Love is in the air this month and you’ll no doubt be thinking about the lucky lady or gentleman you can treat to a meal deal this Valentine’s. Maybe you’re in a long term relationship and looking for ways to keep things interesting. Maybe you’re just looking.
Budding new relationships can be exciting, but also sometimes a little tricky to navigate. There’s often an instant attraction of course, but every new day can be a bit make or break as you feel each other out. (Yes, we said ‘out’).
In that sense, real-world relationships aren’t too dissimilar to web ones. No, not the swipe-right kinda relationship, but the one your website weaves as it woos its visitors.
Your website may get its fair share of suitors each month. (And if it doesn’t, perhaps we need to work on that lonely hearts column). But what steps can you take to turn these anonymous users into secret admirers? Or better still, not-so-secret admirers.
Here are 10 relationship-based UX design tips to help make your website the perfect match.
#1 Instant Attraction
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
Your pupils dilate, your heart beats faster, you feel a little warm all of a sudden. You know it in an instant, right? One twentieth of a second, in fact. That’s all it takes to form an impression of a website. So it’s important that yours looks stylish and credible from the get go.
#2 Have Fun
“Play together, stay together”
It’s not all about the looks, of course. It’s also about the money. Kidding! Almost every person lists ‘a good sense of humour’ as high on their ideal partner wishlist. Have fun with images and copy to keep things engaging. Play together, stay together.
#3 Speak the same language
“We’re on the same (web) page”
The language of love, baby. Only joking, eww. But seriously, how do couples hit it off when they don’t speak the same language? They KISS of course (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Government guidelines recommend writing in short sentences that are easy to understand. Avoid jargon and complicated terms. Check out how to write for the web.
#4 Understand their needs
“They just get me”
Sometimes its hard to know for sure what to reasonably expect from a new relationship. Or, if you’re punching, what they even see in you. But you’re gonna need to figure out exactly what your web visitor is hoping to find from your time together. Maybe it’s support and generosity. Or perhaps it’s just coffee and a spot of shopping. Whatever it might be, the key is to understand the intent so that your website can deliver on the heart’s desires.
Things moving a little too fast? In the web world, that’s unlikely. Your web visitor will want to keep the relationship moving at pace. Perception of speed is an important factor. Page load times especially. Dither too long and a user who might’ve been marriage material is on their bike.
“Let’s take it slow”
Although perception of speed is important, there’s still room for couples who want to take things ‘step by step’. Complex forms for example. Demanding all that info up front can make many turn and run. If you have a long list of questions, consider splitting the form up into multiple steps with page breaks.
#7 Size matters
One study has shown that couples with large height differences have the most successful marriages. Others prefer to hit on someone their own size. But one place that size really does matter is in the browser, especially when thinking mobile first. On mobile devices, make sure the size of your headlines and body text work well for the new screen size and reading distance. Any button or touch target should be nice and big with enough spacing around it that you can comfortably hit it with your thumb.
#8 Clear signals
“Where is this going?”
It’s common for relationships to hit a snag when they don’t seem to be going anywhere. Maybe there’s too much effort involved or no clear intention of what the future may hold. There’s no room for this type of confusion in web design. Instead, you should take your user gently by the hand and clearly guide them through each of the steps involved, presenting a clear call to action at the end. No guesswork. No dead ends.
Once established, avoid mood swings to help keep the relationship on course. People like to know where they stand. So ensure your design and navigation is consistent, use the same colours for the same kind of things, like buttons and links. Be creative, but try not to deviate too far from common website patterns and norms. No surprises. Unless it’s a fancy dinner of course.
“Never trust a smiling cat”
We’re not talking about marriage proposals on day one. We’re talking about a story behind a thousand heartbreaks: A lack of trust. No relationship can survive without a foundation of trust. And without trust, there is no security. So what steps can your website take to gain trust? We’ve written about website credibility before.
Things like SSL, appearance, fresh content, customer reviews and easy ways to get in touch are all really important. Funny, because in the real world you might be interested in someone that seems trustworthy, looks the part, is engaging, has a good reputation and is approachable. And perhaps that’s not such a coincidence!