shutterstock_414347209Every time you go to a website or application and can find your way around without thinking about it, a UX, or user experience, professional has done their job. UX is like blinking — it works best when you don’t have to think about it, and when you have to think about it things become clunky and unintuitive.

UX encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. This can include everything from the navigability of a website to the ease of scheduling an appointment. Marketers aim for a seamless user experience that keeps their visitors coming back.

Let’s look at three fundamental UX aspects that financial advisors and other service professionals should consider when developing their branding and marketing materials: visual design, information architecture, and usability.

Visual Design

Just like art, the beauty of good design is in the eye of the beholder. But there are some general rules that marketers suggest when looking at the design of their materials, including:

  • Don’t use too many colors, and use colors that match your logo or other marketing materials.
  • Don’t write too much copy, and make the copy you do write concise and informative.
  • Use big, bold images and headers to attract attention to your main points.
  • Populate your pages with plenty of forms and calls to action.
  • Always have your social follow and share buttons prominent on your website.
  • Make smart use of headers and subheaders, as they benefit SEO purposes as well.

These are just a few of the visual design basics. Our website professionals are always studying up on the newest trends and creating themes that align with what users are looking for.

Information Architecture

While your site may be the most beautiful on the Internet, it’s only as good as the information it conveys. Navigability, labels, and the hierarchy of information are all important aspects to think about when laying out the information on your site.

For example, most designers stray away from having dropdown menus, or child navigation items, with too many tabs. When a dropdown menu has more than ten items, visitors often lose interest and might even leave the site. Also, make sure the labels in your navigation are clear and self-explanatory.

Another navigation tip is to lay things out in the order that you want them seen. If your primary services are retirement planning and wealth management, it wouldn’t make sense to bury these in some dark corner of your site. Instead, make these services prominent on the home page and in the navigation so they can be easily found.

Usability

Usability is the combination of the two concepts above: combining intuitive design aspects with useful information makes it easy for clients and prospects to figure out what they are supposed to do on your site.

Most of our Exclusive themes include what we call rotators, which are large, full-width images that either emphasize one idea or rotate through a few of a customer’s main points. These rotators link to interior pages where a visitor can find more information easily.

Instead of bombarding a visitor with all of the important information right away, our Exclusive themes welcome them in and provide clear steps on how to learn more. This is an example of good usability.

These are a few of the first things marketers think of when considering UX and while there are many more aspects to this ever-changing field, these tips are a good place for service professionals to start when dipping their toes into the world of UX.