from the user.
  • Because it's straightforward. And "straightforward" means "more usable"

10 Ways to Simplify Design: Use Standard Navigation

In short, you'll want to:

  • stick to the top or pop-out navigation menus 
  • do your best to avoid mega-style navigation menus that end up overwhelming the users

7. Increase the Text Size

"But doesn't this technique to simplify design contradict other web page design rules?", you might ask yourself.

And I know which "rules" you must be thinking of:

  • the one that says that larger lettering is counter-intuitive on small-sized screens
  • the one that says that all key elements should be above the scroll

The truth is that mobile users are already used to scrolling and larger text size is easier to read.

So, why no make their task easier?

8. Keep Options to a Minimum

How can you simplify a design?

By limiting the number of options.

This way, you take a "saboteur" like choice overload out of the picture. 

In other words, present users with fewer choices and they'll be more likely to choose... something.

9. Break Up Complex Tasks into Smaller, Manageable Steps

And this is a straight path to creating a simple website design. Where "simple" stands for "better user experience".

Let's say you go to a website and at some point, you need to fill in a super long form, with lots of fields and multiple-choice questions. 

And they're all there, squeezed on the same screen: a discouraging network of columns with fields, and subfields, and...

Pretty daunting, isn't it?

But what if you:

  • rearranged everything on the screen into a single column?
  • broke up that "wall" of tasks into several little steps to take one at a time?
  • sequenced all the info across multiple screens?

In other words:

What if you hid your form's complexity using progressive disclosure? 

10 Ways to Simplify Design: Break Up Complex Tasks into Smaller, Manageable Steps

Users could fill in some fields on the first screen, then a few more on the next screen...

This way, they don't get overwhelmed thinking about what to fill out next. They can distribute their efforts more easily by taking one page at a time.

You'd then increase your chances of having users take some minutes of their time to fill in your form.

10. Stick to the "One Page, One Goal" Rule

How do you simplify a website?

You first answer this question:

"What is the one thing I want the user to do when they are on this page?" (Neil Patel)

Then, you implement that answer.

So, what is it that you expect your website visitors to do on a given page of your website?

  • to read that blog post?
  • to start a free trial?
  • to sign up for your newsletter?
  • to... click the "products" menu?

What is it?

Find out, then design your web page around this primary action.

Don't try to "juggle with" too many options, to ask the user to carry out several actions on the same page for... you'll only overwhelm him/her and send him away.

Choose one clear primary action for each page instead of placing your bet on multiple, equally important actions.

The END!

These are our 10 handy tips for you on how to simplify design and make it clean and easy to use.

Too many projects on your plate right now? Don't have the time and the team available to declutter your website's design and make it more usable, more... efficient?

Just shift the burden to us!

Drop us a line and let's simplify your site.

Image by Roland Steinmann from Pixabay  

Development

We do Web development

Go to our Web development page!

Visit page!

