10 User-Centered Web Design Principles That Drive Better Results

Created: Jun 11, 2021

Updated: May 19, 2023

Every business should be focused on the kind of customers they want to attract and how best they can meet the needs of these customers once they have a larger base. Most businesses thrive with the current development of technological ways to reach customers and drive sales through the development of websites that allow customers to purchase their products by ordering them online (otherwise known as E-commerce).

Having a website is just a small part of the work that needs to be done. Every business owner should also be concerned about the layout and design of their website – remember that a business should be focused on the clients. As a result, the following questions need to be answered:

  1. What kind of customers do we want to attract?
  2. Can all our customers navigate through our website?

Basically, business websites should be centered on the users.

What is User-Centered Web Design?

A user-centered web design (UCD), although being an independent approach to web designing, is a component of the User Experience (UX) design. In UCD, web designers do more than designing websites they believe users would like and find easy to navigate through; they design websites with the aid of the users themselves. They do this by considering the objectives of users as well as their feedback on certain products.


The big idea is to ultimately ease the access to products for users and reveal products that users view as valuable. Human beings are dynamic, and their tastes and preferences are subject to change; this is something that web designers also consider, which they use to make adjustments to the product to cater to any changes in their preferences. One advantage of fine-tuning a product is that users tend to use a product over a long period of time.

The ultimate goal of UCD is to prevent a situation where users decide to change their mannerisms and anticipations to accommodate a product. This way, the product becomes a constant in the user's life because of the unique experience they get from it.

The importance of User-Centered Web Design to E-Commerce

Online shopping has made it a lot easier to make purchases anytime and anywhere. It really was a pain having to wait in line when one physically visits a store to get the products they need. Since UCD serves as the platform for communication between your website and customers, making little adjustments here and there could make a difference to your business and drive more sales for you.

When business websites are able to show their users that their products can help them achieve their goals, they will indeed see the value of those products. If your business website happens to do this better than all other competitive businesses, your advantage increases over your competition.

It is in the principles of User-Centered Web Design (UCD) that conversion rates are optimized.

User-Centered Web Design principles that drive better results

In User-Centered Web Design, the design or development of websites is aimed toward ensuring that users are able to navigate through the website easily and make checkouts as they please without much trouble. There is no point in having good products when there is no easy access to the point of making a conversion because more conversion rates are what every good business is looking forward to.

The following are the principles of User-Centered Web Design that are sure to increase conversion rates:

  1. Speak the language of your customers (users)

There really is no need to show off that you have a great deal of knowledge. The point of e-commerce is basically to serve as a guide – your website should only show the way – to learning what needs to be learned and making a purchase when they have finally come to a decision.

Your explanations and any comments you have about particular products should be compact and unambiguous. When you need to make a statement that only involves five words, don't go about making them seven. Get straight to the point.

Also, don't make use of terms that only people in your industry could understand or even terms that only intelligent people could understand. A good business would want customers from various groups – both those who are knowledgeable and those who aren't. Except your target is only people of intellectual caliber, it would be in your best interest to keep all dialogues less technical.

  1. Consider the target population – habits and actions.

E-commerce employs the use of an interactive computer system. Users basically communicate with business websites before they can make a purchase. When doing a User-Centered Web Design, the website should be made to carry out certain tasks. Designers and developers alike should therefore consider the user population, age, background (environment), ethnic political, and religious views, and the kind of physical tasks they engage in.

  1. Be consistent

Whether knowledgeable or not, your users would prefer to have a system that they could understand without much effort. The elements in the interface of each page on the website must therefore be consistent. If, for instance, a user clicks another page on your website and the interface looks different, they will feel like it was a totally different site rather than a different page. This could cause them to ultimately leave the site completely – when you do not maintain a consistent interface, you could leave the impression that you are confused or you are trying to confuse your users. Being consistent also builds trust between a business and its customers.

  1. Don't make users apply too much mental effort


On average, a user would want to concentrate on whatever's in front of them at a certain point in time rather than focusing on every kind of interaction that the website puts together. When the interaction between a user and the website gets complicated, an average user will find it frustrating because it is a distraction from what they want to do. Nobody wants to have to do deep thinking just to provide certain information or answer any question.

When people use a website, they learn how it operates. Still, if the learning procedure requires too much time and effort, the users are bound to make mistakes, consequently affecting the business, especially those relying too much on a task's task outcome. Also, when tasks are frequent, users will have no business memorizing information entered into a previous part of the system when the system demands it again. The instructions that concern how the website should be used should be outlined plainly, and there should be a way to access them whenever they're needed.

