User Interface, or UI, refers to the part of a software application that a user sees and interacts with. On a website or blog, the UI includes the various elements of the theme that allow the user to interact with the site. These elements can be the navigation menus, the comments section, the layout of the articles and much more. Every aspect of the site that allows a user to browse the site, leave comments or interact with the site in any way is a part of the user interface.
Quite often the argument is made by bloggers that content is king and that design matters very little, but as this post will demonstrate, this argument is completely false.
Although content is king, there are an unlimited number of UI adjustments that can modify the behavior of your users. With a well designed site, your visitor’s actions will be modified. With poor UI, comments will be decreased, page views per visit will be reduced, and return visitors will be impacted.
In fact, nearly every statistic that you browse through Google Analytics trying to figure out how to take action on can be influenced through user interface modifications on your blog.
Listed below are a few practical examples of changes that can be made to your design to influence the way your readers interact with your blog. Many of these examples are ones that I’ve experimented with personally.
- The Comment Form Above the Comments or Below the Comments – Placing the form through which your readers leave comments above the comments that have been left (like here at Site Sketch 101) increases comments while placing it below the comments increases user-to-user conversations.
- Sidebar on the Left or Right of the Page: Generally speaking, users scan your content in F patterns. Placing your content on the left will draw readers into your content while placing your sidebar on the left will invite them to browse the site, clicks sidebar ads, and interact with the sidebar more aggressively.
- Advertisements in the Content or Not in the Content: Placing advertisements can massively increase your website’s revenue as click-throughs increase but removing them from the content can increase your user’s experience which will help keep them coming back for more.
We’ve explored only three aspects of a blog’s user interface. Below in the comments, I’d like to invite you to do three things: think of some more aspects of a blog’s UI and share them with the rest of us, share your opinions of the three I shared, and share your opinions to the ideas that others come up with.
It will probably take more than one comment for you to complete that challenge, but that’s alright. Let’s have a conversation.