Recommended Stories

Blog Placeholder
The design and development industry continues to grow more competitively over the years. Agencies that have specific niches and all-around firms are popping left and right. Aside from those, there are also different types of development and design works. As a player in this game, we are driven by our clients’ reception. We value their success and their feedback more than anything else because that’s how we will continue to thrive and grow. We are OPTASY, a digital commerce, marketing, and web development agency based in Toronto. With 16 years of experience under our belt, we’ve experienced so many ups and downs that equipped us with the knowledge we need. We’re an internationally renowned and award-winning team that continues to work hard for our clients. With that said, it has just recently come to our attention that we’ve been selected by Clutch, an established B2B review agency, as one of our nation’s industry leaders. Our team has ranked among the top Drupal and Magento designers and developers because of our spot on projects. "We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the leading web developers by Clutch!" - Adrian Ababei, CEO of OPTASY, Inc. Clutch also created a list of the top fifteen companies. They measured agencies’ ability to deliver and service focus to determine the industry leaders — and OPTASY ranked sixth on their Leaders Matrix. In addition to that, our team is also found on The Manifest’s, Clutch’s sister site, top 100 mobile app developers in Canada list. This helps us prove that we can handle different projects and deliver phenomenal results. These two recognitions are igniting our drive to further our success this 2021. We are grateful for those who support us, especially our clients. This means so much to the whole OPTASY team.  What can we help you with? Contact us and let’s start collaborating! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 15'2021
5 tips to pass your Acquia Site Studio (Cohesion) Certification Exam
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to take the Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) Certification exam. In this post we are going to discuss why I took this exam and more importantly, how I passed it and became an Acquia Certified Site Studio Site Builder. Optasy and its commitment to quality through knowledge You already know that quality is part of the corporate culture of Optasy. For us quality is a key factor to protect our clients' investments and guarantee them a high ROI. But having a good QA department is not enough. Actually, it's often too late when the QA team detects an issue. At Optasy we prefer to ensure quality at the early stages of our projects, analyzing deeply the needs of our clients and transform them into effective digital experiences but we also know that the quality of the code we produce comes from the experience and the skills of our developers. That's why Optasy has an internal 'skill knowledge acquisition program' to help its employees (optasians) to acquire new skills or improve them. This program gives to each optasian one day off per month (paid by the company) to study a particular field. As a way to ensure knowledge acquisition and validation, optasians also receive paid leave to study and give their Acquia certification exams. This includes the exam cost too, that’s why many of the optasian developers are actually Acquia Certified developers or Acquia Certified site builders All things considered, it was a pretty easy choice for me to take the exam, not only do I get to improve my skills, but I get paid for it too! What are the Acquia certification programs? Acquia is a preferred Optasy partner that delivers a cloud-based digital experience platform built on Drupal that enables organizations to build experiences that scale. Acquia is committed to facilitating certification programs allowing developers to validate their Drupal skills year after year. Acquia certification exams are administered at Kryterion Testing Centers in more than 750 locations across the globe. Exams are also available as online-proctored tests and are often offered at DrupalCons across the world. What is Acquia Site Studio? Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) is a low-code solution for building and editing Drupal sites. As an Acquia partner, our team got the chance to become an early adopter of the technology.  Acquia Site Studio is a sort of layout builder on steroids without writing any line of code. Not only can you build layouts or templates, but also you can build whole websites from the headers to the footers, and everything in between, like components and widgets, just by using the interface. No code required! It's a kind of atomic design system (like Pattern Lab) where you can create and preview CSS style guides, components, template layouts, page layouts or view layout from a visual user interface with simple “drag and drop”. And all of this within your Drupal site! To be fair, Acquia Site Studio is an amazing tool allowing designers and marketers to create and modify any layout component without calling the development team. If you’re a designer with no coding knowledge you’ll be able to create totally unique layouts based on your designs using intuitive drag and drop layout builder. If you're an editor, you may choose the layout you want to use and add all the pre-designed components you wish. Want to add a slider or a 'Related Articles' block? You drag and drop it in your layout! 