Keep the following in mind;

  • Don’t make users fill in the same data into separate forms
  • Users should not have any trouble seeing or accessing instructions
  • Where possible, make sure that some information has already been filled in.

You want your customers to see purchasing from your website as the easiest thing to do in the world.

  1. Make sure to provide enough feedback to users.

They may not tell you, but every user would like some proof that lets them know that their actions on a website were executed successfully. There a variety of ways in which this can be done. Some websites are designed in such a way that a concluded transaction is depicted with a change in appearance. If, for instance, the execution of action takes time, it is necessary to let the users know that said execution is in progress using an indicator. Users do not need to know about the internal operations in the computer system.

Interaction should not be left only to the page where visitors are supposed to become conversions. It even helps if the different levels in the websites provide feedback to users, including a lower level. When an action has been successfully carried out, a confirmation can be sent to the user. Various websites show a button that has been pressed in which points out that the user already pressed the button. If the operation is going to take a long time, then it would be better to leave feedback for when the operation is completed.

Don’t leave your users guessing if their actions were successful. Did they supply their email? Let them know you received it by sending a confirmation message. Did they sign up for a newsletter? Show them that their actions were confirmed.

  1. Make the navigation through your website easy and fast.

Your website needs to be one that your users have no trouble navigating through. When you make your website easy to navigate through, you let your users know that you are there to provide support when they need it. There are many ways to do this, such as assigning a separate title to each page on your website, assigning page numbers to each page, and having scrolling bars. Other helpful things include a history of pages that have been visited previously, an overview, a map for navigation.

Make sure the design of your website provides a straightforward route between the various windows that the user will be engaged in. The routes that your website provides must be ones that are suitable for each stage of the task the user wants to carry out.

Sometimes when navigating through websites, users end up at places they did not intend. Your website should cater to this by making available a means to exit that location whenever they want to without the need of going through it.

Furthermore, your website should take only a few seconds to load in any browser. People seem to be very busy on the internet these days, and if your website is taking too much time to load, a visitor might get bored and leave the site. Making your website load fast does not only apply to your homepage; it applies to every other page as well as the images or filters on them. Slow loading of pages is one of the major causes of reduction in the rate of conversion.

  1. Allow the user to be in charge.

Believe it or not, before any user visits any website, they already have an idea of what they want or need, and they are only looking for a place they can get it. Users should be able to get what they want without much restraint. Of course, every system should have some kind of restraint in place, but developers ought to ensure that even with established restraints, users still have the freedom to get what they want to be done.

When the need arises where a user has questions, the system should have an answer ready for that question. A live chat should also be made available on your website to allow the users to make contact when they want to.

  1. Provide information but be clear and concise

Not all visitors to a business website already have enough information to go through before they purchase a product. There are some who require more information than others. However, this is not an excuse to overload your website with too much information regarding the products you offer for sale.

Remember that the idea behind User-Centered Web Design is to let the users take control and not force them to accept what you want. Rather than force them to read the information of a particular product, you can help them feel like they are in control by giving them an option to read the information. You can do this by providing a link to that page. Clicking the link would then be their decision to make.

  1. Make sure to reduce slip-ups.

The best way to reduce mistakes is by pointing the users in the right direction as quickly as possible. For instance, a page that requires the entry of data should have a system designed that points out where a correction needs to be made if the data is incorrect. The system should therefore be one that points directly and precisely to the problem – avoid ambiguous language.

Some common areas where problems arise are when users provide either too little or too many numbers when asked to enter their phone numbers or zip codes, when they fail to select the method of shipment they prefer, etc. When correcting this, make sure to use language that is gentle and shows respect.

  1. Your website should have a mobile version.

You should have a mobile version of your website so that users and visitors can access your site even with their mobile phones. Statistics have shown that there are more mobile visitors on the internet than those who use desktops which means that close to or over 70 percent of people who shop online do that on their mobile phones, which allows them some flexibility.

If you want to boost your e-commerce for your business, make sure you have a web design for desktops, mobile phones, and tablets.


User-Centered Web Design is a component of UX design that carries the users in mind during the whole design process. It is aimed at providing the best form of user experience possible to visitors and/or users. In UCD, simplicity should be the main focus of the design. You want your users to be able to perform tasks with ease and navigate through the website without much effort.

It will also be in your best interest to keep the mental effort required to complete tasks to the barest minimum. A lot of people will visit your website, so it should appeal to both the learned and the unlearned alike.

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