Website design encompasses all the parts of your site that visitors notice right away, starting with the most obvious: Is your site nice to look at? That what we call the front end of the website because that’s what visitors see and interact with. That’s different from the back end of your WordPress site, which is where content is managed. The front end is where design and the overall look and feel of your site are important.
But effective web design isn’t only about good looks. You need to consider the full user experience (UX). That includes whether your site is easy to navigate, if it’s organized logically, and if it loads quickly on different devices.
There’s always room for improvement, even if you already have a stellar site. We’ve put together website design tips to help you audit the UX of your WordPress site.
Give your site a refresh, not a full makeover
Like a ‘90s teen movie, sometimes the simplest change (you know, like taking off your glasses) makes the biggest difference. If a full website redesign isn’t in your budget, small changes—like swapping a color or a font—can have serious aesthetic impact. Seriously, better contrast between colors and font tweaks can make your content more legible and accessible. This is also a good time to clean up the appearance of event pages or switch to a better stock photo library to give your website’s appearance a mini makeover.
Make your 404 page more fun and useful
The occasional broken link is, sadly, inevitable—so you may as well embrace your 404 page. Get inspiration from these websites that use creative copy, illustrations, and animations to create 404 pages. You’ll see that can be equal parts fun and useful for lost visitors.
Optimize your images and media
The average visitor won’t be able to see that you’ve optimized your website’s media files, but they’ll be able to feel it when your website loads faster. That’s a win for everyone. If you have an image-heavy website or lots of audio and video files, spend time optimizing your files. Your visitors can enjoy your snazzy site from the start, instead of impatiently waiting for it to load. You can also spend a little time writing alt tags to enhance your site’s accessibility and SEO potential.
Check the site on a mobile device
A mobile-responsive website is nonnegotiable for most sites. It’s necessary to ensure a good user experience for visitors on phones, tablets and laptops alike. But even if you’re using a mobile-friendly theme, it’s a good idea to check in on how your site appears across different devices. You can do this yourself, or use the device-specific preview in WordPress to check the responsiveness of your site on tablets and mobile devices.
Is your website is inclusive of all visitors, including those with visual or hearing impairments or visitors who speak different languages? If not, these three tips to make your site more accessible is a good place to start. Remember, little things like adding alt text to images or running plugins to translate your content into multiple languages add up to a big improvement in user experience. You can have the best website, but it’s pointless if someone is unable to access the content and experience it.
Expand your horizons to find design inspiration
We all experience ruts now and then. The same is true for design. Set aside an hour or two to browse beautiful websites for inspiration. Think beyond your industry—you never know what ideas will come to you once you start paying attention to page layouts. Our own showcase of The Events Calendar users features dozens of elegant, functional websites from a number of industries to help get your creative juices flowing.
Go forth and make your WordPress website more awesome
We just threw a whole lot of ideas your way, but remember: You don’t need to audit everything. Your website design audit also doesn’t need to be an extensive, days-long process. Stick to the parts that matter most to your site and your goals. You’ll be well on your way to taking your website design from just okay to absolutely amazing and, more importantly, usable.
More Posts from This Series
- How to Perform a Back-End Audit of Your WordPress Website
- WordPress Website Tips for Auditing the User Experience of Your Site (This Post)
- Starting a Content Audit for Your WordPress Website
- How to Perform an Audit of Your WordPress E-commerce Site
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