5 tips to successfully pass your Acquia Certified Site Studio exam As other Acquia Certification exams, the Certified Site Studio exam requires both experience and knowledge. Though the test is not difficult, it’s not something you want to run into unprepared. From my experience, the questions ranged from a very low to medium range of difficulty, there were barely any difficult questions. This exam validates your ability to: Understand the features and functionality provided by Site Studio Install and configure Site studio environment on new or existing websites. Build a website using Site Studio style builder, components and website structure design elements. The official description of this exam can be found on Acquia's certification overview page. But in short: The tests are all multiple choice. They don't require that you actually configure a Drupal site or write any code. They are available in person at a testing center, or at home by installing the exam software on your computer. The price was $155 (In my case, Optasy paid for the test) Get a good understanding of Drupal Layout Builder As I mentioned earlier, Acquia Site Studio is a Layout Builder on steroids and many concepts are the same, so having some experience with this Drupal module will help you a lot, like the inline editing tools or the concept of drawing element into the layout. This is not mandatory, but I felt really comfortable with Site Studio having this previous experience. Read carefully the contents of the exam On Acquia's certification overview page you'll find the blueprint of the exam like the following: But below it, you'll find the content itself. Read it carefully and repeatedly. This should be your guideline during your study. This will help you focus on what really matters but also to recap and structure your notes. Read and study the documentation While there are really good videos on the Acquia Academy site about Site Studio, watching all of them won't be enough. If you don't have prior experience with Site Studio, it's a good starting point. But it definitively won't give all the knowledge you need to pass the exam. Reading the documentation should sound obvious, but you'll really need to read and study all the documentation in depth. Don't leave anything behind cause the exam covers all the aspects of Site Studio, from the basics to more advanced topics. This will also give you the right vocabulary to understand the questions of the exam, since sometimes they can try to trick you changing just one word. So the technical vocabulary has an important role, and that's where the documentation comes into play. Write down some notes after reading each section. This will help you a lot during the recap! Train on the Acquia Site Studio demo environment You can request an online demo environment for free at the bottom of this page The main benefit is that you won't need an API key or an Agency key, so you can test Site Studio for free, the environment acts just like a normal Drupal website. and the site will be all yours to experiment on. This site will be your friend during your study, you should test everything you learned in the documentation here. Do it several times and try different cases. The night before the exam, after reading back your notes, try to build a site from scratch in this environment to recap all the main concepts. This is key! Don't forget the 'Miscellaneous concepts and features' part These three concepts are not placed in one section, they are dispersed in the documentation. Study and practice all of them because you'll have a question about each one. They are only three, it doesn’t sound like a lot but they are worth 15% of the exam! That is a quick and easy win! A bonus tip What really worked for me was to read a section, practice the concepts of this section in the demo environment, read again the same section and take some notes. The day after, read all the notes of the previous day, do the same 7 days later, reading back your notes and practicing again on the demo site. That way, 80% of what you studied will stay forever in your memory. Conclusions Acquia Certification Site Studio Site Builder can be a good way to validate your skills and knowledge There are barely any difficult questions Study all the documentation because the exam is based on it, but also because the exam will cover all of it. Practice a lot, recap a lot. ... Read more
Karim Boudjema / Aug 27'2020
Why Do You Need a User Journey Map? 7 Clear Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
How precisely does a user journey map help you improve the user experience on your website/app? What are the benefits of customer journey mapping?  Should you expect a direct impact on your conversion rate? In other words, why would you bother creating one? In this post, I've listed the 7 best answers (or “benefits”, if you wish) to your legitimate question: “Why use customer journey mapping?” 1. But First: What Is a User Journey Map? What exactly is a customer journey? And why should you bother... mapping it? It's a timeline that shows all the touch points between the user and your website or application, along with the emotions, motivations, and thoughts that he/she experiences at each step of the process. A shorter “definition” would be: A user journey map is the visualization of an individual's relationship/experience with your website/app across different channels that he uses to interact with it, over time. Does this answer your question: “What is user journey mapping in design thinking?” With this map at hand, it becomes easier for you to... locate the weak spots, where you need to improve the user experience... Too many teams focus almost exclusively on the user experience at the top and on the bottom of the sales funnel and underestimate the steps in the middle. So, they ignore precisely those touchpoints that drive conversions...  2. Why Use User Journey Mapping? Top 7 Benefits What's the purpose?  Why and when to use a user journey map? What design problems does it help you solve? Here are 7 strong reasons why you'd want to bother mapping users' journey on your website: 2.1. It urges you to adopt a more user-centric approach to web design In short, you get to see your website/app through the user's eyes. From his/her point of view. You step into the user's shoes, see how the user interacts with your site, and detect those areas of the user experience that... could be better. 