Crafting a User-Centric Website: Behavioral Design Tips by Station8

March 6, 2024

Life is all about balance and you could say the same thing about website design.

As one of the primary touchpoints for your brand, you want your website to build trust, make a memorable impression and lead customers to take action.

An award-winning site with stunning photography and cutting-edge design might still miss the mark if it neglects the needs of the people who will be using it.

At the other end of the spectrum, you could build an incredibly functional site that fails to capture the attention of your audience and instead positions your company as boring and outdated.  

Ultimately, your website needs to be both visually appealing and user-friendly. At Station8, we strike this balance through Behavioral Design. 

It’s a philosophy driven by the need to create harmony between creativity and usability. Artistic instincts still matter, but they are tempered with real-life considerations for the way users interact with our work.

Behavioral Design gives users more of what they want, which in turn can help create more conversions. Just like your company’s product or service, we want to focus on how we can add value and benefit the customer. 

Here are five tips to take a Behavioral Design approach.

#1 Understand Your Average User(s)

The first step toward creating websites for people is to learn more about the people who will use your site.

Think carefully about each audience segment your website should address. What can you say about your users demographically? Where do they live and work? What are their motivations? What is challenging for them? How does your product or service solve their problem? 

It’s also important to think about how your users will access your site. Do your website visitors prefer to access the internet through traditional computers, mobile devices, or a combination of both? What sort of knowledge do they have with your products and services? Do they work from a computer all day or are they out in the field? Are there specific tools – like forms or click-to-call buttons – they prefer?

#2 Emphasize Workflow and Usability

As we have already noted, there’s a certain irony in knowing that an award-winning website might not be the one that’s a favorite with actual customers. That’s because a lot of “cutting-edge” design eschews convention for artistic effect.

It’s exciting to push the envelope and think outside of the box, however, it won’t necessarily help you win more customers over the web. 

Buyers need to be able to digest each web page or section quickly. They are unlikely to read every word on the page, instead, they will scan for the scan a page for the information that interests them. Is there a logical roadmap that takes them from one topic, page, or content block to the next?

Conventional search and navigation features are key to a Behavioral Design approach.

Don’t hide the menus that take people from one area of your site to another. It’s also important to keep your content as “flat” as possible. That simply means a person looking for answers on your website won’t have to go more than two or three layers deep to find what they’re looking for.

Along the same lines, keep your call to action simple. Use buttons and other tools that stand out when you’re trying to generate a conversion or offer a helpful feature to a visitor. Additionally, try to remain consistent in your use of navigation-related design elements so no one gets stuck on your site.

Creative design is fun, but artistic impulses need to take a backseat to usability for customers to feel comfortable on your pages.

#3 Leave Linear Thinking Behind

In the traditional approach to web design, each page on a website has one job or goal. Various elements are placed along the way to help visitors find their way to the next step.

That works wonderfully in theory but doesn’t always hold up in the real world.

For one thing, visitors coming to your website won’t always arrive at the place you expect them to. A link or search engine listing might deposit them on the “About” page instead of the “Home” page, for instance. And for another, they won’t necessarily consume your content in the way you expect. They may skim and move on without absorbing key points.

To make the most of behavioral design you must consider your website holistically. Ask yourself what’s likely to be on someone’s mind when they arrive at your site, and what their next action or desire is going to be. Then, you can build your whole site around those insights instead of creating a series of linear steps that may or may not be followed.

Each page in your website is just one part of a larger piece of work. And, your online marketing campaigns fit into a buyer’s journey that reaches farther than any of your pages. Recognize that and plan appropriately.

#4 Utilize Testing and Observation

Despite everything you know about your company and your customers, it’s hard to determine exactly how people will respond to your website until you track their activity within and throughout your pages. Then, you can see which tools, topics, and elements are the most effective.

Keep a close eye on how users work within your site. Take advantage of beta testing before it goes live and watch your analytics afterward. The insights you gain can help you solve problems you didn’t know you had, and generate future improvements that make your website more usable, efficient, and profitable.

#5 Follow a Process of Continual Refinement

Finally, it’s important to understand that Behavioral Design is an ongoing process. It’s not something you do once, but a mindset you adopt and follow for years.

Some of the refinements you make to your website will be driven by user data and customer requests or even changes in user behavior.

It’s important to keep moving forward and never become complacent or satisfied. Even if you sense that your website might need to be replaced in the future, the lessons you are learning now can be beneficial to your current site and any sites you build in the future.

It would be easy to look at a lot of the products we have today and compare them favorably with older models from previous years or decades. It’s important to remember, though, that most of those improvements didn’t come through single leaps forward; instead, they arrived as small changes that built on one another over time.

A good website follows the same path – there is always room for continuous improvement.

Good Design Goes Beyond Aesthetics

As professional web designers, we pay a lot of attention to things like layout and color theory. We love watching pages come together and truly enjoy those moments when clients light up after seeing their mockups unveiled for the first time.

When we view those details through the lens of Behavioral Design, we create a website that is just as beautiful as it is functional. Creating a positive user experience is essential for innovative companies to retain customers, grow their user base, and differentiate from their competitors.

Station8 is the agency for noble causes™ causes offering award-winning website design, advertising, digital marketing and SEO strategies in Tulsa, Okla.

Are you ready to fire up your brand?