Let’s be honest, we love creative web design because it’s all about pushing boundaries and boosting the ‘wow’ factor. But, funnily enough, most people with a passion for web design aren’t quite as enthusiastic about ticking off checklists and going back to find what they’ve missed. Even worse, if they come across something that doesn’t look flawless, they’ll spend hours getting it pixel perfect – or beating the shit out of their hardware, Office Space style.
You can’t always get everything right first time, but it’s never a good idea to let down genius UX with default layouts in some places.
We’re completionists, but even we have to go back and make sure we’ve covered everything. That’s not to say we always enjoy doing it, but that’s what turns something from good to great. So here are the things we used to sometimes forget, but don’t anymore now we’ve written them down.
1. Error Pages
Why would you spend time pouring your heart and soul into error pages? You don’t make errors, and if you do, well, that’s why we’re going back and checking everything before launch.
Seriously though, things go wrong. Pages move, servers go down, and people like to play around with their new web-based toys. It might not be today, and it might not be tomorrow, but someone will fuck something up one day.
You have two options. You could let them see a bright white page, bare except for ‘Not Found’ in large, black text, and pray they bother to hit the back button.
Alternatively, you can remember you’re a designer and ensure that error pages play their part in the funnel. Drop in a search box. List the most recent posts. Feature the most popular products. Basically, do anything that keeps a visitor engaged and not pissing off back to Google.
2. Thank You Pages
People love being acknowledged for their good deeds. Well, they mainly want to know that whatever they just did worked. Either way, it’s worth taking the time to customise what they see when they do whatever you’ve asked of them.
UX design is all about the customer journey, and if they’ve done something worth thanking them for, that journey has started. Take the opportunity to help them along to the next stage. If they’ve joined an email list, tell them when they can expect to hear from you. If they’ve bought something, let them know when to expect to receive it.
Essentially, the goal here is to make sure that their action is a stop off on the route rather than the end of the journey, so signpost where they should head next.
3. On-Site Search Results
When someone’s searching on a site, it makes sense to ensure they find what they’re looking for. Google might make it look easy, but a lot of time, money and effort goes into presenting a list of links and related ads!
Different designs lend themselves to alternative layouts. On e-commerce sites, it’s all about demonstrating to the visitor that you’ve got what they’re looking for, so a gallery layout often works best. On information-rich sites, it may be better to split results into categories or using editor picks.
Just to reiterate, no matter how creative you get with your design choices, the user experience is all about getting people to what they’re looking for.