Today we are going to talk about how to make your designs scannable and we are talking about UI design practices that will be beneficial to the users of the website.
So, before we talk about how to make your web interface scannable, let us understand what does it actually mean and what is scannability and then we will find out the steps to improving website scannability.
WHAT IS WEBSITE SCANNABILITY?
There are multiple ways to explain scannability in UX but let us explain this with an example that you will be able to understand if you are any kind of internet user.
Let’s say you want to know the “10 ways the internet has impacted children born after the year 2000”, therefore you search it on Google and you find links to blogs.
You click on the first link and then you visit a website. Before you start reading the blog you simply scroll down to find out if the blog actually has 10 points and you might even read the subheadings of the 10 points.
You scroll through the website quickly in order to get an idea about the quality of the blog and if the website uses illustrations then it is even better.
If you find bullet points with distinct gaps between them, then you know the content is distinct and easy to read.
That is exactly what scannability and what you do on the website before reading the content is called a scan.
That is exactly what you do and that is exactly what every internet user does when they are trying to find information on a website.
It is like forming a quick opinion about the quality of the website before actually reading the content.
This kind of behaviour is quite common and has been prevalent on the internet for decades and this is exactly like looking at the cover of a book and judging it.
We are not commenting on the fact whether this is right or wrong and it is up to you to judge that but we are simply saying that if you have a website that has very good scannability, then it is more likely for the user to stay on the website.
Scannability works! It results in better traffic and visitor retention for the website.
Now that you know how important scannability is for the internet and your website, you might have questions about whether you should copy content from a website that has good scannability or do graphics help with scannability?
We are going to answer all these questions with our steps to improve website scannability as we talk about UI design best practices for better scannability.
STEPS TO IMPROVE USER SCANNABILITY AND BEST UI DESIGN PRACTICES
VISUAL HIERARCHY IS VERY EFFECTIVE
Visual hierarchy is one of the simplest but one of the most effective ways to make sure that your website is more scannable.
You must be able to structure your content, which includes everything from text to graphics and illustrations and much more, into a structured order.
This structured order must be able to highlight the importance of content and sub-content and you can do this with headings and subheadings but you must make sure that points are distinct and that subpoints feel like they are under particular points.
You can utilise various visual aids to help the user understand the visual hierarchy and those can be in the size of the text and the colour of the text as well as the distance between two groups of text.
You must also understand the utilisation of blank space or what we call negative space which we will talk about in detail later in the blog.
You must always avoid repetition of content.
UTILISE CALL TO ACTION EFFECTIVELY
CTA or call to action are elements on a web page that tell the users that they can perform certain actions when they click on certain areas of the page.
Perhaps your website is about downloading a particular PDF and that is why your call to action(CTA) for that must be distinct and highlighted so that people do not spend precious time looking for the download button.
Perhaps have you are selling something then the CTA to ‘Add’ a product to the Shopping Cart or the CTA for ‘Buy Now’ must be distinctly visible.
CTA is a valuable tool and you must make sure that your design is created in such a way so that the CTA is always the most distinct and noticeable because that is where you will do business and that is the primary purpose of the website.
TREAT DATA LIKE DATA
Perhaps your content is very data-rich content that needs to display a lot of data regarding a lot of statistics and watch more.
That is the primary objective of the web page or the website and that is why you must make sure to treat data like it is data.
Never write numbers in words and always try to include charts and when diagrams and every other kind of diagram including pie charts and graphs in order to display data.
This will make sure that your website is highly scannable because when the visitor is going to visit your website and scroll quickly through the website then they might not notice what is written.
But they will definitely identify and notice if there are diagrams and charts because it is hard to miss no matter how fast the user is scrolling and that is why your website is going to be very scannable.
UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF NEGATIVE SPACE
While having content is important as well as illustrations but it is even more important to understand where to not have content.
This blank space is often called white space on negative space and it is the space between content and it is one of the most important aspects of scannability.
A very scannable website or web page has a lot of negative space because that negative space is utilised to differentiate between different points and different parts of the content.
You might have a very content-rich webpage but it will not matter if all the content is jumbled together making it difficult for the user to find the relevant part of the content that they came looking for.
It is like having a huge department store without any labels and without any indication of where a customer might find a certain product no matter how many types of products you have or how richly stocked your department store is.
The same goes for negative space. It highlights the content and makes the website navigable. Use it wisely.
USE ILLUSTRATIONS AND IMAGES WHEREVER POSSIBLE
One of the key points about scannability is to have the webpage visually navigable and easy to understand.
What’s easier to understand than words? Pictures.
If the user finds out that you have a lot of supporting images and illustrations for every bullet point that you have then they are going to understand that this is a valuable website.
They will have this understanding that if the web design contains images then it will be easy for them to get whatever value they are expecting from this website.
The images and illustrations will be picked up during the initial scan making the website quite scannable and thus improving the impression of the website for the user.
HIGHLIGHTS AND BULLET POINTS
While this is one of the basic tenants of scannability but we have decided to mention this just because it is so important.
Never forget to highlight any content that you deem important. Perhaps a quote from an important individual related to the content or perhaps a question.
Perhaps there is an important piece of data or maybe a link, you must never forget to highlight these types of content. It will take up less time for the user to find this type of content thus making the website more scannable.
You must also make sure that your website has bullet points or number points because it is one of the simplest ways of making your website more scannable.
NEVER FORGET HEADERS
If you want to increase the scannability of your website then you must make the user feel that they are in control of the navigation and that they have very easy access to navigation.
The user must feel like it’s their backyard that they can move between different parts of the website with ease and that is only possible by having a header.
This header should contain the different parts of the website and if your website is service-oriented it must contain all the different services.
If you are website is product-oriented then it must contain different categories of products or it must contain different parts of the website such as the order window etc.
It is never a bad idea to take inspiration from leading web designs but you must not blatantly copy it and you must take inspiration from it and make your own changes.
However, if you do not want to copy any content and if you want custom web designs that are specially created for your website with high scannability then we have an amazing suggestion for you.
Think To Share IT solutions is one of the industry leaders when it comes to web design. You can hire them if you want to have a website that is not only attractive but efficient and most importantly scannable.
They offer nearly every kind of web design and development services along with a whole host of other IT services and solutions, they are the stop shop for internet services and we highly recommend them to you.
Also Read Interesting Articles At: Pro Tech Terms.
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