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Create an effective E-commerce website with 8 principles of Universal Design

In an increasingly globalized digital world the art of brilliant web design has become an absolute necessity, especially when it comes to e-commerce sites. Let’s face it, your website is essentially the first impression to a potential customer. An eCommerce brand’s reputation, visibility and authority are closely tied to their website design, especially in the increasingly accessible digital world. For this reason, accessibility may not be the first factor web development companies consider when they start designing a website. Especially since web design comes with its own set of obstacles web developers have to navigate through, since it involves achieving a design that is both technically sound and visually coherent. It needs to be user friendly, but also creatively deliver the information. However, in-accessibility can creep in throughout the website’s life cycle and thus must be taken into consideration from the beginning. Designing a website for all user needs, is in no way an easy obstacle to overcome, yet there are a few fundamental tenets to use to make your website better, so you can get more out of it. We all make mistakes. But certain web design errors could be costing you conversions rates and consequently sales. In this article, we reveal eight elements of great website design that encourage more conversions for you. Acknowledge Errors The complexities of web design is a constantly evolving challenge that many of us struggle with. Even the most carefully thought through designs decisions can still go wrong sometimes. But it is not so much the error that effects business, but the manner in which we address the errors that will end up effecting the conversion rates. Thus, it is critical for businesses to acknowledge their errors, explain it as plainly as possible, and take immediate steps to amend the issue. Embrace responsive design The user interface has to be responsive, it is no longer a choice or a bonus. As web developers in Sri Lanka keep up with the ever-evolving nature of user interface design, their main goal should remain the same; to ensure that the user is able to access your content from a wide range of devices. Your next potential customer could be switching between a smartphone, tablet and a laptop within the same customer journey, and thus it is essential for content to display correctly across all formats and devices. For web-development companies, it can be time-consuming and often a tedious task to test and adapt a design to keep up with the endless new resolutions and devices. This is where responsive design comes into play. Responsive Web design is the approach used by designers that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. This practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and the use of CSS media queries to ensure as the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image sizing and scripting changes. Provide choices No user is the same as another, thus giving users options for how they would prefer to engage with the website, app, or service is a strong first step towards a universal design strategy. Customizing certain elements allows for users to experience your website and its content in a manner that suits them best. It will also create a sense of familiarity and security with your brand because they will feel like the content is tailor-made for them. Customization is a technique used by web developers to enhance user experience which will further reflects in more shared content, willingness to sign up for services and to ultimately purchase products. Automate Key Features When it comes to user experience, designers’ primary goal is to ensure that users who interact with products or software are able to accomplish and obtain what they need. However, a great user experience is when the software is also able to predict the user’s needs and proactively adapts to provide the best possible experience based on their preferences. To accomplish this, it is helpful to include automated functions within your app and website that streamline consumer interaction and intuitively customize their experience of your brand. Automating allows for further tailoring the content according to the user’s individual needs. auto-completing sections of forms and remembering relevant details about a customer is another example of how automation can help simplify the sales process. Implement Color Theory According to KissMetrics, 85% of shoppers say color is a key reason they buy a particular products. Thus, it’s no surprise that color should play a role in the initial design process for web designers. Choose a dominant color combined with a complimentary color for the text, a background color and then stick to a consistent color scheme across the site for a cohesive user journey.  Colors should be carefully curated since it not only effects the visual appeal of the website, but it also has functional value. For example, the readability of text on your web pages. When everything is stripped away, the most important part of your website will be your words, thus it is essential they are legible. Color-blindness and the brightness of screens are important factors to keep in mind when designing a website following universal design principles. A poorly chosen color scheme can make online navigation difficult and may quickly deter potential customers. Also keep in mind that color schemes that worked well for print won’t translate the same for online navigation because of the wide variety of devices your users can access the information via. Support Keyboard Accessibility Keyboard accessibility has become a vital aspect contributing to the ease of web accessibility. In the event that a user is unable to use the mouse, say; if they dint have one, or if a motor disability makes it unable for them to use one or even if they are eating with one hand and still want to browse your content with the other, support Keyboard accessibility will still enable users to navigate your website using only their keyboard. The two most important components of keyboard accessibility are that all links must be accessible by the tab key and it must clearly show the selected link. Once this feature implemented, a functionality test should be conducted in order to explore how easily users can reach key areas of your website using this method. If there are too many elements that are clickable and they are poorly ordered, it can be annoying and puzzling for users to navigate a site and may cause them to lose interest. Multi-media must be accessible When it comes to accessibility, videos, audio, and images are one of the most often overlooked elements. However, the use of captioning and proper alt text is needed to provide a positive customer journey for the visually and/or hearing-impaired users. Captioning is also very useful if the viewer is watching content when they aren’t able to use an audible volume. Web Development companies can use software such as Amara, Youtube Automatic Subtitles and Dotsub to ease the process of creating captions. Some users rely on screen readers, which convey all text on a given page by reading it aloud. This is where Alt text will come into play. Alt text should provide textual alternatives such as description, meaning, and context to non-text visual elements in the web page. When it comes to Alt text it is important to consider if it is adding value or utility because it is a feature that could be easily overdone. Test everything Last but not least, don’t forget to test out the website and iron out any kinks to ensure the best user experience. Usability, regarding user experience, is about designing a website that is efficient, effective and satisfying. It is about knowing the site’s users and addressing these needs through design decisions that maximize their engagement with the website. In order to best understand their needs, web developers will have to conduct research and test out the various website features. Development companies can utilize methods such as split-testing, which allows for the comparison of two design iterations and usability testing, which can highlight problem areas of the design. In conclusion, this article explores design research that can help you avoid website design blunders, as a way of making informed design decisions. I hope this has convinced you to include research in your website design process from the conceptualizing stages. As with every aspect of digital marketing and website design, understanding your audience is critical. Planning for an experience that is accessible to every customer can benefit a business without compromising on the style, tone, or message of the brand, but should errors come across, explain it as plainly as possible, and take immediate steps to amend the issue so the user is able to get back to their tasks before the error is encountered.  
The article has been written by the EFutures team(www.efuturesworld.com). This information is our opinion, through our experience in the industry and other content sources. If you would like to contact us, please email @Ricky.
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