2.2. It helps you answer your “What if...?” questions In other words, with all the valuable information of a customer journey map at hand, you're free to brainstorm ideas. To plan new features, ambitious updates for your website that would: improve the user experience increase engagement with your website and eventually... boost conversions 2.3. It enables you to make strategic recommendations backed up by UX data Are you monitoring quantitative KPI metrics in your company? If so, then a user journey map will help you back all your future recommendations for improving your site's performance with user experience data. 2.4. It helps you see where exactly your website doesn't meet the user's expectations By mapping the customer journey, you get to detect those specific systems and processes — part of the user's journey on your website — that are not aligned with his/her expectations. And to address these inconveniences that are costing you sales. 2.5. It helps you identify opportunities and pain points in the user experience Opportunities that, otherwise, you might just... overlook. And which you can now tap into for... further research (the “what if” question, remember?) A customer journey map helps you visualize both successes —  where your website performs best from a UX standpoint — and areas where you could make an impact. 2.6. It gives you a realistic picture of the user experience on your website Maybe you're convinced that you're doing a great job, yet users are having a really bad experience.  Mapping the user journey will provide you a realistic evaluation of the situation from the user's perspective. 2.7. It helps you evaluate the impact of the changes that you make to your website A user journey map makes a great tool for measuring the impact of the updates that you make.  Updates that you'll decide to implement based on the information that such a map will provide you with. To sum up, here's a short inventory of the benefits that you get from mapping the user journey: you improve your website's/app's design you improve conversion funnels you can compare the experiences of different audience segments you get to “fuel” your user research you get to measure the impact of touchpoints 3. How to Create a User Journey Map: 8 Steps Now that you know why you'd want to map your user's journey on your website, let's see how you do that. What key stages should your user journey map template include? And I've broken the whole process down into 8 simple steps: Step 1: Set a scope for your customer journey map Which could go from a high-level map — the end-to-end user experience — to a more elaborated map, that focuses on one specific user interaction (i.e. filling in the check out form). Step 2: Create your user persona To put together an accurate persona profile, you need to do some user research. Collect as much relevant information about your target audience as possible before putting together the user persona's profile. Step 3: Determine the scenario and the user expectations For instance, a scenario could be: buying an item from your store using your eCommerce app. Whereas the user expectation, in this case, could be: having that item delivered in 2 days at most. Step 4: List the touchpoints It's that step in creating your user journey map where you make a list of all the user actions and interactions with your website/app, as well as of all the channels associated with them. Step 5: Define the problem that the user's trying to solve What's the user's motivation/intention?  What drives him/her to interact with your website?  Is he/she looking for more information on your products/services? Or has he accessed your website to buy a specific product? Step 6: Make a Sketch of the User Journey With all the information you've collected up to this point, put together a step-by-step interaction map. Where each “step” stands for a specific experience that the user persona has when interacting with your website. Step 7: Pinpoint the user's emotional state at each step in the journey What does the user feel at each step of interaction with your website/app? This empathy map will help up visualize the “ups” and “downs” in the user experience, so you should know where to... intervene. Step 8: Validate and adjust the user journey accordingly Rely on the information you will have collected during your usability testing sessions and from your app analytics to put your user journey map against a real use case. No matter how truthful your map might look to you (since you know it's based on intensive user research), it's crucial to validate it and to... adjust it, if needed. 4. User Journey Mapping vs User Story Mapping “Is a user journey like a user story?” Well, there are some key differences to be aware of. What's a user story? user stories describe small, specific tasks a group of user stories forms an “epic” they're essential for user acceptance testing and agile development The standard formula for creating a user story statement if the following: As a..., I want to..., so that I...” For instance: As an SEO specialist, I want to keyword-optimize this text, so that the website ranks higher in Google search results. And how is a user journey map different from a user story? When you map a customer journey you start with post-in notes on a whiteboard. You: determine who your website/app addresses to sketch the big picture detail each “epic” define a release strategy define a learning strategy (small experiments to minimize risks) define a development strategy Is it much clearer to you now why you need a user journey map for improving the UX  on your website, but the process seems too... time-consuming to you? Just shift the burden to us then... Drop us a line and let's identify all those opportunities for improving the experiences your users have when interacting with your site/app. ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Aug 26'2020