This article sought to address website design as well as user engagement and the functionality of the design by identifying and consolidating the key elements of website design that ultimately influence and increase user engagement.
Drawing on prior studies conducted the aim is to determine the website element that are most commonly shown or suggested and used to increase user engagement. Website design functionality has become a critical element needed to engage website and application users and to this day little research has been conducted in the subject this article present to define the specific elements used in effective website and mobile application design.
We attempt to review and consolidate research on effective design defining a shortlist of needed elements to provide excellent functionality of website design and this research uncovered the element most used in its application. Navigation, Graphic Representation, Organisation, Content Utility, Purpose, Simplicity and Readability are the main criterion of an excellent website design.
Looking at previous studies defining and evaluating these seven criterion this review and the resulting shortlist of design elements may be use to support website designer to implement in their design these criterion and achieve best practice for facilitating and predicting user engagement.
The keyword used to conduct a research in the subject were simplicity, design usability, navigation, organisation and website design which yield a lots of result on Google Scholar to help us compose this article and confirm what we already knew to be true to website design.
The finding suggest that the list of website design elements defined in this article best facilitate and predict user engagement. Thus the work is an explanatory research providing definitions for these elements of website design and a starting point for future research reference.
Internet usage in percentage
The internet usage has increased tremendously and become a ubiquitous users clustered network as of 2014 87% of American adult aged 18 and over are internet user in contrast the United Kingdom data from the Office of National Statistic reveal that in 2018 90% of adult in the UK were recent internet users, up from 89% in 2017 and that 8.4% of adult had never used the internet in 2018 down from 9.2% in 2017.
Which mean virtually all adult and teenager aged 16 yrs to 34 yrs were recent internet users 99% in 2018 compared with 44% of adults aged 75 yrs and over and 20% of disable adults had never used the internet in 2018 down from 22% in 2017.
We conclude that most people are internet user and visit website, blog, forum, social media platform regularly meaning your website should be informative, user friendly and perfect navigation to increase user engagement.
The Importance of a well-design website
Minocha(2006) argue that website have become most important public-communication portal for most, if not all businesses and organisation because business to consumers and business to business interactions mainly occurs online therefore website design is critical in engaging users. Furthermore Minocha adduce poorly design website lead to users frustration and result in high bounce rate or people visiting the landing page (entrance page) without exploring other pages within the site (google.com 2015).
In contrast a well-design website with high usability has been found to positively influence visitor retention, revisit rate and purchase behaviour amongst the research undertaken to define specific elements that constitute effective website design. The common denominator found in all studies was the website usability. The International Standardised Organisation (ISO) define usability as the extent to which users can achieve desired tasks, accessing information or place a purchase with effectiveness, completeness and accuracy of the task efficiently and satisfactory within the system therefore the time spend on the task and the user experience within the system design is important to achieve the coveted result.
Nonetheless there is currently no consensus on how to properly operationalise and assess website usability. Nielsen(2012) associated usability with learning efficiency, memorability, errors and satisfactions. Yet Palmer(2002) postulate that usability is determined by download time, navigation, content, interactivity and responsiveness. In addition to usability Nielsen conducted further research and finding reveal that 79% of users scanned website pages, 16% read the pages word-by-word and 5% scanned the pages first and if they found an interesting information they would read the page word-by-word.
Henceforth other key design elements in website design should be taken in consideration such as the scannability, readability and visual anesthetic which have not yet clearly been defined and there are no clear guideline that individuals can follow when designing a website to increase user engagement.
Website design elements
The most discussed element of website design and user engagement study found in this paper were navigation 62.86% were in favour and graphic representation 60% in favour but organisation only 42.86% thought it was important and 37.14% content utility closely follow by 31.43% purpose, simplicity and readability. However, these seven elements form part of effective website design.
The term organisation regard to how well a website incorporate cognitive hierarchical structure, systematic information arrangement, categorisation notwithstanding but including meaningful headings, labels and keywords which are crucial in navigation design.
The use of logo and icons go beyond graphical representation as they establish a unique brand identity for a given organisation and can serve as a visual aid for navigation.
Growth in Mobile Technology and Social Media
Given the rapid growth in both mobile technology and social media use it is important to integrate in website design social media integration as roughly 74% of internet users uses some form of social media and social media has emerged as an effective platform for businesses to target and interact with users, therefore integrating social media into website design may increase engagement by facilitating participation and interactivity.
Definition of key design elements
Bear in mind in designing a website you must ensure cross-platform compatibility as users are also diversifying their web browser use. Internet Explorer was once the leading web browser, however, in recent years Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome gained significant traction (w3school.com). Therefore website designer must be mindful of different platforms and browsers to minimize the risk of losing users due to compatibility issues.
Another important point is you should be aware that different discipline and industries have divergent objective in designing website thus prioritising disparate website design element is a must. For instance online businesses and marketers seek to design website that optimise brand loyalty, purchase and profit as oppose to academic researchers or healthcare providers are more likely to prioritise privacy, confidentiality and content accuracy in building a website.
In conclusion to this explanatory article we ultimately recommend and advise website designer to consider the design elements delineated in this article along with their unique needs when developing user engagement strategies.
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