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The Benefits of “Breadcrumbs”


30th January 2018

Breadcrumbs are more useful than you think. Not only are they an essential ingredient in veggie burgers, Katsu curry and fish fingers … They can help you find your way home.

We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, who were brave enough to explore the forest … and smart enough to lay breadcrumbs along their path. In this way, they didn’t get lost – useful when you’re running away from the evil inhabitant of a sinister gingerbread house.

In web design, his story has given a name to the tokens we leave throughout a website to enable a visitor to track backwards through their online journey. Often breadcrumbs appear as nested page names – Home > About > Our Company, for example – which situate a user clearly with the site’s architecture. They can take other forms, however, and always the aim is simple: to help your visitor to not get lost.

This is a good function to include, especially on a site which boasts a large number of pages. Resource-heavy websites are great, but once you’ve clicked one link you’ve clicked them all – and it can be very easy to become unmoored, lost amidst all these pages and unable to find your way ‘Home’ again.

 

Why Use Site Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs – prominent indicators of where you are and how you can get back to where you were – greatly enhance the usability of a site. They make it easy to click on pages but also remain oriented; to find other content quickly; and to go back to content you found interesting once you’re done exploring.

In turn, this reduces the clicks or actions required to return to a given page – and this, too, enhances the user experience of your site. Making your content easy to navigate is a key means of making your site pleasant to use … And that will earn you return visits.

If you’re wondering why users can’t just click the “Back” button, you haven’t yet understood the power of the humble breadcrumb. Breadcrumbs aren’t just about going back: they’re about situating yourself within a site, and understanding how each of its pages relates to the others. You’ve worked hard on structuring your content – so make that structure clear. The “Back” button alone doesn’t achieve that.

Sites without breadcrumbs don’t get read as much as sites which opt to use them. Being able to find your way home encourages browsers, like Hansel and Gretel, to explore a little deeper; if you don’t help your users to find their way, they’ll stick a little more closely to the ‘top-line’ content – and never make the most of what you’ve built for them.

In fact, sometimes they won’t even read your top-line content: sites without breadcrumbs suffer from higher bounce rates, meaning essentially that their visitors leave those sites much more quickly. Today’s internet users are savvy and impatient – if they can’t find what they want quickly and easily, they’ll go somewhere else. Breadcrumbs encourage them to stay.

In other words, think of breadcrumbs as a wayfinding system. Complex buildings often include coloured corridors and large maps to help visitors find their way around. Hardy fairytale explorers carry loaves of bread. And websites have the benefits of breadcrumbs.

 

Contact Image Plus for Website Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 76834780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

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How Psychology is Important in UX Design


9th January 2018

Psychology is important to UX design. This may not seem an immediately obvious truth since Freud or Jung might seem distant relatives of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

The fact is, however, that in all branches of design focus on the responses our products will provoke. In this way, all designers are necessarily psychologists – they must understand and predict why and how what they build will affect their audience.

In UX and web design, a lot of this comes to revolve how people tend to respond to layout, typography and graphical elements. Get the mix and balance right, and your visitors will be more likely to return or become customers; get it wrong and you’ll turn them off – they may not be able to say why, but a psychologist would.

Psychology in Colour

In what ways can a designer use psychology to improve their work, then? For starters, they can think about colour. There’s a wide range of studies concerning how humans react to colour, but as a rule, we are attracted to bright and vibrant ones. To that end, designs which feature more exciting colours will be more successful.

Likewise, men and women react differently to colour. Which gender, if either, is your primary audience? Many studies show that men are less good at discerning different shades of colour than women, while simultaneously tending to be better at tracking fast-moving objects.

Colour has other effects, too. For example, the evidence shows that red or orange is most effective for boosting conversion, whilst red-themed websites can use green to achieve the same effect. A good designer knows their colour theory back to front and can get you the results you need merely through the judicious application of that knowledge.

Psychology in Text

Text, too, is important: words don’t just communicate their own meanings. Their layout will influence your site’s message, too. Take, for example paragraphing: space them out properly and users’ eyes will glide across them; put them too close together, or make each too long, and instead, those eyes will glaze over.

Too much text is a turn-off, but so is small text. At the risk of being the pot to call the kettle black, aim, for simplicity with your copy: keep thing straightforward and well spaced, and your users will respond positively.

We’re used to thinking of psychology as a tool for managers and leaders, whose job is to cajole and persuade members of a team. Think of designers, too, as professional persuaders: their job is to convince your visitors to stay long enough to engage with your company.

To do that, they need to understand humans in all their complexity and quirkiness. And that’s why psychology is so important for UX design.

Contact Image Plus for Web Design

If you’re unsure about UX or need help to design your website or drop-down menu then then speak to our experts. Our Web Developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 76834780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

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Top 5 UX Design Tips for Dropdown Menus


1st January 2018

The dropdown menu has long been a venerable entry in the web developer’s toolkit. It is so widely used because it can be terribly useful: the dropdown menu tucks away all your pages until a user hovers over a button; that gives you a lot more space for your content.

Most commonly, the dropdown menu appears as a bar of navigation labels at the top of a website; hover over any particular label and a further list of labels will appear, offering instant access to a range of pages within that category. Very often, items in that list will in turn ‘drop down’ further lists.

The trouble is that dropdown menus can also pose challenges to a savvy web developer. Because they can offer feature so many labels, and once collapsed take up so much space, they can also look quite ugly … unless, that is, you follow our top tips.

 

Make Hover States Obvious. If your dropdown menu is to work, your user needs to know where they are in it. Use colour and highlighting to make that clear.

Padding Is Not A Dirty Word. You’re not a writer, or a musician making your difficult second album: don’t be afraid to pad things out. Put space between your menu’s buttons.

Mark Those Sub-Menus. If one of your menu’s labels expands a further menu – a section within a section – mark it appropriately, with an arrow, a dot or other icon.

Animate! Menus don’t have to be dull or static – in fact, dropdowns are so common they can become dull without a bit of subtle animation to spice up their transitions.

Explore The Alternatives. Many web develops decry dropdowns – particularly if you want a responsive website for mobile devices. Look into scrolling panels and hamburgers.

Consider The Click. Usually dropdown menus operate simply via hover – but depending on your application clicking to open a submenu, or to hide a menu, could make sense.

Make It Seamless. There shouldn’t be any lag at all between click or hover and the appearance of your menu – it should load immediately. You owe your user slickness.

Say No To Tooltips. Tooltips – those often helpful labels which appear when hovering over an item – can be good. With dropdowns, they get in the way. Eliminate them!

Style Consistently. Make your menu a part of your website. It might not always be on show, but when it is give it the same fonts, colours and feel as the rest of your site.

Be Ruthless With Your Content. The dropdown menu can go on forever – but that doesn’t mean it has to do so. Only have the number of pages you absolutely need.

Dropdowns have detractors. But follow theses rules of thumb and you’ll have success.

 Contact Image Plus for Usability and Website Redesign

If you’re unsure about UX or need help to design your website or drop-down menu then then speak to our experts. Our Web Developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 76834780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk

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